Letter - Unnecessary and Too Many Crosswalks
I live on Niagara Street near Douglas and as a resident on this street I haven't noticed any issues with folks trying to walk across Niagara Street to get to the mailbox and there have not been any casualties that I know of, as a result of pedestrians crossing the street at that spot. When there are people wanting to cross from one side of Niagara to the other, at Douglas Street, then the traffic obliges and lets them cross.
I believe that there are enough crosswalks in the neighborhood and that we are overly safe and not trusting enough that we will be granted courtesies between walkers and drivers and that people are actually able to look all ways and cross the street, without the need of crosswalks everywhere.
As far as a crosswalk across Niagara to the other side of Douglas Street, there are already crosswalks on Beacon Street and on Simcoe Street, to get across Douglas to the park side and those are only one short block or two up from the corner of Niagara Street. Surely people can walk one little block to get across the street, without the need for crosswalks at every corner. Not only that, but putting a crosswalk from Niagara Street across Douglas could potentially be more dangerous than not. There is a curve right before that spot and drivers will not have much of a chance to see if there are people on the crosswalk.
Letter - A Close Call
It’s a lovely day. The air is clear. There has been a little rain but it has gone, leaving memory only, and the smell of fresh growth. It is the perfect time to look for rare wildflowers, especially the tiny blue lily, Brodaiea coronaria, its name almost bigger than the little flower.
They aren’t far way, just across the road from the senior’s residence where I live, along the edge of the soccer fields of Beacon Hill Park. When there are no games it is quiet, and the flowers, not just the little lily, but yellow daisies, and consumption plant, used by native people to treat tuberculosis, bloom safely, hidden in the grass. There are a few camus lilies too, escapees from the meadows nearby, originally planted by native people long ago, for food. Earlier in the spring a ‘host of golden daffodils’ covered the hillside in true Wordsworthian style with their blooms.
So I grab my walker and head off to find these beauties I love so much, welcome after a gloomy winter, and a late, damp spring. I choose to cross Douglas at Niagara Street, it is the safest crossing, with good sight lines. On a busy day the traffic can be a living thing as it winds in and out of Niagara and Battery, to the south, and up and down Douglas Street, merging in and out of the Dallas cut-off. To avoid a question, the closest cross-walk is a block north at the Beacon Drive-In, and it goes to the main part of Beacon Park, nowhere near the soccer fields and their flowers. This is the only way. Today the roads were fairly clear, so I chose a good moment and was safely across.
I reached the other side breathless but thankful. There is the return trip to consider, but not right now, now I can enjoy my walk across the field; it is flat, perfect exercise for dicey hips. Others, spryer than I, come this way too. It is a favourite walk. I wander, wildflower book in hand, it was such enchantment to be there, in the sunny quiet. The road traffic seems so far away as I poke about.
And then, as I look idly at the golden turf at the fields edge, there they are, the flowers I seek, the tiny flowers sprinkled sparsely across the grass, but so intensely blue I cannot miss them, now they have become visible. Daisies are there too, brightly yellow, almost stealing the scene. This is my paradise. Others have different loves, but here and now, the lilies and daisies are mine.
But now the backward trip looms. There is the path bumpy with pine cones to navigate first. Then I stepped carefully onto the street using a parked car on my right, as a shield. There was no traffic in sight, not from the north or south, or east or west. I was clearly visible, a little old lady with her walker. I took a step forward. And then — whoosh! Something loomed on my left, something fast and red and shiny flew around me, missing me. I couldn’t check on how much, but it was close. Frozen, in shock, somehow I made it safely to the other side.
This is a life changing event to speak mildly. With traffic worsening every year, it will soon become impossible to indulge in my wildflower habit, or see the first daffodils of spring and the camus that comes later. I give thanks I am still alive, but I fear to cross the road again. Life is very precious, even, or perhaps especially, at 90 plus years.
By Jo Manning