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LETTER: Lack of lights at Orchard Point even worse in winter

Lack of safety and walkability is troublesome for residents, says letter writer
2018-11-23 orchard point letter
This photo shows the perils of trying to walk along Atherley Road and Orchard Point. Kathy Hunt photo

OrilliaMatters received the following letter from Kathy Hunt in response to her winter walk and to our Nov. 21 story, Council mulls third study in bid to get lights at Orchard Point. We welcome letters to the editor. Email letters to news@orilliamatters.com

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Open letter to Mayor and Ward 1 councillors:

This morning I walked home after taking my car in for service and thought that I should share a safety concern with you related to the Orchard Point neighbourhood. 

As you can see in this photo, the only way to walk from the lights at Couchiching Point Road (and the Tudhope Park trail) to Orchard Point Road during the winter months is along Atherley Road (on the bike lane). The sidewalks disappear under accumulating snow banks.

I walked with the traffic, which can be quite alarming when large trucks speed by. The alternative is to walk on the other side of the road facing the oncoming traffic, but this would mean trying to cross the street at Orchard Point without the assistance of traffic lights.

The lack of a safe pedestrian walkway or ability to safely cross Atherley Road between Couchiching Point Road and Orchard Point Road also discourages residents and visitors from using the city’s public spaces (i.e. Tudhope Park) and the recreation and health benefits these parks and trails provide. Not to mention the difficulty in getting to the nearest bus stop, which is at Couchiching Point Road.

The situation in the winter exacerbates the lack of safety and “walkability” for the Orchard Point neighbourhood – both of which should be essential for any community designated for intensification.

This is yet another example of why: a) the Orchard Point community should not be further developed with high-density housing; and b) the intersection at Orchard Point and Atherley Road should have traffic lights (with our without another study!).

Kathy Hunt
Orillia