Ring Road safety questioned at open house

UW recently held an open house unveiling recommendations to improve safety on the east side of Ring Road. The recommendations came from a Ring Road safety committee, which has been guided by an outside professional. Their findings were presented at the open house to gauge community reaction.

The committee was sparked after a string of pedestrian injuries on the east side of Ring Road. The provost at the time requested the safety committee.

A key recommendation is to change the mindset from a vehicle right of way to a pedestrian right of way mentality. A traffic count study revealed there are about 27,000 pedestrian crossings per day on the east side of Ring Road, and about 3,000 vehicles. Therefore the committee concurred that if pedestrians are outnumbering vehicles in Ring Road use, they should have the right of way.

The committee said the university will have to use a controlled method to change the mentality of drivers and turn Ring Road into a pedestrian road way.

Among the recommendations, the committee suggested four specific crossings for pedestrians. These crossings are going to be identified by speed bumps, different colours, and signs signalling vehicles to yield to pedestrians.

These four crossings are going to be at math roadway in front of DC, two down by the engineering buildings and another one near CPH at the bend, on the south side of campus.

To control the flow of pedestrian traffic the recommendation is to put a barrier or a fence along the east side of Ring Road, right along the edge of the road, thereby only allowing pedestrians to cross through these four designated crossings.

If the recommendations are approved by the current provost, Geoff McBoyle, the suggestions will be implemented. The committee says it shouldn’t interrupt much car and public transportation traffic on the east side of ring road, making any sort of disruptions minimal.

Approval of the recommendations by the provost is dependent on community reaction to these recommendations. If there’s no significant pushback from the community or if there is approval of the recommendations the committee said the provost will approve the recommendations.

Once the recommendations are approved, more information in terms of timeline and budget will be made public.