Author Archives: vlpoulin

Keeping the pedestrian traffic flowing

Something to keep in mind when commuting to downtown Toronto: it’s ALWAYS about traffic flow, whether vehicular, or pedestrian. Rules provide a level of expectation for fellow commuters. Follow the rules.

Toronto Twist. Turn your torso left/right, as you pass by people approaching you from the opposite direction; they should be doing the same. You will avoid knocking shoulders.

Get out of my way! The passing lane depends the side of the street you’re travelling on. When walking with commuter crowd to/from work, pass the crowd by walking alongside the curb (yep, right next to traffic) because that is the outside lane. The inside lane is the one next to the office towers and residential buildings that you are walking past.

Stand in the place that you are. Escalators are moving sidewalks, but the passing premise relies on one rule, no matter which direction the crowd is moving: Stand right, walk left.

Keep the crowd moving. This isn’t Noah’s Ark. We don’t travel in twos. When exiting a crowded commuter train and entering a crowded doorway, stagger position (echelon rules) to keep a steady pace. Don’t try to go down the middle. And wait your turn.

Separate yourself from the crowd. There’s no room in crowds for rolling suitcases, backpacks, large handbags, and smokers (or vapers vaping! Gross). Step the edge of the crowd.

Stay steady, stand sideways. On subway and commuter trains, stand sideways to balance yourself, don’t point your toes to the front, or back of the train. Plant your feet perpendicular to the side of the train, so when it stops short, you won’t stumble.

Use echelon rules in crowded one-way stairwells. When no one is coming up/down in the opposite direction, the crowd moves quicker when everyone takes an echelon-style position. Otherwise, it’s single file.

Slim down. Most commuters – especially women – carry large bags in addition to (large) purses. When moving through a crowd, position one bag in front of you and one behind you. No need to walk to work carrying bags like your grandmother returning from the grocery store.

Backpacks are for backpacking. While it may feel as if commuting is as arduous and emotionally draining as traversing the jungles of the Amazon Forest, leave your backpack for outdoor adventures, for trekking across Europe, or hiking the trails near Lake Louise, Banff, or visiting historical sites like Machu Pichu. Unless you’re a student on the way to class, there’s no reason to wear a backpack on a subway, or commuter train. Backpacks belong on yellow school buses.

We are all in a hurry to get wherever it is we want to go. Pushing and shoving your way through a crowd makes you an asshole, or rather an asshole in a hurry.

 


Bonus driving tip: Turn on your turn signal before you step on your brake pedal. There’s really no point if you’re doing it in the other order.