CORNWALL, Ontario - City councillors have turned down a petition against the construction of a sidewalk on 13th Street - paving the way for construction to begin.
City councillors sided with the recommendation from transportation engineer Enrique Kamm, and construction of the sidewalk, on the north side of 13th Street between Cumberland Street and Aubin Avenue, will begin later this year.
But the council decision wasn't unanimous.
"The people there don’t want one – so why are we going to put one there?" said Coun. Glen Grant. "And it’s going to cost us $120,000. But if our residents don’t want something, why are we forcing them?”
Fourteen signatures, representing properties immediately adjacent to the site of the proposed sidewalk, appear on a petition that city councillors viewed in late May.
The residents "vehemently" oppose the sidewalk, according to the petition.
Coun. David Murphy agreed the sidewalk should be shelved, adding he lived in the area some 35 years ago and while he suggested traffic patterns might have changed, the residents have spoken.
But the majority of councillors argue with so many schools in the neighbourhood, coupled with busy vehicular traffic, creating more access to sidewalks for students will increase safety.
"We also have to think of the safety of the kids living nearby," said Coun. Gerry Samson. "Sidewalks in that area will be an advantage.”
City hall plans and guidelines require sidewalks on so-called "arterial roads" - which includes 13th Street.
"Thirteenth Street carries average traffic volumes ranging between 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles per day," reads a city hall report that was addressed Monday night by councillors. "This traffic volume is considered high and segregation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on both sides of the road is highly desirable.
"The proposed sidewalk has been identified as crucial missing link in the pedestrian sidewalk network on Thirteenth Street."
The project will cost $120,000 and the tender for the sidewalk has already been awarded to Cornwall Gravel.