Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last Weekend of the Summer

Wow!!! What an amazing weekend we had here in London, Ontario. Temperatures reached as high as 30 degrees.

Joanne and I spent most of Saturday downtown in Victoria Park listening to a few of the musical performances that were going on that day.

Since we didn’t take Koly with us on Saturday, we figured we should do something special for him the next day… so we went for a really long walk. We were out ‘n about for almost four hours.

Although London has decided that it is best for the short-term profit of a few select contractors to continue to develop the surrounding farmland into suburban sprawl, much of the older part of town still enjoys being a part of a community. You don’t need a car to live in the downtown area. You can walk to work, walk to the grocery store, bank, theatre, library and on…. People’s homes are surrounded with parks and businesses, bike trails and buses.

If you can believe it, both of these photos were taken just eight blocks from the downtown core. Both photos were taken at the same location: one looking one way, then the other. It’s nice when you are living in a city to be able to easily find wide-open spaces. By simply turning your back, you can block out the city and feel like you’ve just stepped into a country setting. Just beyond these green spaces is a series of walking trails that leads to (and along) the Thames river. There are many acres of wild flowers that grow in this area and it is soooo quiet. Except when a train is passing by, the terrain of this area stops the sounds of all the local traffic.

I brought along my digital camera to have some fun!

Can you imagine what went into creating the above photo? I was holding the camera and I had to position Jo’ into the photo and try to get Koly to stand still. We had a few laughs at the photos that didn’t turn out!

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From a comment I made above, it is clear to see that I am not a great fan of the style of urban planning that has taken over this area. I am also not a fan of some of the changes that are occurring in London’s downtown.

This picture shows one example that leads me to believe that our city councilors were sleeping on the day when an important issue was being decided on.

Let’s take a closer look….

These metal barriers were installed about two years ago. When I first saw them, my mind blew a gasket! What a horrible idea. What a dangerous idea. Am I the only one that sees that these metal barriers could seriously hurt someone, if someone fell or tripped?

I called city hall to find out what the reasoning was behind these barriers and if I could raise my voice to bring objection to this dangerous issue. Four hours later, and over ten conversations later I was speaking with someone who had ‘championed’ this decision. I was told that the barriers were put in place to stop vagrants from sitting on the edges of the tree planters. I mentioned that now it was also impossible for me to sit on the edges of the planters to enjoy a slice of pizza, as well as any visitor to the city. Were we trying to create an inviting environment in our downtown, or a dangerous one? I was told that these barriers will stop people from littering their coffee cups in the tree planters. I mentioned that the metal barriers were only three inches high and I doubted that anyone would have a problem tossing garbage into the planter boxes. Over the last two years I have not noticed a decrease in refuse found in the planters.

That was it – those were the only reasons given to me. It just doesn’t make any sense. I suggested that they remove these barriers before someone gets injured. The barriers are shaped like triangles, with a pointy side up. They also have an open metal end that is great for catching a loose scarf or jacket.

I asked this lady if she would do me one favour: Buy a lunch from a downtown street vendor and simply find a place to sit and enjoy it. There are only three benches in the downtown core to sit on. Before the barriers were in place, many people would sit on the planter’s edge to enjoy a coffee, a book, people watch, meet friends. This cannot happen anymore.

I suggested that a positive and safe solution for the people of London and all the many visitors would be to replace these barriers with actual benches and that behind the benches they could create safe barriers to stop littering – heck, you could design barriers that also acted as support for vine type flowering plants and that would really be inviting to everyone!

She thought I was foolish!

I would like to invite all you readers of my blog to send an email to the mayor of London (Her Worship Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, City of London, 300 Dufferin Avenue, P.O. Box 5035, London, ON N6A 4L9) to ask her to please remove these metal barriers as they are a threat to the public safety of all Londoner’s and visitors.

Thank you for your support


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