Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Feedback Project - How I Changed The Roads

What If Everyone Shared Their Feedback?

Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone shared their feedback? Yes, those website feedback questionnaires, and the telephone number at the end of your McDonald's receipt sometimes are annoying, but what if everyone filled those out, truthfully, all the time? Wouldn't every product, and service potentially be better? Wouldn't government work better with an engaged citizenry?

Motivating Example - How I Changed The Roads

Look at the Google Streetview image from September 2014:

Now, consider this image from April 2014

Can you spot the difference? Try this enhanced view:

When facing south on Strachan, at Lakeshore, the traffic light grew longer! It now has four lights, which allows a green arrow, for right hand turns without stopping on a red.

Every morning on my drive to work, I turned right at this intersection. On a red, I had to come to a full stop, even though sometimes there was a left turn arrow for opposing traffic, and because traffic was turning left, a green arrow on a red light would let me safely make my right on red without stopping.

This light was added, because of me sending feedback to my local city Councillor, who forwarded it to his assistant, who forwarded it to a traffic group, who agreed it was a good idea.

Here is my email to the city on 9/14/2012:

Councillor Layton:

I am a resident in your riding. It would speed up traffic if at
lakeshore and strachan when the eastbound traffic on lakeshore has a
green arrow to turn north, the southbound light at strachan could show
a green arrow for those making right hand turns to go west on

Also, on a daily basis traffic backs up from the Jameson / Lakeshore
exit onto the gardiner. Not only does this slow things down, having an
exit backup on the expressway is dangerous.

Can you please have whoever is responsible in traffic please take a
look at these two items?

Thank you

I had to followup twice, but here is the eventual response I received:

Hello David,
Following up on this concern, I have had staff report back on the feasibility of adjusting the traffic control signals at Strachan and Lakeshore.
Based on their review, staff have no concerns with providing a concurrent display of a southbound right-turn arrow (SBRA) and the existing eastbound left-turn arrow (EBLA). The SBRA should reduce any excessive delay and queuing due to the heavy SBRT demand without compromising pedestrian safety. An exclusive southbound right-turn lane already exists and allows for right-turn traffic to discharge unimpeded during the SBRA display.
This request has been added to the hold list for future implementation. As there is a limited budget for this work to get done, Toronto & East York District Traffic Operations will reviewing and label this change in order of priority for implementation. How soon this can be implemented will depend on this process.
Thank you for taking the time to make this suggestion and I will be sure to stay on staff and get a firm commitment as to when this work will occur. For our records, might you be able to share your address with our office?
Marco Bianchi for

Ashley Da Silva
Constituency Assistant (South)

Office of Councillor Mike Layton

Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina


Every morning, on my drive when I was trying to turn right on a red I knew there was a better way. As a "customer" who used this section of road everyday, and knew the timings of the lights, I knew there was a better way. By providing feedback, and following up, I was able to submit an idea for improvement and it was implemented.

For the next quarter, as part of Project Feedback, I'm going to be providing feedback on everything I can. The goal with this isn't to get points, or coupons, but simply to have the products and services I use become better and in a tiny way, make everything work better.


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