A year ago, the Town of Cobourg planned to build a sidewalk on Abbott Boulevard but the residents there objected and no new sidewalks were constructed in 2017. To resolve the impasse, staff were instructed to create a policy which would rank the priorities of new sidewalks to be built. A comprehensive policy using complex algorithms was approved by Council for this purpose on April 30 this year but it seems that the residents on Northwood Drive didn’t read the policy so did not notice that a sidewalk on their street was ranked number one (see links below). On June 11, Council approved a motion to proceed to build the sidewalk on Northwood Drive (per the policy) so notifications were sent out that construction would start in September. Resident Donna Woods was at Council on Monday objecting to that plan.
Donna said she represented the residents of the street (some were in the gallery) and that none of them wanted a sidewalk – certainly not yet. She criticized the methodology and with her revisions, Northwood Drive would be ranked much lower. She said that the traffic on the street was very low and that there was no danger from a lack of a sidewalk. She asked if a traffic count had been done on the street (No) and compared her own traffic count of 1 to 4 cars at rush hour (7:30 to 8:30 am) to the count at Abbott Blvd of 94- 120 cars.
Northwood Drive is a side street off the north end of Westwood Drive. It is not a collector road and Donna said it is not near any schools [On Google maps it looks to be about 330 metres from Notre Dame CES].
In addition, Donna said that adding a sidewalk would cause problems with winter snow clearing/storage so that the road would then become more hazardous (details are in her presentation below).
Donna had a petition signed by 48 people who objected to the proposed sidewalk. She said they included the majority of residents on Northwood Drive and that: “The exclusions are a few families on vacation, an out of town family death and the few seniors who are afraid to get involved.”
- The ranking is wrong and Northwood Drive should be a lot lower priority
- Residents do not want a sidewalk
- A sidewalk would actually make the street more dangerous in winter
- There was insufficient notification.
- Suzanne Séguin asked: “Why give them a sidewalk if they don’t want one? Maybe we didn’t get the policy right” Many in the gallery applauded at this point.
- Debra McCarthy defended going ahead because of the benefit to the disabled “It opens up their world”. She said that the public would not embrace sidewalks and Gil supported that point.
- John Henderson said that traffic counts should be looked at.
A decision was deferred pending a report by staff.
- Sidewalk Priority Plan – Report on Council meeting – 17 April 2018
- Donna Woods presentation script.
- Sidewalk Priority Plan – pdf – Town document – includes priority list