Detours that create chaos should not be taken lightly. While users can be accommodating to them, improper detours heighten the probability that a serious accident will eventually happen. This is the case at a detour of the multi-use pathway of the Thames Valley Parkway in London Ontario. Highlighting this chaos needs to result in changes to how detours are planned for vulnerable pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motor-vehicle travellers.

The General Safety Problem

Certain unknown individuals at the City of London made decisions that led to the creation of a detour around the construction site of the Thames Valley Parkway between Blackfriars Bridge and Gibbons Park. Users/cyclists proposed an alternate (and safer) route that would take cyclists along the west bank of the Thames River, through Gunn Street and Gibbons Park. The City initially accepted this change. But subsequently individuals at the City of London decided that both detours ought to be publicized as acceptable routes.

Review of these decisions by Gorski Consulting indicated to me that the creation of the original detour was a poor decision from poor planning and/or a lack of understanding. Shortly after the two detours were in place, Gorski Consulting began to conduct video observations along the original detour route. As expected these observations revealed some serious safety issues. Those issues rest at the three locations of the detour route shown in the map below.

A Chaotic Example

As an example, the following three images are frames taken from video that was taken on August 24, 2022 on Talbot Street between Oxford and Ann Streets. This date is just 2 days after the TVP was closed and the detour became an advised alternate route. The images show a cyclist following the originally recommended detour.

This view shows a male cyclist travelling eastbound on Ann Street toward Talbot Street. This is the detour route recommended by the City of London. As the cyclist approaches the intersection at Talbot Street he is supposed to make a left turn to travel northbound under the CNR underpass and toward Oxford Street. However, something else happens…
In this image the cyclist is now riding northbound on the west sidewalk of Talbot Street and toward the CNR underpass. Thus, rather than making a left turn by crossing Talbot Street the cyclist decided to travel onto the west sidewalk. Given the high traffic volume on Talbot the cyclist decided not to attempt to cross and to travel along the west sidewalk instead. The problem though is that the sidewalk on this west side of Talbot Street comes to an end at the CNR underpass – unknown to many cyclists performing this same action. So what does the cyclist do?
This third image shows the cyclist now walking his cycle over top of the CNR railway Trussell! How did he get there and why did he get there? Our upcoming articles will provide some answers.

Future Articles

From my analysis it appears that individuals at the City of London failed to understand how cyclists behave in urban environments. This lack of knowledge or understanding has created the chaos along the detour that is about to be discussed. Given the extent of detail that is required, this discussion will be broken into three articles, each article focusing on one of the three areas of concern shown in the above map. These articles are now being assembled and will be posted on the Gorski Consulting website shortly.