Coventry TransportationCoventry Transportation
The Weather Network
Nov. 26, 2020 | Thursday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Chautauqua's clogged, narrow roads a concern in an emergency

Dear editor:

I’d like to respond to the article “Chautauqua residents want to curb traffic,” (Oct, 15).

I am a resident of Chautauqua and am keen that our numerous neighbourhood traffic issues be mitigated and resolved. I am also aware that traffic issues from overtourism are an ongoing challenge and raise concerns across many parts of NOTL . And I understand the fear that squeezing traffic out of one area may "push the problem to another street."

As I see it, the fundamental problem is that not all residents of Chautauqua can rely on the responsiveness of our emergency fire and medical services. An overwhelming volume of parking on our streets/lanes is the root cause.

Further, the notion of “curbing” traffic in Chautauqua is something of an oxymoron. Our lanes do not have curbs; they are “about 13 feet or four metres wide” versus the 20 feet or six metres wide requirement of the Ontario Building Code.

Parking is allowed on both sides of practically all of our lanes. When two vehicles meet they must navigate carefully around each other. If other vehicles are parked on either or both sides of the lane then bottlenecks happen. Adding to this tense situation may often be children, pedestrians and cyclists because we have no sidewalks.

This seems inconvenient and risky, but imagine a real emergency. Suppose a crew rushing one of our town’s eight-foot wide fire trucks is responding to a house fire or medical emergency. A single vehicle, let alone a dozen or more, parked on both sides of my street/lane could easily thwart the attempt. I suppose the driver could attempt to back up and go around the block (and encounter the same blockages) but that requires time (!) and adequate turning radius at our acute intersections.

I’m confident that restricting the parking on our narrow streets and redirecting traffic to that aim means our fundamental safety problem will be resolved. I doubt this would result in pushing our safety concerns to the wider streets of outlying neighbourhoods.

Kevin Collins