20.9 C
Niagara Falls
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Ross’s Ramblings: NOTL is a pretty town. It’s also noisy, congested and smelly
Ross Robinson says vehicles on Queen Street are just distracting from the beauty of the street. JULIA SACCO

The past few weeks, Queen Street has been chock-a-block with visitors and locals taking the airs and enjoying our unique village.

I observe the passing scenes, as many different groups of people walk and cruise our town. There were some local folks going about their business at the liquor store and the Valu-mart (I know, I know, the Independent. Change is hard. Gimme another month).

There were so many people on the sidewalks admiring the lovely new flower plantings and the store windows. But the noise levels were intrusive and indeed were having a negative effect on our ability to enjoy perfect and sunny early summer days.

Throw in loud Miller Waste System and Modern Landfill recycling and garbage trucks and Dan’s Produce and Sysco food delivery trucks and business is certainly picking up, eh?

There are also red town trucks getting their jobs done and town bylaw officers ready to pounce on parking problems.

Yes, the biggest parking problems are still the meters that don’t work. How frustrating do we make it for visitors who have chosen to come to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a lovely change in their lives — and to spend money?

Sometimes, they’re lined up eight or 10 deep, all tearing their hair out, doing their best to figure out our computerized parking apps. Is it really called Honk Mobile?

Plus, for the many weeks, there’s been the annoying beep-beep-beep of the cherry picker lift working on repointing the bricks on the upper exterior walls of the old building at the corner of Regent and Queen streets.

It’s sad and unfair for tourists, and really sad for tenants of the building who need to sleep during the day.

And these irritants bring us to noisy traffic. I hesitated to ramble on this subject because in the past I have enjoyed the pulsating rush of a powerful motorcycle between my legs. Chopped exhaust systems and monkey bars are ultra cool. It really can be addictive.

But enough is enough.

Social media sites have included NOTL as a destination of choice for day cruises. On sunny days now, it is not an occasional noisy and smoke-belching two-wheeled cycle making its way down Queen Street.

Enjoying a DQ Blizzard, we hear them approaching from Mississagua Street, revving up as they reach the middle of Old Town. Conversations must be put on hold, as the Easy Riders rev up.

Some of them then choose to pause by the cenotaph to make some more noise and belch smelly smoke. My eyes don’t water, but it has become an olfactory degradation.

Not long ago, the United Empire Loyalist folks were holding their annual remembrance. Someone forgot the sound system, so the audience couldn’t hear. Then, a Gordon’s Food Service truck lumbered slowly by, followed by a Niagara transit vehicle.

It really was a pity because the United Empire Loyalist folks had gone all out to remember their ancestors.

The street hadn’t been closed off for half an hour for the ceremony, so it was hard to appreciate this salute to United Empire Loyalist history.

On Father’s Day, my son telephoned from Whistler, a world-renowned recreational town in British Columbia. It used to be a ski resort, but has since been turned into a walkable city — now summers are as busy as winters.

Thousands of people drive to that area, park away from downtown and spend time enjoying the beautiful town: Strolling, shopping, having a drink and enjoying a meal. Whistler is now a year-round resort town.

Surely it is time our visionary folks seriously consider changing downtown NOTL to being vehicle-free. Currently, it is congested, noisy and smelly.

Pictures of Canada’s prettiest town are becoming ugly, lined up with multiple lanes of moving and parked traffic.

Jay-walking from the post office to the Valu-mart (I know, I know) can be downright dangerous. Will it take a death or serious injury to make it happen?

I know it won’t be easy. There will be challenges.

Let’s figure it out.

Subscribe to our mailing list