Guardrails send wrong message
Guardrails were recently installed at all four corners of the intersection at Royal Avenue and First Street.
As a pedestrian I am concerned because guardrails, in my opinion, discourage walking. To improve walkability, walking needs to be convenient, enjoyable and safe.
Do guardrails make walking more convenient? Definitely not, since their purpose is the opposite, to restrict pedestrian movement.
Do guardrails make walking more enjoyable? Far from it. Guardrails are unsightly. Furthermore and more importantly they give an unfortunate message that pedestrians need to be controlled, and that motor vehicle traffic is the priority.
Do guardrails make the roads safer for pedestrians? Possibly. But guardrails should be used as a last resort since there are typically many other options (e.g. slowing down traffic or shorter crossings) that will improve overall road safety without impeding pedestrians.
I want walking in our city to be quicker and more inviting. There are many ways to achieve this, but putting up restrictive guardrails is not one of them.