Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

Respecting the pedestrian

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Regarding Harry Finnigan's April 21 column, Winnipeg must become pedestrian-friendly, there are so many ways in which Winnipeg is second to none: the arts and culture, the wonderful, helpful people, the social awareness, the locally produced food.

But if Winnipeg would truly like to put itself on the map as far as great cities go, it must develop a culture of more consideration and respect for pedestrians.

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As Finnigan noted, allowing more time for walk lights is crucial. Creating more marked crosswalks and changing the way drivers think about pedestrians altogether are equally important. The City of Winnipeg must consciously work on strengthening and improving the pedestrian-driver relationship, which is close to non-existent at this point.

Almost without exception, drivers will not allow pedestrians to cross the street unless they are at an intersection with traffic lights. As many, many Winnipeg streets do not have traffic lights, this leaves two options for pedestrians: walk multiple blocks out of their way to cross at a light (where drivers are forced to allow them to pass) or wait for a brief break in traffic, taking their life into their own hands as they attempt to cross.

I've lived in cities in three provinces and a territory in Western Canada, and nowhere have I found a more troublesome situation on this front. I am a pedestrian -- a non-driver -- and this is an issue that dramatically decreases the "livability" of this city, as it will for any non-driver.

Car culture has ruled on the Prairies, and it continues to rule urban planning. But the truly great cities of the future will combine much more transit and pedestrian traffic. Winnipeg should get on that boat now.

JILLIAN MacPHERSON

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2012 A11

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