LETTER: Proposed parking reductions at LOTM flawed

There’s been a lot of discussion recently around amending the parking by-law and increasing the no parking zone at Lake on the Mountain (LOTM).

I decided to do some research so I could formulate an educated opinion on the matter and would like to address the issue solely from a safety point of view.

Counsellor Stewart Bailey made a motion to prohibit parking on both sides of County Road 7 from the former Glenora church to beyond the eastern edge of the Provincial Park. The reason for the motion was reportedly derived from a PEC resident survey report which summarized the qualitative results as follows: “Survey respondents [also] noted that the area around Lake on the Mountain is particularly challenging, with a narrow, winding road, illegally parked vehicles and pedestrians crossing between the Park and nearby restaurants and accommodations creating a potentially deadly combination.” The motion carried without further consideration.

My investigation into the matter reveals that the above reasoning is severely flawed and that a reduction in parking will not increase safety, in fact, quite the opposite is true. Let’s look at the facts.

• The stretch of County Road 7 in question is not narrow. All classifications of roads are constructed to strict Ontario Provincial Standards codes for a number of reasons, including safety. County Road 7 is no exception. Even where road allowances narrow, the physical road does not.

• The stretch of County Road 7 in question is not winding. Along the commercial stretch which includes the Inn, Resort and Miller House, it’s quite straight. On both sides beyond this, there’s only a gently curve.

• An issue with illegal parking cannot be resolved by reducing legal parking. This just adds more opportunity for illegal parking. Illegal parking issues can only be alleviated by proper enforcement.

• Growing up, our parents made us well aware that crossing any stretch of road presents potential danger. It’s the responsibility of every pedestrian to ensure that their path across a thoroughfare is safe. Given that the stretch of road at LOTM is quite straight, the line-of-sight in both directions is more than sufficient to determine if crossing is safe. Adding no parking on the northern side of the road will not improve the line-of-sight. Only on the inner arc, where people cross from the south side to the north, will it do that, and that’s already a no parking zone for that very reason.

If there’s elevated concern about pedestrian safety, then the installation of a crosswalk would be a suitable solution. Additional parking restrictions will not solve the pedestrian safety concern. In fact, it’s been shown that the presence of parked vehicles along the shoulder of a road reduces the speed at which motorists travel because the parked cars serve as a visual cue to drivers to be more vigilant and more cautious. So, prohibiting parking will actually do the opposite of slowing motorists down.

Finally, the statement that the situation at LOTM creates a “potentially” deadly combination is purely hypothetical. No event has happened to support this alarmist claim. In fact, statistics show that there hasn’t been an accident on this stretch of road in at least 29 years.

While I commend Counsellor Bailey’s intention to improve safety, his motion to increase the no parking zones at LOTM will have the opposite effect of what he’s aiming to accomplish.

Cathy Harris