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May 18, 2012



"because parking spaces will be lost "

Wow, convenience to park your vehicle over the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and those using horse and buggy.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised as this is an all to common occurrence in this country.

Sherrie Cochrane

Hello Bill
While I completely understand you question, I think it is important that you understand the reasoning behind the concern of residents. We have been lobbbying the Region and the Township of Woolwich to make the village of Conestogo a safer place for our children and residents. We have a public school on the main road and only recently were school signs put up to alert commuter traffic and a crosswalk installed. This road is a regional road and many cars and trucks use it as a thoroughfare. The region has told us that even though the road goes through a school zone and residental area, they encourage car and truck traffic to use this road on a regular basis. Speed is a very serious issue as there are no stop signs or lights from Bridge street all the way into Conestogo. People use it as a short cut. We have had several near misses with children over the past few years. In 2006 a group of residents met with the then head of the regions transportation division, Nancy Button. She told residents that she would not reduce the speed of the road to 40 even though an elementary school was present. In her opinion "speed reduction measures do not deter speeders only changing the landscape of the road does". Her only suggestion to us was to make Sawmill Road "appear narrow". In her 25 years of engineering experience she said that the best way to deter speeders is to make them think the road is more narrow than it is. In her experience all the studies say that the wider a road the faster traffic will move. Wider roads increase speed. So she told us to plant trees along the side of the road and to make sure cars are parked along the side. Now years later that same department minus Nancy Button came forth and said they were going to "widen" the road with bike and buggy lanes. That directly contradicts what we have been working towards to provide a safe community to our residents. I just wanted you to know the "other" side of the story.


Conestogo isn't trying to nix this progress; rather, a handful of vocal residents are.
They need to be shown the evidence that introducing active transportation and active recreation supports into the streetscape produce positive benefits.
The benefits, shown elsewhere, include:
1) Enhanced property values (US National Assoc of Realtors, 2008)
2) Streetscape more conducive to building community (Victoria Transportation Policy Institute, others)
3) Greater retail spending on the part of visitors and residents (Toronto, Portland, Vancouver, Victoria, others)
4) Enhanced economic value for attracting new residents, businesses and visitors (Quebec, Portland, others)
5) Safer streetscape for all users - peds, cyclists and motorists (New York City, Montreal, others).
The conversation needs to be elevated way above the level of nimbyism and the convenience of a handful of parking spots.

Peter Parker

What confuses me is - why is the region backing down? What's the point of having a plan (complete streets or otherwise) if you ignore it whenever you encounter any opposition? Very frustrating. Perhaps some of us need to appear at a regional council meeting and remind them why they instituted the plan in the first place?


@Sherrie I think there is a misunderstanding here,that additional space for differing methods of transportation does indeed "narrow" the road. A drive through Ayr would show that sidewalks and bike lanes, coupled with signage, change the environment from "throughway" to "urban slow."

Peter Parker

@Sherrie - thanks for your thoughtful response, which certainly help us understand. Perhaps it would be better to create segregated bike paths along the side with barriers to traffic. That would keep the narrow street (and make it feel even narrower) but also keep cyclists and pedestrians safe. I'm sure a positive compromise would be possible.

The whole point of complete streets is that is should be safe for everyone. If the proposed bike & buggy path was putting pedestrians in danger, it wasn't a complete streets plan, and Conestogo shouldn't be getting criticized. On the other hand, if convenient parking is the *real* reason, that's another story all together.

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Bill Bean

  • North America is eventually going to figure out that, for all the right reasons, we need more bicycles on our roads. Dust off your bicycle and go cycling. And if the gas-burning dinosaurs start to crowd you, it's your road and you paid for it. Take the lane for yourself.

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