Safe road crossings needed

April 20, 2015. There's a new page adressing crossing the new Whitehorse Corridor plan to widen the highway, from a walker's point of view.

February 25, 2014. I continue to wonder why we are able to contemplate twinning the Alaska Highway and Mountainview Drive, yet the idea of people crossing them on foot is so complicated. We have big city solutions to small city problems. The following paragraph sadly seems bang on for our future. Range Road planning is unable to contemplate people crossing Mountainview Drive except at the intersetion of Range Road. I shake my head! Transportation is Destiny: Design for Happy People, Not Happy Cars

100 years ago, automakers, home builders, and oil companies ("the Sprawl Lobby") started realizing that they could make lots of money by creating what has since become a self-perpetuating vicious cycle in communities. If communities could be convinced to ease the flow of car traffic by building enormous highways and parking lots (and subsidizing car travel by having everyone—not just motorists—pay for such roads, parking, and gasoline), huge amounts of money could be made selling cars, homes and gasoline. The process eventually was feeding on itself in a growing, self-perpetuating way, because the highways, parking and subsidies were forcing and otherwise encouraging a growing number of Americans to buy more and more cars, use more and more gasoline, and buy sprawling homes that were further and further from the town center. Why? Because the subsidized highways and gasoline were powerfully promoting community dispersal, high speeds, isolation, and an insatiable demand for larger highways and parking lots. Each of these factors were toxic to a city, led to government and household financial difficulties, destroyed in-town quality of life (which added to the desire to live in sprawl locations), and made travel by transit, bicycle or walking increasingly difficult and unlikely (an added inducement to buy more cars).

February 24, 2014. Pedestrian Environmental quality index

February 17, 2014. Whitehorse has 3 big arterial roads: the Alaska Highway, Hamilton Boulevard and Mountainview Drive. I'll look at each of the three and give a walking prespective of safely crossing each. What are the rules, the conventions to cross them?

In the above the airport area, the problem is doubly compounded by some having to make two roadway crossings: Alaska Highway and Hamilton Boulevard.

Walkers are a funny bunch. They love shortcuts. If there's a shorter way, they'll take it. Because a lot of Whitehorse was designed and build back when car travel was the approved norm, it's often quite difficult to travel long distances on foot without having to cross a road or highway at other than an approved intersection. Looking at Whitehorse Walking Trails gives a good example of how the crossings of Hamilton Blvd. were not done with walkers in mind. This Hillcrest biregional map from the Places to walk, guides, maps shows 'The Barricade.'

While we've been generally told to "cross at the corner," there are times this isn't true at all. For instance crossing the Alaska Highway at Hillcrest Drive is very tricky as vehicles go in all directions, sometimes signaling and sometimes not.

First let's look at Hamilton Boulevard

The map below looks more closely at the above-the-airport area and its major roads. There are very obvious places (stars) that need pedestrian crossings.


Lime lines: Hamilton Blvd and Alaska Highway; Circles: Official pedestrian crossings
Red numbers: km between official pedestrian crossings; Stars: Places that need pedestrian crossings
Shading: purple - future planning/development; green - Paddy's Pond/Ice Lake Park
Orange lines: neighbourhood right-of-ways; Red, yellow, green lines: motorized, main and secondary trails

Close-up of above map, hiliting the role the airport plays in blockading the above-the-airport neighbourhoods from downtown. It also shows the importance of the ball diamond stairs and the Lower Escarpment and Spook Creek trails, as well as the Rock Gardens trails.


Tank Farm area

The crossing at Hamilton Blvd. (R-1) is heavily used and during tank farm remediation/development will be even more popular.

 
Hillcrest to the Canada Games Center (left); McIntyre to KDFN Cultural Centre, to library (right)

City-Wide Transportation Study, 2002, Summary is one study that deals with pedestrian matters.

Mountainview Drive

July 16, 2013. See Road and creek crossings in the Range Road North area for a good example of how walking needs to be looked at in the broader sense of safe road crossings.

Alaska Highway

Readings

April 11, 2013. New Chicago Plan: Pedestrians Come First. " The streets of Chicago belong to the city, not to automobilists....We're not talking about necessarily closing roads down, making them just for pedestrians," says Janet Attarian, the department's complete streets project director. "It's about really understanding how you layer safety and placemaking and supporting economic development into this process of designing your roadway." Is this true for Whitehorse? Think of crossing the Alaska Highway, Hamilton Blvd., 2nd Avenue, ...

April 6, 2012. The latest bleak evidence that crossing the street Is hazardous to your health. Things to think about when thinking of ways of safely allowing pedesttrians to cross the Alaska Highway.

January 16, 2013. America is a walking disaster. Now think about crossing the Alaska Highway.

The invention of jaywalking; Long Island kids beg for a school bus to take them across a dangerous road

How can jaywalking be dealt with? It could be with fines, fencing, arrests, or by looking at where people are walking and deal with it from the viewpoint os a pedestrian who should be encouraged to walk. Here's a look at making better road crossings: Safety benefits of raised medians and pedestrian refuge areas.