Will there be safety problems at the Blackfriars bridge when one way traffic meets with users of the Thames Valley Parkway? This is your chance to get involved in a study that documents those potential problems.

Some disapproving voices were heard, primarily from cyclists, when the City of London decided to allow one-way, motorized traffic to use Blackfriars Bridge to enter into downtown London, Ontario. Cyclists had hoped that the bridge would be closed except for cycling and pedestrian traffic. The City of London promised that they would conduct a study to explore whether there are any safety issues. But, as typical, the details of the study are unlikely to be revealed to the public.

At Gorski Consulting I have been conducting numerous traffic documentations for years as part of my studies for the reconstruction of individual motor vehicle collisions for my clients. The multiple video camera procedures I have developed can provide very detailed assessments of traffic motions and potential safety conflicts. Upon observing the internet chatter on the potential safety issues I have decided to conduct a multi-video camera documentation of traffic at Blackfriars Bridge, independent of the City of London.

Unique safety issues may arise in this traffic study such as the one shown here, where 2 pedestrians are seen walking in the middle of the bridge rather than using the available pedestrian sidewalks.

An understanding of potential traffic conflicts cannot be gained until the incidence of these seemingly unusual actions by users of the bridge are fully evaluated.

For those interested in such a study I am looking for a few volunteers. I expect the study to occur over a two-hour period, possibly during the morning rush hours (0800 to 1000 hours) when motorized traffic will be using the bridge to enter downtown. I would also conduct a similar study at a time when there would be higher cyclist and pedestrian traffic, possibly in the afternoon hours. Volunteers are needed to monitor the video cameras from potential theft since it will  be required that the cameras be set up several hundred metres apart. This will be an opportunity for volunteers to get first hand experience in the detailed procedures of conducting a traffic study because I would also allow full involvement in the post-video analysis of the data.

The capturing of motor-vehicle speeds approaching and passing through the bridge would be one element of interest. Also documentation of pedestrian and cyclist speeds crossing past the east end of the bridge will be important. What is obvious is there is a limited visibility at the east end of the bridge where these crossings are occurring and thus there is a potential for conflicts. It is particularly important that planners may assume that cyclist traffic will be crossing at a slower speed because of the steep upslopes of the TVP on approach to the bridge. However, with the greater population of e-bikes such lower speeds may not be experienced as e-bike riders are likely to be travelling on the up-slopes much faster than those pedalling without assistance from battery-powered cycles. This potential problem is likely to be more pervasive as more e-bikes use the crossing.

There is a substantial limit to visibility of users of the TVP as they approach and then cross at the east end of Blackfriars Bridge. The relevance of this visibility obstruction needs to be explored.

Those who volunteer for the study will be given my full support to pursue whatever additional investigations they may wish to conduct. For those cyclists who expressed concern over the City’s decisions this is your opportunity to examine for yourself whether your concerns are warranted.

Contact me, Zyg Gorski, at my e-mail: [email protected], if interested in participating in this study which will likely take place in May or June, 2022.