Suburban roads: what’s the issue?
The suburbs are some of Canada’s fastest-growing communities and are characterized by lower density neighbourhoods, where most homes are detached or semi-detached. Suburbs are also classified by their distance outside an urban core, and often are home to a number of commuters.
Due to the spread-out nature of suburbs, there is a stronger reliance on personal vehicles for activities related to daily life. For commuters, linking into the downtown core may require a number of different transit options, such as walking, cycling, rideshare, as well as personal vehicles, in order to connect to a mainline transit option — like a train or bus. These first mile/last mile solutions contribute to a diverse road user population, as well as increased risk potential.
The sprawl of suburbs allows for wider roadways, which contributes to higher vehicle speeds, while still hosting a mix of road users: drivers, cyclists, pedestrians. Commuters may be driving mainly in the dark morning and evening hours, and complacent on home turf, especially after longer commutes. This inattention poses a risk for children playing in neighbourhoods, as well as other pedestrians.
Have a conversation with your kids about safe play in the neighbourhood. Staying out of roadways and between parked cars is always a good idea, especially as children are not as visible as larger adults. Increasingly, neighbourhoods are placing well-intended lawn signs reminding drivers that “Kids Play Here.” However, studies show that these signs are largely ineffective, providing a false sense of security. Drivers have been found to incorrectly assume that neighbourhoods without signage don’t contain children at play. The better solution is to educate your children where and when the safest play should occur.