2016-10-24 Mon


Christopher Greaves Home_IMG_20161021_072818015.jpg

The city is agog over this item. Incidentally, the total had risen to eighteen by the end of the day, and that is “eighteen reported”, it does not include the angry pedestrians who were near enough to thump on the side of the tourist bus as it turned across the pedestrian crossing, or the van that reversed out of the driveway on the assumption that there were no deaf-and-blind people nearby.

Last month I returned to the Ilê de France, Poissy to be exact, where I felt the most safe in traffic I’ve felt anywhere in the world.

French crosswalks are set about twenty yards back from the line of intersection, so drivers are looking ahead as they approach the crossing, not scanning to their left to see if there is a gap in the oncoming traffic. When I am ON the crosswalk, oncoming traffic consists of drivers looking straight ahead, at me.

On top of that the built-in French politeness changes the entire philosophy of a driver-pedestrian interchange.

In Toronto, when driver and pedestrian meet, the question is “Which one of us will get to use this shared space first?”.

In France, there is no question; there is an attitude of “Oh Good! We have been given an opportunity to work together to avoid paperwork and questions from police and ambulance drivers”.

I feel safer crossing the streets of Poissy blindfolded than I do crossing Toronto’s streets fully-sighted.