Good way to get people out of their cars; make it easier to be a pedestrian. I went shopping for some gifts today, needed to hit a mall and home depot. I don’t own a car, so i can only get there by transit and risk my life going from one store to the other. The mall and the store were close to each other, but on opposite sides of a freeway. The travel by foot between the two was treacherous and long. There are millions of people living in Toronto, we’re in close proximity to our retail centres, why is it so difficult to get there as a pedestrian?


Here’s the story: to go from the mall to the home depot i first needed to trek across a mall parking lot with a choice between roadways and unplowed strips across the lawn dug in by other walkers (the sidewalk was, of course, the deposit area of the snow that had previously been blocking the precious car lane). I then made it to the major street which passed underneath the freeway. The tunnel had a very small sidewalk separated from the 6 lanes of traffic by an inch think waist high bar. On the other side of the tunnel was an on ramp for the freeway blocking the route of the sidewalk, a sign said “no pedestrian crossing”; i suppose they expect people to go back, cross the street and try the other side? Why have a sidewalk through a tunnel that leads to a dead end?


So i skipped across the onramp, several others did the same thing while i was there, it was obviously a common occurrence. I followed the worn footpath through costco’s as yet unused back lot, through more parking lot drive lanes, and finally to the home depot. In every direction from these stores you see townhouses and apartment buildings. If you try to walk to the store down the street in that neighborhood your taking chances with your life. Lines of cars stuck idling, burning fuel on nothingness, were everywhere.


So whats the grand conspiracy of the pedestrian? Retailers want you to bring your car so you can carry more shit home, a pedestrian at costco or home depot or the mall is a pretty limited spender. Also, its cheaper and less risky for governments to maintain roads than walkways. People slip in winter all the time on foot and then sue the city. Cars also get into accidents, but with the car accident its most likely the individuals or the insurance companies will pick up the tab for the outcome. As well, a roadway functions as both a travelway for people and goods, a sidewalk is considered less necessary since its pretty useless for goods transport.


Of course pedestrians are also usually poor people, so they’re not really worth society’s concern. Some prick in a mercedes honked at me for walking in the drive lane of costco’s parking lot while he splashed me with slush. Its fair, i probably slowed him down by 3 maybe 4 seconds. I’m an inconsiderate asshole.


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