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Cities around the world are designing sidewalks with safety in mind

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Cities around the world are designing sidewalks with safety in mind. They are installing items such as benches, lights and art installations to prevent drivers from jumping the curb – Apr 24, 2018

The sidewalk is supposed to be a safe place, but after Monday’s van attack in Toronto, some people in Kingston are taking each stride with a little more caution.

On Monday, a van plowed into crowds of pedestrians along a busy sidewalk in downtown Toronto. As a result, 10 people were killed. The attack isn’t the first of its kind. Last week, a driver in Germany drove a van into a cafe, killing four people.

READ MORE: ‘Vehicular attacks’ a trend, Canadian intelligence report says

According to Christian Leuprecht, a safety and security expert at Queen’s University, a number of cities around the world are designing sidewalks with defence mechanisms to prevent vehicles from jumping the curb.

Leuprecht says these can include features such as very large public art displays, or concrete or steal benches that are heavily anchored to the ground.

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He makes reference to a portion of Kingston’s downtown. The re-development of lower Princess Street has allowed the city to install benches, lights and flower beds encased in concrete and granite. While these may just be for decoration, they could also help keep pedestrians safe.

READ MORE: Concrete barriers set up at Toronto’s Union Station following van attack on Yonge Street

“You can already see that it would be more difficult now to engage in this type of activity with more obstacles along the sidewalk,” Leuprecht says.

According to Bryan Paterson, mayor of Kingston, the city’s sidewalks are designed to meet provincial construction standards, with public safety and accessibility in mind. “That includes designing barrier curbs, where applicable, in high pedestrian areas to reduce the chance of vehicles veering up onto sidewalks.”