I’m a fan of Emily Deming’s web column, From the Rafters: This Week’s City Council Meeting Recap, and especially a fan of her calm and recent commentary in July 13th’s column.
It was announced in that week’s city council meeting that all councillors once again cowered to the demands of a handful of residents, this time on Winter Avenue. As a result, the city will enstate another random one-way street, messing up the flow of traffic, and forcing many of us to take the long way home, or else, pull dangerous illegal moves to get where we’re going.
Apparently the residents’ appeal to council will see a trial experiment, restricting traffic from entering their street from Kingsbridge Rd. To quote Deming’s recap, “The residents have been complaining about speeding on their street for a while. Though so has everyone on every street. But their street is very pretty.”
Not to mention, council is feeling sheepish with regards to Winter Avenue, no doubt, since the demolition of a 125 year old heritage property on that street in 2015.
The thing is, there wouldn’t even be a “traffic problem” on Winter Avenue if our city planners could plan a little better. We erected a big Dominion in the area without providing a left exit to the hundreds of people coming out of that Dominion every day.
As a result, drivers HAVE to head right, and the first street they can take to turn around on, and head back to their homes, is Winter Avenue. So they do. It’s really obvious why that formerly quiet street has a lot of traffic now.
People leaving Dominion must pull an immediate, illegal U-turn on Winter Ave., or make a cul-de-sac turnaround on Judge Place, or zoom angrily up Winter Ave, annoyed they couldn’t turn left coming out of Dominion.
So that’s the problem, and closing off Winter Avenue to those people forced to use it won’t solve that problem. Closing off Winter Avenue will, however, piss off and inconvenience a LOT of people. Far more people will suffer, because a few folks on Winter Avenue don’t like the putt putt of cars on their road.
Who knows where they’ll have to drive off to to turn around now that Winter Avenue is being closed off to them. We can expect a lot of U-turns on The Boulevard I guess, or we can expect calmer drivers to take a scenic loop around The Boulevard, and through Quidi Vidi (pissing off those already pissy folks). Having to take such detours to get from Dominion to downtown or centre city is nuts. It’s just nuts. The alternative is a drive up New Cove to Elizabeth Avenue, and take Elizabeth Avenue to find a way back downtown. Nuts.
And it’s not just the huge flaw in city planning and councillor cowardice that’s nuts here. So to is the sense of entitlement townies have over their roads. I think Deming hit it on the head in her column, so instead of stealing her thunder in paraphrasing, here are a few lines from her column:
” … But what is more important than even one stupid new traffic complication in an already mangled city, is the trend towards neighbourhoods, blocks really, saying of a street, ‘this is ours.’ Because it isn’t.
“On Barnes Rd., the city just approved a survey to see if residents want to move to resident permit parking only. I live on Barnes and I can tell you it is not needed. But, like the Monkstown and William Street surveys last season, residents will flock to say it is needed because everyone feels they own the street in front of their home.
“There is always parking here. I have never had to walk more than a quarter block in 5 years. There is a direct line from those people who leave crazed and angry notes on a car that is parked ‘in their spot on a public street, to directing traffic so as to cut off non-residents.
“My neighbourhood isn’t mine. I own my house, not the damn streets. We share the streets. Sharing is messy and annoying and you will never get your own way. People you don’t like will cut through your neighbourhood, and they will cut through it all wrong. But if you let those streets that are already paved with gold and good intentions start enacting barriers, our city will lose the chaotic and egalitarian blood-flow that makes it not suck like other cities.”
Tip of the hat here, to the one councillor who hesitated. Cllr Puddister piped up and pointed out that the previous restrictions on Empire and Circular have caused this issue, and added that this new decision will make even more of a mess near that Dominion. But then he too approved it.