Imagine yourself trying to catch a bus to work, to an appointment or to school. You can see the bus a block away. You run toward the intersection but you can’t cross safely. You have to wait for 3 different lights to change. By the time you get to the stop, well, the bus is long gone. If you’re lucky, you wait another 15 minutes; if not, 30 minutes or more!
This is the reality for many commuters living around Dundas and Nanaimo. The #4 and the #7 bus routes join together and stop near this corner on Dundas to take residents downtown and beyond. But bus riders as well as pedestrians have to cross 3 busy and very wide roads to get to this bus stop safely because the north crosswalk across Nanaimo remains closed. And despite an excellent opportunity to improve this, the City of Vancouver Transportation Staff continue to hinder East Van residents from taking transit.
About 10 days ago, the traffic light pattern at the intersection of Dundas and Nanaimo was changed. The City of Vancouver Transportation Staff who made this change were well aware of the problems faced by residents in the area trying to take transit. Here is their response to a request to reopen this crosswalk (note: bold has been added for emphasis):
“The change does make a north crosswalk fairly easy to open though. We may do so in the future if it can be accommodated without causing too much congestion. The north crosswalk would operate during the westbound green. But the westbound green must be kept short for this change to work, and pedestrians require a long time to cross. I am hoping that we can make the change, see if it has the desired effect (reduce the use of Dundas east of Nanaimo), and then consider opening the north crosswalk.”
Although this change greatly improves motorists’ safety, it was motivated by a group called SlowDownDundas.org which is trying to stop through traffic on Dundas between Nanaimo and Renfrew. Similar to the situation that previously occurred east of Victoria on Venables, suburban commuter traffic is making local residents’ lives louder, stinkier, and very dangerous because there are no physical limitations to their speed.
Meanwhile, pedestrians have not been able to safely cross Nanaimo at the north side of this intersection for years.
The significance of this missed opportunity for change is that it flies in the face of what we in the City have clearly prioritized.
First of all, our 1997 Transportation Plan clearly places pedestrians first, followed by cyclists, then transit users (remember this one), then goods and services (some of the freeway traffic) and finally, but lastly, private motorists (the vast majority of this freeway traffic).
On top of this, the City has had an active program to eliminate the kind of situations that occur at Nanaimo and Dundas. It was designed to removed the “No Crossing” signs that only pedestrians have to endure. And despite being reminded of this information, yet another opportunity was lost when this change was implemented.
So not only are our highest priority transportation users (walkers) completely ignored, so are our third highest (bus riders).
Perhaps it is because the majority of our City’s Staff commute to City Hall from the suburbs that the will of Vancouver residents continues to be ignored and car users are prioritized over pedestrians and bus riders.
If you’d like to let our City’s Transportation Staff know what you think about this (and other) transportation situation(s), call the Traffic Management Branch at 604-873-7910 or email: