There is a solid reason why it is not good idea to add a crosswalk on Blanshard Street near Kings Road, as the city is considering.
The difference between highway and city mileage for a vehicle has to do with all the stopping and starting. It is high school physics, good old Newton and inertia. Adding a crosswalk mid-point in a long block will cause megatons of mass to have to come to a stop, idle and then accelerate away.
The 2018 Capital Regional District traffic count has about 41,000 vehicles a weekday going up and down Blanshard, more than 16,000 of those at peak times in the morning and afternoon. Considering just the rush-hour vehicles, if only eight per cent of them had to stop (about once every five minutes), it would require about 54.4 million newtons of energy to get them rolling again. One can estimate that that would require about 750 litres of $1.30-per-litre fuel, or $975 per day for peak-time drivers.
I think that is on the low side. And it is just weekdays.
If one extends that out for just the hours between say 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., it doubles. Multiply it by 250 (workdays in a year), that is closing in on $500,000 per year in costs to citizens, so a few dozen people could cross mid-block. And it is just weekdays.
For a full week, just from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., we are getting close to $750,000 that it will cost citizens each and every year.
And all that pollution going into our atmosphere. About 4,253 to 5,000 metric tonnes of CO2. Again, just weekdays.
That undoes about 10 per cent of the vaunted 50,000 tonnes of CO2 that all the bike lanes are supposed to save. One poorly placed crosswalk.
When I commuted by bicycle, I used to ride down Haultain, then Kings to that crossing, and I confess to bolting across Blanshard to the other side a few times, but I stopped because it seemed idiotically lazy to risk life and limb for very little convenience. For nothing, really.
How many of the jaywalkers need to get into that block between Bay and Hillside? What businesses are in that area they want to get to other than Tim Hortons? The Times Colonist, CHEK or the CBC? The liquor store and Wendy’s are both in malls at the ends of the blocks, so how many extra steps are required to go to the existing crosswalks? It’s 140 metres to the south and 205 metres to the north. They are saving maybe a couple of hundred steps.
Walking is good for us; we need to do more of it; burning calories is creating fitness. Burning hydrocarbons is not so good for us and the environment.
To protect pedestrians in that area, I recommend building either a fence to prevent crossing or a pedestrian overpass. I think I know which one costs less. When one considers the environmental price, both cost less than the crosswalk.
Bradley W. Cunnin lives in Victoria.