Writer and blogger Stanley Woodvine @sqwabb has posted this photo of a construction site in the 1400 block of Broadway that swallowed an entire sidewalk as its own. You can see in the photos that there is no guidance or safe way to get around as a sidewalk user, able bodied or disabled.
City sidewalks are never to be blocked, and if they are impeded there is supposed to be signage and an alternative route offered, which can include a coned area in the parking lane adjacent to the sidewalk.
The City offers guidance for the use of the street and sidewalk for business and other activities. You will note that there are guidelines to reserve parking spaces and parking meters, but none to block sidewalks.
In the case of a construction area that has a sidewalk blocked, there has to be signage and an alternative place to safely walk, with a clear Traffic Management Plan approved by the City that are set to the Province’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure standards. Such a plan also must comply with the Motor Vehicle Act.
If you encounter a blocked sidewalk, let the City know the block and street through the VanConnect app or call 311. If you have a contact in the Engineering Department, call them and ask them to follow up.
Some ideas of how sidewalk traffic diversions can be handled are in the photos below. These photos were taken in Knightsbridge in London England.
The first photo shows a temporary covered walkway in place while the adjacent building is being constructed. The second photo is of a temporary barrier that is placed when a sidewalk needs to be closed for a construction truck, and sidewalk traffic is diverted around the vehicle.
While the London examples can be considered luxury treatments, there’s a lot that can be accomplished by the placement of simple traffic cones ensuring that sidewalk users have a safe, separated place to walk.
Photos by Stanley Woodvine, Sandy James