Submission to ETC re Fence By-law

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fowgre avatarThis is my submission to the city’s Environment and Transportation Committee, with respect to the proposed Fence By-law that they approved last Monday. The Chair of the committee has promised to circulate it among the Council members and to refer to it during this week’s the next Council meeting (see ‘Background’ for an explanation). Hopefully, our posturing local politicians will have the integrity to record the vote. Be advised that it is a work in progress. Expect modifications/additions between now and then.

Councillor Cheryl Miller,
Chair, Environment and Transportation Committee

May 28, 2008

With respect to the proposed new Fence By-law which you’ve advised was adopted by your committee last Monday.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my concern about the fence by-law, specifically, it’s failure to address the serious safety hazard that wooden fencing in at least some walkways does pose for pedestrians.

In order to best convey my concern to you, I will use the example of my local walkway with which I am most familiar and have made considerable effort to make safer. Please refer to Appendix ‘A’ which contains photographs taken by me on Monday afternoon 2008/05/26.

Please be advised that these are simply the most recent, and are similar in nature to many photographs of this walkway that I have posted and written about on my Internet blog (https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com), some of which I have brought to the attention of Council members and staff from time to time. To learn more about my previous efforts to make this walkway safer, please refer to Appendix ‘B.’

This is a walkway with a 400 change of direction in it’s middle, which prevents passers-by from seeing along it’s entire length. That would not be so bad if the walkway were short, and/or there was only a short chain-link fence and limited greenery. But that is not the case.

I very strongly believe that the fence by-law should enable staff to impose restrictions upon fencing which is in proximity to walkways, in order to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

  • Restrict wooden fencing where necessary.
  • How high is too high? Visibility into the walkway must be the priority.
  • Impose sufficient distance between wooden and chain link fencing to facilitate maintenance of plants and invasive weeds. Better yet, don’t allow ‘double fences’ at all.

I am sure that there are those who will try to pretend that this an infringement upon personal property rights, and outside of the city’s jurisdiction. But that cannot be true, since local government already imposes similar restrictions. The one which immediately comes to mind is the provision that there must be fencing around a swimming pool. Admittedly, the Swimming Pool Fence By-law is permitted under the Municipal Act, but are any of our local Liberal MPPs likely to say “no” to pedestrian safety if asked for assistance? But on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing website, in Part III (Specific Municipal Powers) of the Municipal Act e-guide, there is a section titled ‘Structures, Signs, and Fences‘ which appears to me to say otherwise.

I trust that we are all aware of the escalation in violence in our community in recent years. The attacks which have taken place against women in walkways, against the disabled and the elderly on sidewalks. Can anybody dispute that the kind of tunnel environment exemplified by this walkway, is a tragedy waiting to happen? And what of the increasing drug problem in our midst. How long before the privacy afforded by this kind of environment attracts drug users and, worse still, drug dealers? Can the city continue to do nothing, and then protest it’s innocence when something does occur?

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please be advised that I would be pleased to disuss it further at any time. And if I might once again get a plug in? This issue is an excellent example of why London needs to join the ranks of progressive cities all over the world, and adopt a Pedestrian Charter, a Pedestrian Master Plan, and create a Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Respectfully,

Mr. Gregory Fowler
962 Eagle Crescent
London , Ontario ; N5Z 3H7
519-649-0500 (h)
519-719-4615 {c}
fowgre@yahoo.ca


Appendix ‘A’: Current Photographs

Looking sw towards the walkway which is immediately north of the 275 King Edward Ave. dental office.

Even at it’s lowest end, the height of this fence (as measured by me, ground to top rail) is 77″. Compare that to the height of the original chain link fence which still exists. And also note the narrow distance (22″ – 32″) between the two fences which makes routine maintanance unlikely.

Looking west from King Edward Ave. This is mid-afternoon.
Imagine it after dusk.

At the mid-point (the steps that make the walkway inaccessible to wheelchairs, strollers, city sidewalk ploughs, etc.) Note that even though there is no separation between the wooden fence and the original link fence on the other side of the walkway, obstructive foliage is still a problem. Note also that there is a bend in the walkway, precluding any possibility that passers-by on Eagle Crescent might observe anything untoward that might be happening.

Looking east towards King Edward Ave. How much of the streetscape can you see? Even without the obstructive foliage, how likely would it be for a passerby to be able to see into the walkway and witness anything untoward that might be happening because of the wooden fencing on either side?

A short section without any foliage. You see my point.
The fencing completely obstructs any view to/from the street.


Appendix ‘B’: Background

Previous Related Blog Posts:
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/05/17/eagle-crescent-walkway/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/07/22/eagle-crescent-walkway-2/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/08/10/eagle-crescent-walkway-3/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/08/29/eagle-crescent-walkway-4/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/11/15/walkway-lighting-budget/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/12/10/ltc-and-other-public-services-and-taxes/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/12/14/eagle-crescent-walkway-lighting/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2005/12/21/city-refuses-to-reveal-top-gun-lawyer-salary/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2006/02/13/unlit-walkways/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2006/03/29/london-walkways/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2006/10/02/campaign-post-walkway-lighting/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/04/20/eagle-crescent-walkway-5/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/05/14/walkway-fences/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/06/24/waiting-patiently/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/07/14/still-waiting-patiently/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/08/18/anybody-seen-this-missing-councillor/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/08/28/transportation-policy-doublespeak/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/obstructive-landscaping/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/skewed-priorities/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/placemaking-design-issues/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/12/08/torontos-walking-strategy/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/12/23/better-maintainance-of-pedestrian-roads-please/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/because-theyre-allowed-to/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/todays-cscp-appearance/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/04/24/disabled-pedestrians/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/lobbying-for-londons-pedestrians/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/pedestrian-hurdle/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/bertons-pedestrian-pronouncement/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/bikes-dont-belong-on-the-sidewalk/
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/amending-londons-fence-by-law/

Previous Related Correspondence:

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