Are London streets safe for pedestrians?

Amanda Stratton, of the city's transportation advisory committee, says she wants the city to adopt a pedestrian charter. Many London Morning listeners had strong feelings on the subject.

London Morning listeners chime in with stories of scary street-crossings

Richmond St. looking north from York St. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

Should London develop a pedestrian charter?

Amanda Stratton, a member of the city's transportation advisory committee, thinks so.

Stratton said the charter would force city staff and council members to keep pedestrian safety in mind as they make planning decisions. 

Amanda Stratton says she wants London to develop a pedestrian charter. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

"What we would hope to see is that whenever we're doing things like redesigning a road or even just making changes to a road, we're always thinking about how does the pedestrian use this space, and how does it fit into a broader commute across the city," Stratton told London Morning.

"It's valuing pedestrian mobility a little higher on our list than we do right now." 

Several London Morning listeners chimed in with their own thoughts about pedestrian safety in the city.

Helen Riordon

Riordon does a lot of walking and running around London, but says she doesn't always feel safe—especially when faced with a car turning right.

"They are always looking for traffic, but they are not looking for pedestrians who have the right of way to cross the street," said Riordon.

"You have to maintain eye contact with that person to make sure they stop, otherwise you will be hit and that's what's happened to me so many times."

Riordon said she thinks drivers need to be reminded to watch for pedestrians on both left and right turns.

Veronica Morrow-Wilson

Morrow-Wilson shared another hair-raising experience. She said she was crossing the street with her daughter near the downtown YMCA when a truck turned in between her and her daughter.

"She was two feet in front of me as we were walking, and he went right in between us! It was very scary quite honestly," said Morrow-Wilson, who said that she's also seen risky driver behaviour in her north London neighbourhood. 

Morrow-Wilson said she isn't sure what should be done about the problem, but that something needs to change.

City: We can't do it alone

A pedestrian waits to cross the street at Oxford and Adelaide. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Shane McGuire, the city's manager of roadway and lighting, said London is taking steps to make the streets safer for pedestrians.

He said almost all of the city's old walk/don't walk signals have been converted to countdown signals, and that crossing signals have also been adjusted to give pedestrians more time to cross.

The city is also working on audible and tactile pedestrian signals to help Londoners with low vision safely cross the street, he said.

"I think that we are ahead of cities on a lot of things, but is there more that can be done? Sure," said McGuire, pointing to the city's Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries.

McGuire added that the city can't shoulder the whole responsibility for pedestrian safety.

"We can look after some of the education and engineering, but we do need some assistance from enforcement."

How do you think we can make London's streets safer? Tweet us @LondonMorning or email londonmorning@cbc.ca.