The Mixed Message of Visionaries – Who comes first?

Does Jay Walking Belong in the 21st Century?

Supposedly, Vision Vancouver is a pedestrian and bike friendly party. After investing “in improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, including separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge, Hornby Street and Dunsmuir”, they have also set out ambitious goals to “Continue to invest in making Vancouver’s streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians”.

So I must ask, does the “People are Fragile” Campaign stay within lines of their “Pedestrians First” Policy?

The “People are Fragile” Campaign focuses on

  1. Pedestrians jaywalking.
  2. Cyclists running stop signs.
  3. Motorists failing to yield to pedestrians in both marked and unmarked intersections.

Conclusion: Pedestrians and cyclists still are behind motorists; they are still at the back of the line.

I believe that this campaign may have the opposite effect that the visionares were looking for. You have scared at least 100 people into not taking that bike or walking trip to the coffee shop, you have scared parents into not letting their kids walk to school. And because of fewer pedestrains, the effect of “Safety in Numbers” has been decreased, therefore increasing the pedestrian fatalities.

A much better form of the same campaign is the “Don’t Be a Jerk” Campaign in New York.

Even more disappointing is the campaign by the VPD:

The website is titled: What Can You Do to Keep Pedestrians Out of Harm’s Way?

This comes directly after the VPD’s opinion on the 30km/h zone on Hastings:

However, the VPD does not support this report’s recommendation for a 30km/h speed zone along Hastings St. Collision data suggest that the majority of pedestrian fatalities are a result of pedestrians entering the roadway when unsafe and, to a lesser extent, inattentive drivers.

Furthermore, the posting of additional
traffic restrictions in this area of the city will result in a significant increase in traffic complaints and citizens’ requests for enforcement. Unfortunately, strategic priorities and staffing levels significantly reduce our capacity to conduct effect enforcement in this area. The VPD would be supportive of engineering alternatives that don’t require increased police enforcement to reduce pedestrian/traffic collisions in this area.

In simple words: Pedestrians, yield to motorists and get out of the way, or risk being hit.

This begs the question: Who Comes First?