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LETTER: Closing Terry Fox Circle is 'downtown Toronto thinking'

Letter writer urges city to 'consult real drivers, bikers, and pedestrians who actually use that facility' before making an unpopular decision
terry fox circle pedestrianized rendering
This is a rendering of the pedestrianization of Terry Fox Circle that is one of the recommendations from the Downtown Waterfront Parkland Design Study presented to city councillors last week. It was supported, in principle.
OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor. This letter is in reference to our story, published Oct. 20 about the city's in-principle support of a new plan for the waterfront. Send your letters to dave@orilliamatters.com
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I am able to make good observations of people's interactions. Why?

Firstly, my first two degrees are in science, and I specialized in research. I could count how many teensy tiny black spruce seedlings there were in a milacre quadrat on the littered forest floor.

Secondly, as a pastor, I have 38 years' experience understanding, and working with, human nature, including people's relationships with one another.

OrilliaMatters reported that it was proposed to stop vehicle access to Terry Fox Circle because this drastic action "will also improve safety for pedestrians".

That is downtown Toronto thinking. There, drivers and pedestrians are in conflict. They act as though drivers never walked, and walkers never drive. And drivers in jure or kill too many foot travellers each year. In the hustle and bustle of city business.

Terry Fox Circle, is very different.

For several years, my wife and I spent a number of noontimes, eating lunch in our car, parked there. We saw how people acted with respect to, or for one another.

Drivers and bikers drove through the quiet park, slowly and carefully. Pedestrians walked in ways that did not impinge on traffic.

This has two good reasons.

First: people in Orillia may actually know one another, or at least have relatives in common, or mutual acquaintances and associations. We feel connected! We feel responsible! We care!

Second: in the park, what is a driver; and what is a pedestrian?

DEFINITION: In Terry Fox Circle, a driver or biker, is a pedestrian looking for a parking spot; and a pedestrian, is a biker or driver who found one!

Therefore they are the same people, with shared interests. They understand each others' points of view. They help. They accommodate themselves to each others' needs, convenience and enjoyment. They are strongly motivated to keep everybody safe!

Mayor, and Councillors: you have resident experts on these things. (1) Ask your own Parks and Recreation staff. (2) Speak to Orillia OPP. (3) Go out and consult real drivers, bikers, and pedestrians who actually use that facility - who, after all, are the citizens, residents, taxpayers, voters, park users and welcome visitors it is there for!

And next summer, go there and have lunch parked in your own car, a few times, the way we did. And observe what you see.

Ralph Wood
Orillia

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