Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The sidewalk is too damn high

Work on replacing the sidewalks on Albert Street over the past month left a strange elevation of the curb right in front of the entrance to the Royal Albert Arms, at number 48. Why at this spot in particular does the curb rise more than a foot above the street? It is to inhibit jay-walking to and from the Albert, and crowds that hang around outside its doors between sets from spilling onto the street.

Street Life Prevention Through Environmental Design

This same type of streetscaping was employed in recent years on Main Street around Higgins Avenue, no doubt to curb (get it?) the jay-walking on that former strip of hotel bars. It has also been built on the east side of Osborne Street near the busy Toad and the Hole Pub--another place where jay-walkers like to get together and enjoy a drink or two.

Any taller, and City by-laws would require a railing

One consequence of this attempt at making it quicker and easier for cars to move, is that it is more dangerous for pedestrians. Imagine walking down the busy Osborne sidewalk and accidentally stepping off the giant curb. Or a pack of drunk hipster girls racing out of the Albert in granny boots to catch a taxi--another night of slumming it downtown nearly at its end--only to collapse on the massive drop from sidewalk to street. A sinister part of me finds this last image a little amusing, but the rest of me wonders what exactly Public Works was thinking.

*This post's title is borrowed from my new favorite political party