Dear Urban Diplomat: can’t sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was window-shopping on Queen West last weekend, when a neon-clad sprinter came bounding along and bumped my daughter into my stroller, nearly spilling hot coffee on my newborn baby. The guy was incredibly apologetic, until I said, “Why the hell are you running on a busy sidewalk in the first place?” He snarled that the street was as much his as mine, then re-inserted his earbuds and jaunted off. Shouldn’t runners be banned from using busy main streets?
—Street Fighter, Little Portugal
It’s a mystery why some joggers insist on plying their hobby amid heavy weekend foot traffic. Are they checking out hotties on their way to yoga class? Do they like making the people in line at the cupcake bakery feel ashamed? Or maybe being chased by hostile pedestrians is how they motivate themselves to keep running. Whatever the reason, if they’re unwilling to slow down when the going gets crowded, they should take to a side street. While it’s true that runners have as much right to a busy Queen Street sidewalk as anyone, they don’t have the right to put the safety of all those babies, shoppers and hipsters at risk.
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19 thoughts on “Dear Urban Diplomat: can’t sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?”
On the other hand, why do these same parents with strollers the size of small cars insist on blocking up the very few bike paths we have in this city? These idiots push their strollers along at 2 kph, sometimes stopping in the middle of the path to chat with other mommies while obstructing bicycles riding along at the 20 kph speed limit and putting everyone in danger. There is an entire city full of sidewalks and more than one boardwalk for strollers to use where bicycles aren’t allowed. Same for walkers who like to block traffic along the waterfront by walking three abreast (joggers I can live with – at least they are moving obstacles.) The path in the Beach is virtually unusable by bicycles now and it’s not much better on certain stretches of the Martin Goodman Trail west of downtown.
I’m with you, it seems very clear that we have a case of a very apologetic runner – and a parent who is a jerk. In what circumstance is it ok to respond to a clear and sincere apology (for something that hurt no one other than a few drops of coffee?) with a comment like that?
Trust, every runner I know tries to avoid main streets – you can’t get a decent pace up for the people dodging, but sometimes it’s not possible (for example when you, like me, live on one).
Impossible? You mean you can’t walk to the corner?
I’ve had more than a few entitled parents drive into me with their mega-strollers. I don’t see how one is more or less deserving of anything than the other. Everyone should just be considerate of each other.
In the Beaches, it isn’t a “bike path”; it is a recreation trail. It isn’t just for bikes. Perhaps coming to that realization will help quell your fury. Also, the boardwalk is in disrepair for long stretches and mothers can’t push their strollers along it because it is far too bumpy. So yes, they should keep to the side and try not to obstruct the bikes but try to have some empathy for mothers who can’t use the boardwalk – instead of just dismissing them as idiots.
I commute to work by running, and I cross the city core every day. As a runner with a specific destination (as opposed to one looking for exercise), arterial roads are often the only practical option. Side streets typically only last a few blocks before ending, and the zigzagging that this causes adds significant distance.
And, just personally, I adore running along Queen Street. Sure it’s slow and busy, but after spending so many hours running the early morning roads with no company, it’s so nice to see faces and be part of the crowd again.
Except that is is completely useless for bikes now because of these careless stroller pushers who hog the path. I lived in the Beach for 12 years. It was fantastic then. Bicycles and rollerbladers on that path and if a walker was on it, they were considerate enough to pay attention and move to the side. They don’t now. The way these stroller pushers use that path is reckless and it is only a matter of time before they get plastered by a bicycle and someone gets seriously hurt (if it hasn’t happened already) because so many of these pedestrians just don’t pay any attention or give any respect to the other path users. So yes, ‘idiots’ is an apt description.
baby strollers have become as long as 1970 Cadillac DeVilles.
Don’t joggers need lights, horn, helmet, and a belt when they run on the road? Its bad enough trying to shave or put on make-up while running… sorry, have to stop for a moment. Have to turn into the Tim Hornet for a fill-up.
Agreed. Although I do wish, for everyone’s safety, that joggers, cyclists and even pedestrians would unplug those damn ear buds or at least turn it down to a level where they can hear construction/sirens/horns around them.
At the very worst, this was two entitled people who bumped into each other, but the correct solution is not to force pedestrians (and a joggers are absolutely pedestrians) to run on the road. No one would suggest that your stroller should be on the road just ’cause it has wheels, why do you think you can banish a runner there just because they are moving a bit faster than you are? That is just an incredibly dangerous and disrespectful idea.
You’re all hyperbole. There are still lots of bikes that use the trail. It’s hardly “completely useless.” Yes there are some inconsiderate stroller pushers … just like the roads are host to many reckless cyclists. Ring your bell; they’ll learn. And if you are in such an angry hurry, Queen St is a much faster route to move east and west. There is almost no traffic on it between Coxwell Ave and Church St. as cars all go along Eastern or Lakeshore.
this is the most ridiculous column. you want runners to run on the street? i am both a runner and a mother with one of those mega double strollers. I run with my double stroller. i put a bell on it and ring it for when walkers do not pay attention and have their head down. runners are not the problem here. it is people looking down at their cell phones. and what is wrong with a double stroller. stop giving me those nasty looks. have you never seen a family before? it’s much better for my babies to have them in a stroller than hauling them around in a car. get a life.
^^ Looks like Charlene is a fan of blocking the bike path with her stroller and just doesn’t give a damn if she’s putting her children at risk by wheeling them along a route intended for traffic traveling at 20 kph. Screw the bikes. They can damn well ride on the street as far as she is concerned. As long as she gets the sidewalks AND the bike paths to herself, all is right in the world.
If that is how you interpret what I have written so far I feel sorry for your level of reading comprehension.
That’s how I interpret your motivation for writing what you’ve written so far.
Hahaha. Person with baby stroller complaining about someone hogging the sidewalk. Pot, meet kettle.
Zach, you are a dick.
^ A well thought out and intelligent comment here from Charlene’s husband and the father of the passenger(s) in the monstrous stroller that she likes to block the bike path with, whilst endangering those same children.
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