Council approves new crosswalk near Bellewood Public School, despite opposition
A sidewalk out front of Bellewood Public School, where a crosswalk is proposed at nearby Northway Ave. (Evan Johnson)
Published Monday, April 15, 2019 5:10PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 15, 2019 11:07PM EDT
A new crosswalk is coming to a South Windsor neighbourhood which boasts a number of schools and a busy park.
Council on Monday approved a pedestrian crossover on Labelle Street at Northway Avenue.
Residents who live near Bellewood Public School showed up both in favour of, and against a city recommendation for the new pedestrian crossing. While most agreed the crossing was a good idea, some were not in favour of what comes with it: sidewalks.
Under the plan, the south side of Labelle Street will get sidewalks so both sides of the crossing are connected by the appropriate infrastructure.
The $240,000 project also calls for sidewalks along one side of Northway Avenue between Labelle and Grans Marias Road.
That’s where a number of residents took issue, including Andrew Stannard.
He says he canvassed his neighbourhood and 70 per cent of residents along his block are concerned about the impact the sidewalks will have on their driveways.
“I do believe in the safety of the children, that’s not what I’m against. But I’m against the fact of putting a sidewalk from Labelle all the way down to Grand Marais,” he said after the vote Monday night. “I think that is unnecessary and unneeded. It’s 15 minutes in the morning and it’s 15 minutes at night. I think we’ve lived with it for 30 years, why are we changing it now?”
Stannard said there are other opportunities to make adjustments to the flow of traffic, like removing city buses from Northway. He says what upsets him most is that many on council didn’t come to see the problem first hand before casting a vote.
“I really wished that council today would have heard the residents to take more time, not to do more studies, but to actually come out and see what the issues are and see what the residents are talking about,” Stannard said. “I'm very upset and I know a lot of the other residents will be very upset too."
Other nearby residents embraced the extra sidewalks and crossover, noting the nearby park is also a very popular community amenity that will soon have safer access.
“To me it just seems like an obvious choice,” said Marc Frey, a ward 10 resident. “If I had to choose between a child walking safely to school and losing a little bit of my driveway, it seems obvious to me.”
Ward 10 coun. Jim Morrison said the city needs to provide some protection there for children.
“When I hear parents and mothers and people talking about their children and they can’t walk to school?” he asked. “Everybody should feel comfortable doing that.”
Morrison noted the traffic around Windsor’s schools at peak times isn’t unique to Bellewood, but says it’s one of the worst and requires a fix.
“It’s really a chaos you should see. I know it plagues many of the schools in our city, but it seems like in ward 10, I have a few of them,” he said. “We need to do things in school zones to improve safety, and this is just one of the things that we can do.”