Healthy community

Resident supports the City of vernon's plans for 25th Street

A series of healthy community workshops have been held by the city over the past couple of years to encourage residents to find ways of becoming more active and to reduce dependency on our vehicles. It was identified out of these workshops that children are the casualties in our driving culture and we need to encourage them to walk the six or seven blocks to school like we all did only a generation ago. This eases the morning and afternoon rush on our roads and the traffic congestion in school parking lots. Everyone benefits.

Unfortunately, parents of students who attend Beairsto, Harwood, St. James, and Seaton are reluctant to have their children walk or cycle to school along the most appropriate north/south corridor, namely 25th Street, because of safety concerns on this street.

Although it was designed to be used as a local road to provide vehicular access to residential properties on that street, it has now evolved into a speeding thoroughfare as traffic accelerates and decelerates to bypass 27th Street in their rush to get to their destinations two minutes faster.  children who are currently walking to and from the four schools  on this road (which lacks a sidewalk) must weave around parked cars into the possible path of oncoming vehicles. In winter, it’s even more of a disaster with snow and ice.

In 2008, a transportation plan was created that recommended changes to 25 street that would encourage use by cyclists and pedestrians and reduce through traffic. This would be done by the addition of a sidewalk on the west side and medians at key intersections (32nd, 39th and 43rd avenues) to redirect traffic to 27th Street.  Numerous consultations have since been done by city traffic planning staff with schools, neighborhoods, the RCMP, fire service and ambulance, all of whom are reported to have raised no objections to this plan.

As if often the case, there is resistance to change. A loud and very vocal minority are in opposition  this plan and some of our councillors are believing they are representing the views of the majority.

Please let our councillors know that a lot of groundwork has been laid with stakeholders in our community.  This is a progressive  plan that benefits our city.  The  addition of safe routes to access schools will make Vernon more neighborhood friendly and a desirable place to live for all of us.

 

Kerry Carlson

Vernon