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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Letter: Chautauqua’s clogged streets could cause problems in emergency

Dear editor:

I hesitated to write this letter, but decided I had to set the record straight.

I was out for a walk last week and overheard a man and woman cycling past me, talking about the story in The Lake Report, “Chautauqua residents want town to curb traffic, visitor headaches,” about the proposed changes to deal with the traffic situation in Chautauqua. 

I only heard a snippet, but the tone was derogatory. I would like to address this letter to them … and to others who are rolling their eyes at the suggestions put forth in the report compiled by residents.   

Thirteen years ago, for the first time in my life, I had to make a 911 call. My husband, who had been diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer a few weeks earlier, was in the throes of a grand mal seizure that wouldn’t stop. 

I was so grateful and relieved when the ambulance and fire department showed up at my Chautauqua home in a matter of minutes. After the paramedics attended to him, firefighters carried my husband downstairs and he was taken by ambulance to the St Catharines hospital. Why do I bring this up?  

Given the traffic situation in Chautauqua, not only in 2020, but over the past few years, should I have to make another 911 call, emergency vehicles would not be able to reach my house, unless they parked on Niagara Boulevard and paramedics/firefighters ran up Wilberforce Avenue. Good luck if there was a call that required a fire truck.

Over the past few summers, we have experienced an increase in traffic in the neighbourhood — illegal parking, cars not pulled over tightly to the side of the road so they sit almost in the middle of the street, parking on both sides of our narrow streets (more accurately called laneways). 

I realize that the party line is that this is a pandemic, people have just discovered Ryerson Park, this will all go away next year … but those who live at the north end of Chautauqua tell a different story. This is a trend that began three or four years ago and shows no sign of stopping.

So, to the couple on their bikes, and anyone else who is a skeptic about this report, please know that the changes being proposed mean that everyone in the Chautauqua community, especially those on Shakespeare, Wilberforce and Vincent who experience the bulk of the tourist parking and live on these narrow laneways, will be able to be assured of a timely response to an emergency call. A right that every person in NOTL should be able to claim.

Ruth Denyer

NOTL

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