Here are some of the first images of our first Slow Streets. (Click title for all images.)
Thanks to Anthony Floyd:
Went on a tour of the Slow Streets this evening. Not all the barricades and signs were in place yet, but we met the crew working their way West, so they might be all in by the end of the evening.
South of Kingsway, on Lakewood and along Ridgeway, they are fillable plastic jersey barriers with the signs attached to one side. They are only at the entrances at major intersections, and at the end of that block away from the intersection. There are few to no barriers between major streets. These barriers are mostly in the middle of the street.
North of Kingsway, along Lakewood and Wall St the barriers are A-Frame construction barriers with the signs. These too are only near major intersections. The placement of these barriers is much more variable. More often than not, they’re on the side of the road (whether placed there or moved there) and could be easily overlooked. In my opinion these are even less effective here.
PT: There are already a few complaints on Twitter that these are not fully closed-to-vehicle-traffic streets. That’s why they’re not called ‘closed streets’ – a bad nomenclature, in any event, since even those would still allow for bikes and walkers. A fully ‘closed’ network of streets would have required months of consultation in this city, not to mention challenging logistics. Wasn’t going to happen.
We already have traffic-calmed streets, bikeways and greenways – but these temporary responses will, if successful, build community support for more interventions in the future. Once residents get comfortable walking, running, walking dogs and playing in their streets, they’ll never see them the same again.
The “slow” in these street is really directed to vehicle drivers. Even as they are acknowledged as legitimate users of the street, drivers too will look at people unsurrounded by a ton or so of metal as legitimate users who rightfully share their right-of-way.
Nor are these ‘Flow Streets’ – the name I’ve used for Beach Avenue, where the replacement of two full traffic lanes by three to four bike lanes allows for passing and sorting by cyclists of all kinds, from MAMILs in lyrca pelotons to seniors on e-bikes to families with kids trying out their first wheels. They all can find their own speeds and maintain their ‘flows,’ without the complication of accommodating vehicles. But for many, there’s no difference in speed between them and cars on the other side of the plastic cones. That’s why these are not slow streets.
We still have the summer ahead of us – and more Slow Streets to come, creating a network across the city. There’s lots to learn. Some will be successful, others not so much. Modifications and tweaks will be in order. Neighbourhoods will discover new ways of sharing and experimenting with all this delightful open space, close to home, gathering in small groups, with appropriate distancing. Bonnie Henry will be pleased.
And Price Tags will post the pics.