The noisy work crews on Bronson have taken a winter break. They need one. It must be dispiriting for them to be reconstructing Bronson in the same dysfunctional 1950’s pattern of urban abuse. Our city is sometimes like a dysfunctional family, where the mistakes of the prior-generation parents are doomed to be repeated by the so-called adults of the present.
Here’s a view of the Bronson-Somerset intersection prior to the construction. Note the big yellow signal lights we so love to festoon above the traffic lanes, suspended on long metal arms in turn supported by freestanding metal posts, sometimes known as “street furniture”.
For the winter, crews have put up temporary signals strung on parallel wires.
Many other cities use this wire method of mounting all their signals at intersections. It requires only four poles, and the signals appear in the same location on all four sides of the intersection. I know wires running all over the place shouldn’t be attractive. But somehow, the wire suspension system — even in the temporary application on Bronson where the posts aren’t straight and minimal care was taken — looks somewhat neater than the collection of metal posts and arms, all of different lengths and angles, that Ottawa normally deploys at intersections.
It makes me wonder if the signals were put up permanently on wires rather than arms, would the intersection be neater than today? And maybe even more economical?
(note that Somerset east of Bronson is mostly free of overhead wiring, the result of being a shovel-ready project at a time of prior Federal stimulus spending. Thank you Mac Harb. Unfortunately the freed-up overhead space was not put to good use, for example trees with large canopies).