The reconstruction of a Toronto street highlights the problem with "standards."
As a wheelchair user, sidewalks like this are just about impossible for me to use. This means I can barely get around some neighborhoods at all without at car. The assumption that the pedestrians can compromise is so ableist.
Unfortunately life isn't going to get easier for your daughter and grandchild. When your grandchild starts walking and for the first few months or year they don't raise their feet up very well when walking. So walking on a sidewalk like that is really impossible for a toddler. They keep tripping and falling. I don't remember how many times my kids fell and banged their forehead because of that damned unevenness!
I like the Tokyo appoach for neighborhoods: narrow streets, no sidewalks, no on street parking, and very slow autos that always yield to peds and bikes. Of course, needless to say, it's sane approach that's pretty much impossible to replicate in car crazy north America ---for the time being at least.
The proper design answer is to have a narrow amenity strip between the sidewalk and the curb, so that there's room for the slope to happen while the sidewalk stays flat and continuous. Problem is, municipalities don't like having to maintain the grass in that strip.
Hey Lloyd, Thanks for the piece and the quote. I have noticed that the City used rolled curbs on the CNE grounds, and they are being discussed for Kensington Market. One of the concerns raised by a community member was that rolled curbs might make it easier for cars to mount the curb....I made the counter argument. I will write to our wonderful Mayor and see if she might consider reviewing the standard.
Unless this was done more than 10 or 15 years ago, it should be pulled out and redone. It would not be ADA compliant in the United States.
These are excellent points, Llyod!
The concrete extends a foot beyond the curb into the flat asphalt street. So the visually obvious material change from light to dark does not reinforce the physical step down at the edge of the curb, but rather contradicts it. For someone visually impaired or not paying attention this looks like a hazard to me. Why doesn't the material change occur where the curb meets the street? I imagine the answer is some structural or ease-of-construction reason, but it's bad design from a visual communications standpoint.
When I lived in Calgary in the late ‘50’s I remember that the newer suburb where a friend lived had no curb cuts. Instead the curb was continuously rolled so it could be crossed at any point but the roll was high enough to register as a curb. The sidewalk sloped enough to drain to the gutter but not to upset pedestrians.
My sister lives in a Southern California neighborhood with extensive sidewalks that are unwalkable because of the depth and steepness of the cuts for driveways. They kill my knees and are impossible for my elderly father to walk on with a cane. We use the street, I feel your daughter
Plus this: Drivers are terrorists nowadays - overt lawbreakers who do whatever they want; speeding, crashing, lying about “what happened”, endangering others:
Cars over 70mph in 40mph Residential Area Near Metra Station, Park, & Two Major Regional Trail Systems