Avoiding a Tragedy -- H'way 21 and the Rail Trail
13/01/2009 04:25 PM
Waiting for a break!
On Longboat Key in Florida they have an artery called Gulf of Mexico Drive. On one side of the very narrow key exists the Gulf of Mexico and on the other a bay and then the mainland..
Traffic does not move at really high speed down the key, but it is dangerous. It reminds the visitor of the Rail Trail and Highway 21's intersection near Hi-Berry Farm between Port Elgin and Southampton.
The Saugeen Times has brought this issue forward and both the Beachers' Association and the Southampton Residents' Association has had discussions about it. It has been brought up to the Town, but they claim it is not in their jurisdiction as MTO handles that stretch of highway.
Some of the Town's residents keep bikes around for use by summer guests and one of the favourite routes is the well used Rail Trail. Some of us no longer recommend it as safe at any time of year, if the people have small children and are on bikes or cross country skis. The experienced jogger can dash across, but even then a person has to be careful. Much worse is the biker, because they take time to overcome inertia once they stop and look both ways.
In Sarasota they have the same problem. People want to cross the Gulf of Mexico Drive near Sea Place a large resort and condominium complex. Everybody knew that the crossing was dangerous, but like our area, it was ignored. Both places share the same interests:
One of these areas suffered some years ago, when a honeymoon couple were killed crossing the dangerous street. Now this is not an expressway. It has a 45 mph speed limit for a normal two lane highway in a residential and tourism area. Highway 21's speed limit is of course higher at 80 km/hour or 50 mph. We all know that the average speed is much higher.
After the deaths, the area decided to do something about it. They built an underpass. Expensive? Indeed it was expensive. The same area spends lots of public money on golf courses and tennis courts and public transportation, so it's all relative.
Descent into the Tunnel
What is the design? From the pictures you can see the features:
People use this tunnel because it is easy for joggers, children, walkers and seniors.
Lighting & One side of a Two Way Tunnel
Mirrors give panoramic view
An easy Google will find thousands of references to trail crossing difficulties. Many people are worried about crime and being waylaid in the tunnel. If you examine our Rail Trail and most trails including the Bruce Trail, there is a tremendous opportunity for being accosted, if evil is to be done. There are many places where an unsuspecting person can be turned from Trail user to victim. At the Trail and H'way 21 intersection the higher probability is from being hit by motor traffic.