At the start, our numbers were very small. Noticing some seniors sitting outside the First Place Hamilton building (a seniors’ City Housing residence), we approached them and managed to cajole them into joining us. At first, we were met with cynicism: Why bother with an audit since nothing is going to ever change? But they quickly warmed to the task of identifying areas of concern for pedestrians and those in mobility devices along King Street East.
We started off, right outside their residence. The seniors complained about the extreme unevenness of the side walk at the front of building on King St. to Wellington being uneven (interlock and uneven concrete sidewalk). Many have stumbled and even fallen. About the vehicles that park in front of the building, they occupying space that emergency vehicles need to access. They talked about people crossing the road to get to the bus stop directly opposite the residence (north of it), in order to not have to go the extra distance to the bus stop and risk missing it.
Our group observed the following:
Both King Street and Wellington Street are one way streets that are very busy.
The corner of King at Wellington was a topic of much discussion. It is an extremely unfriendly crossing for pedestrians. Seniors pointed out that to cross over both King and Wellington, you are taking your life in your hands. The crossing time is very short at this location, in both directions, especially for the width of the two streets. When crossing King, a person must contend with the traffic that is making a rapid left hand turn on to Wellington. We actually witnessed a car getting right up on the sidewalk!!
Unfortunately, residents regularly cross Wellington St. to go to the International Village.
There was a suggestion made by residents to put in a dog park on the empty lot at the southwest corner of King St. and Wellington St. Some participants thought there needed to be more benches on the south side of King St (in the International Village from Wellington St. to Ferguson Station). Ferguson Station was a public space that people really enjoyed, however they noted that there is uneven interlock around the station including where the interlock meets the sidewalk. Residents were wondering if there is any money associated with the LRT project to help fix the walkways. There were suggestion made for a mural on the west side of Shoppers Drug Mart facing Ferguson Station.
We looped around on Main Street–a street that any pedestrian or cyclists knows to be a terrifying experience due to the noise and speed created by 5 lanes of traffic. So…when are we going to talk about two-waying this 1950s menace?