RE: “Reimagining misgivings” and “Lower limit, double fines,” March 11.
I felt Malcolm McCulloch’s frustration in his two letters last week. They both touched on the theme of having safe streets.
His concern I share but his solution I do not. He believes enforcement is the key to manage traffic flow/speed, but enforcement is extremely expensive because of the personnel needed to cover all our roads that need to be safe.
When we build infrastructure projects like St. David St. it will last 50 to 60 years. A bit of math will tell you the money to enforce speeds for that long of time would outstrip the cost of good design. A lot of research has been done on road design that influences positive behaviours such as reducing traffic speed, and increasing physical activity. Some of the research findings make common sense, and others do not, so we do have to at least do our due diligence by researching the latest information of street design, and be open minded when our planners (experts) share.
I think our township could have helped us be more open minded however, when presenting the four options for St. David St. reconstruction, by giving us additional information such as: plans for a safe bike route that travels to the downtown, the status of the truck bypass, parking usage, and the issue of increase through traffic on residential streets near the project.
For example, if I know that we have a planned bike route heading from the downtown up towards the businesses and residences in north Fergus then I’m not choosing the bike lane option on St. David Street but if no such option exists then we need some infrastructure for bikes and wheelchairs and I would choose the bike lane option.
I’m not sure of the facts of McCulloch’s claim that “most people just want to park”, but I am pretty certain that most people want to be healthy and happy, and the research is clear that a walkable, bikeable, tree-lined downtown makes people healthier and happier.