Neighbourhood association remains opposed to pathway

Re: Mid-block pathway revival a no-brainer (News Jan. 6).

Re: Mid-block pathway revival a no-brainer (News Jan. 6).

I represent the Gonzales-Chandler Neighbourhood Association – a group composed of many more than one neighbour opposed for years to re-opening the lane.

Your article neglected the main reason the lane was closed – an encounter with a knife-wielding man by one of our members who has lived beside it for 50 years. This, and numerous incidents of arson were more serious reasons than the ‘nuisances and safety concerns’ cited.

On a walk through the lane with councillors David Maclean and Chris Coleman in 2003 – both agreed the safest course of action was to leave it as a wildlife corridor. The number of Margaret Jenkins students who would access the pathway has not been determined. The petition was signed by people who do not live in the area or even Victoria – documentation of addresses of petitioners has not been provided.

The current cost estimate does not include provisions outlined in the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design report that the path should be straightened so people can see from end to end as they access the path. A direct line of sight from end to end will allow passing observers (including police) to see down the pathway which adds to the natural surveillance of the path and helps to modify nuisance behaviour and crime.

The city-commissioned crime prevention report specifically states: “Unless significant design changes are made to the existing pathway, it is the opinion of the consultant that if the Gonzales pathway is opened up in its current design and layout that it would not be sustainable and would become unsafe. Over a short period of time it would revert back to a state of disorder similar to when it was closed and could facilitate more problems and calls for police service at Margaret Jenkins school and Pemberton Park.” These are liability issues the city cannot ignore.

The title of the article “Mid-block pathway revival a no-brainer” is very misleading. Research has shown that no mid-block crossing is simple – mid-block crossings are proven to be more dangerous than intersection crossings and require very careful planning  – definitely not a ‘no-brainer’.

Gabrielle Ostro

On behalf of the Gonzales-Chandler Neighbourhood Association