DAVE AUGUSTYN/Special to Bullet News
In November I wrote here about possible ways to increase pedestrian safety on Pelham Street. I want to give you an update and ask you to help lobby the provincial government to secure funds.
You will recall that a couple of years ago, parents from Glynn A. Green School implored Council to increase the safety of children walking to and from school along Pelham Street. They underscored the 10,000 vehicles that drive past the school every day and reminded Council about a woman who was tragically killed while jogging on the road’s gravel shoulder.
Council reacted swiftly by approving a new traffic signal at Port Robinson and a new sidewalk from Elizabeth to Brock Street. We also approved an engineering study for the reconstruction of Pelham Street from Port Robinson to Quaker and earmarked $2.5 million in future budgets for the road’s total reconstruction – including sidewalks, curbs, new storm sewers, and new water lines.
When the engineering design and construction estimate came back last fall at $6.5 million, all were surprised and disheartened. This work would consume triple what we normally invest each year in major road projects.
Given the funding challenge, staff worked with the school to develop an interim measure: install a sidewalk on the west side of Pelham Street from Port Robinson to Pancake. This interim sidewalk would be removed when we eventually reconstruct the entire road.
Then, in early December, the Province announced new funding through the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative (MIII). The Province earmarked $51 million to “…support the most critical roads, bridges, water and wastewater projects.”
Considering the urgency, the health and safety concerns expressed by local residents, and the lack of available funds, Council endorsed an application to reconstruct Pelham Street from Port Robinson to Pancake. We applied for the $2.0 million maximum allowance for the $2.78 million estimated project.
Undoubtedly, there will be fierce competition for the $51 million and the Province is using a “pre-screening process” before Towns and Cities fill in a final application.
It would be very helpful if you and other Pelham residents write letters of support for the project and request allocation of these funds!
Please address support letters to: Municipal Infrastructure Investment Secretariat, c/o Rural Programs Branch, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, 1 Stone Rd West, 4th Floor, Guelph ON N1G 4Y2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. (For sample support letters from the Active Transportation Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Association, please see my online journal at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.com.) Thank you!