The TTC installed mystery poles in the middle of a sidewalk that have people confused
In this week's mysterious pole news, a new row of oddly-placed bollards outside a TTC subway station has people talking.
These protective posts installed to keep pedestrians safe by limiting vehicle access have instead been making life a bit more complicated for anyone walking this stretch, thanks to their odd placement dead centre in the middle of a sidewalk.
The Walk Toronto account on Twitter pointed out the new installation outside of Castle Frank TTC station, which has been confusing pedestrians and cyclists alike since appearing right in the centre of a newly-constructed sidewalk.
Why is there a row of steel bollards (capped by duct tape) embedded in the middle of a *new* sidewalk in front of Castle Frank station?? pic.twitter.com/cnK5hPX91U— Walk Toronto (@Walk_TO) December 15, 2022
The curious bollard placement has generated much discussion, including criticism over the obvious impediment to pedestrian movement.
Surely if the goal was to protect pedestrians, you'd want them as close to the curb as possible?— Not Vex as in 🏳️🌈, but Vex as in 🏳️🌈 (@The_Terroirist) December 15, 2022
This looks like they're just ceding half the sidewalk to bad drivers.
Dylan Reid from Walk Toronto tells blogTO that "there should never be obstacles in the middle of a sidewalk. It's dangerous and makes it inaccessible to people with disabilities."
But, believe it or not, there's actually a decent explanation as to why the TTC would drop a set of bollards directly in the path of foot traffic.
A previous row of bollards was destroyed during construction of the TTC's accessibility upgrades for the station, and the new ones are simply replacing the old.
The sidewalk is new because those bollards were installed specifically to replace the old bollards that the construction company destroyed when setting up for the subway construction project. pic.twitter.com/9TiDJmpo5C— George Bell (@georgebell) December 15, 2022
Okay, that makes sense. But it leaves the question of why they now obstruct the sidewalk.
After being bounced around by City of Toronto representatives, I finally got an answer from the TTC's Stuart Green, who tells blogTO that "this installation was approved as part of our accessibility upgrades at Castle Frank and is actually a safety enhancement."
"They are replacing the previous concrete bollards in this location. The feature will keep those exiting the station safe in the event of a car losing control while turning the sharp corner leading to Bloor/Danforth."
As for the obstruction, Green explains that "the sidewalk will be widened and the entire area between the bollards and the station will be paved, a distance of nearly three meters."
"So in the image, where it appears to be in the middle of the sidewalk, the finished project will actually see the sidewalk much wider than appears in the photo."
But until those wider sidewalks materialize, people using mobility devices are basically out of luck.
This is far from the first instance of mysterious poles confusing Toronto residents. Recent installations like a pole at Yonge and Adelaide and a pole in the middle of a bike lane have confounded passersby, while even older poles bearing relics of the city's past manage to draw interest.
Dylan Reid/Walk Toronto
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