Stepping out the door on my way to early morning coffee, my heart skipped a beat at the sad sight that greeted me — the carcass of my neighbour’s cat hauled up on to the lawn, its head an unrecognizable mess.
Whomever had hit the poor thing must have stopped long enough to clear it from the road, but didn’t have the nerve to find its owner. Another neighbourhood tragedy on 25th Street.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled at the news the City of Vernon is finally contemplating concrete action to reduce traffic on our street — bravo. It’s a move that we’ve been calling for a long time now, and one that will certainly have a positive impact on our neighborhood.
The proposed measures promise four tremendous benefits, both for the residents themselves and for the City of Vernon as a whole.
First among these is the provision of a much-needed quiet, safe, convenient north/south corridor for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. While most recognize the need to be more active (go visit Europe or Asia for a few weeks, return, and take a good look at the waistlines of people around you to understand why) the main barrier cited is almost always safety. Examples from other cities show us just how dramatically activity levels increase when traffic reduction measures are put into residential neighbourhoods like ours.
Residents are also looking forward to a very welcome drop in noise pollution. The numerous stop signs and road crossings along 25th Street necessitate a lot of acceleration and deceleration for people using it as a thoroughfare, which of course causes a lot more noise than steady driving.
Just as an aside, it’s a little surprising that people actually use 25th Street that way. I’ve timed how long it takes to go from 30th Avenue to 46th Avenue via both 25th Street and 27th Street, and 27th Street is almost invariably a minute faster — go figure.
A third benefit would be the rise in property values along 25th Street that are sure to follow. Property values have had an average increase of 10 per cent over and above the general market increases in Vancouver and Victoria after traffic calming measures have been put in place; a boon both for the residents themselves and for the tax base as a whole.
Lastly and far most importantly, is the safety factor. Traffic reduction measures will mean a safer neighborhood for our pets, our children, and ourselves; a safe route for kids to walk to school, a safe route for mom and pop to stretch their legs on their bicycles or walk their dogs, and a safe, happy, healthy community for all.
My fingers are firmly crossed that tragedies like the one that befell my neighbour’s cat will soon be relegated to the past, and that 25th Street will once again be returned to the quiet neighbourhood lane it was originally intended to be.
Three cheers for the insightful city councillors who have taken the initiative to put this long-overdue proposal forward, and a further hip, hip, hooray (and my vote for re-election) thrown in for good measure if they have the gumption to see it through.