Glenn Williams would like to be able to walk to work without worrying about being hit by a car.
The First Ave resident is a teacher at LCCVI and takes Tile Yard Road and Glenview Drive into town. The problem is there are no sidewalks and only a small gravel shoulder and sometimes motorists are aggressive along the stretch.
“I walk on the asphalt…vehicles are coming like a game of chicken, if worst come to worse I’ll jump out of the way,” he told councilors Monday. “Five years ago someone was passing me and the mirror of the vehicle nicked my shoulder…it’s scary. Yet (the road) is right within town.”
Williams says he’s “one of the rare exceptions” of people who walk along the road even though it would only take high school students 15 minutes to walk to school.
“Many drive their kids what could be a 15 minute walk. When I asked people about it, people raised their eyebrows (and said) ‘Have you ever walked along there? It’s dangerous.”
Councilor Grant Purdy agrees saying he won’t his daughter walk the stretch either. “I used to run there and people just don’t get out of the way,” says Purdy. “It has the potential to be quite dangerous.”
Williams wants to the town to plan for a new walkway along the road. He says in Sudbury – where he used to live – a boardwalk was built and people flocked to it. He’d like to see Petrolia plan for something similar on Tile Yard Road. “It is a beautiful, beautiful greenbelt.
“Let’s do something that is good for our kids,” he adds.
While councilors see the need for a walkway, they also recognize it is a big project. “It would be quite an aggressive project,” says Councilor Ross O’Hara. “It would be something we could have staff give us some ideas for.”
Mayor John McCharles agreed adding, “I can’t promise to do it because it could be costly to do.”
Director of Community Services Dave Menzies says the idea of a pathway on Tile Yard Road was explored in 2012. “We had an estimation from CIMA and at the time it was half a million dollars because of the grade of the road,” he says. “The bridge is not a pedestrian bridge – we asked our insurance company can we direct people down this bridge – the answer was no.”
Menzies says they even tried to work with the owners of Heritage Heights Golf Course to put a walkway through their land however that didn’t work either.
Staff will take a second look at what could be done to make Tile Yard Road safer for pedestrians and will come back to council during budget talks.