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Foolish plan

Dear editor:

We cannot believe there is a bylaw being prepared in the backdoor to eliminate sidewalks already established in town.

To further complicate matters, the statement that boulevards can be used to store snow in the winter, saving the town snow removal costs, is totally bizarre.

We ask that this bylaw preparation by stopped, and request full transparency and public input on matters so affecting our community.

Having said that, we would like to advance the following matters, in no particular order, for consideration when mayor and council discuss this matter in the future, hopefully with public participation.

Why sidewalks are important:

•First and foremost is the safety of the walking public and children.

•Improves the value of the home (sidewalks are usually a selling point).

•If we are going to be a family-friendly community, sidewalks are essential as they are the physical threads that weave our neighbourhoods together.

•Sidewalks—because of their level, solid surfaces—are known to reduce slips and falls, preventing injuries for seniors, the disabled, mobility-impaired people, children, and the walking or jogging public.

•Sidewalks encourage walkers/joggers to maintain health and fitness.

•Most of our roads are in complete disrepair, and heavy truck and vehicle traffic makes it unsafe to cross many streets in town (traffic flow is important in this equation; have there been any studies done?)

•Sidewalks develop a safe place for children to walk, run, learn to ride a bike, and play in front of their homes where adults can safely watch them.

•Studies have shown sidewalks significantly reduce pedestrian collisions with motor vehicles.

•Sidewalks help protect property frontage from damage due to erosion and parked cars.

•Sidewalks act as a buffer zone between motor vehicles and pedestrians, and pedestrians and a homeowner’s property.

•Sidewalks make it easier for the delivery of mail and newspapers.

Let’s also talk a little about the removal of sidewalks and using the boulevards for the storage of snow. What will this proposed saving of tax dollars, for not having to haul this snow away, cost you, the taxpayer?

•Piling the snow on the boulevard on one side of the street where there is no sidewalk will have its affect on vehicle parking, or parked vehicles, especially for passengers trying to get out the passenger doors against snowbanks that are high (slips, fall, and injuries will occur frequently).

•With snow on the boulevards, vehicles will be pushed further out on the road allowance, thus restricting traffic flow.

•High piles of snow are dangerous. Kids running and playing on these high piles are easy victims to snowplows and moving or parked vehicles (accidents waiting to happen).

•High snowbanks on every street will require a mass improvement in educated drivers. When you can’t see around corners, or people coming out of lanes, driveways, and parking spaces, we have a recipe for disaster.

•High snow piles in front of your house look terrible and infringe on the beauty of the property and neighbourhood (people will not want to look out their front window to see town crews piling more snow in front of their house).

•Snow salt and salty sand, upon melting, will kill vegetation (grass, trees, flowers, etc.), thus removing the enjoyment and beauty of your home, which may affect your property value.

•Town properties are not all set to level, thus melting snow will cause drainage problems—leaving many yards full of water and possibly affecting your basement (a dry basement now may be a wet basement if we have all this snow melting into our yards.

Let’s look at the present discussion surrounding the elimination of the sidewalk on the east side of Portage Avenue, along which 95 percent or better of the traffic flow to and from the north end of town occurs.

Couple this thought with all the above and it quickly tells us the removal of the sidewalk on Portage is not only a foolish idea, but a dangerous one.

In closing, one comment on the proposed new lane of traffic to be added on Scott Street to Colonization Road East: just plain stupid.

Let’s put our money where it makes sense.

Yours truly,

Allan T. Bedard

and Bill Krukoski

Fort Frances, Ont.

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