A dumping of snow in Milton doesn't just mean a longer commute and extra shovelling work for Mom & Dad - it means it's time to take the kids out tobogganing!
One of the perks of living in this neighbourhood is the wonderful tobogganing hill at Commercial Street and Laurier. Our son used to love going there when he was little. My husband even broke his ankle there once. And as more and more people have moved into otherwise hill-less areas of Milton, they too have discovered the simple joy of going sledding with the kids down our little hill.
With increased use, however, has come increased danger, with scores of kids and their parents parking and then crossing the street to get to the hill. I'm always terrified driving through there when there's a big crowd, and I know a lot of other people are too.
It always baffled me why cars were only allowed to park on the opposite side of the street from the hill. It made no sense. Surely it would be much safer if the kids didn't have to cross - plus, it would make it much easier on the people who live down there to get in and out of their driveways. So, I asked our Local & Regional Councillor Colin Best about it, and he forwarded my question to Town staff.
After some back and forth and confusion, it turned out there was no good reason for parking to be on the west side of Commercial down there. So, the staffer offered to send me a petition package to get it changed.
For those who have never been through this sort of petition process before, it's surprisingly complicated. First, you need the signatures of at least 51% of home owners whose properties either face or flank the affected street. Only one name per household, and it must be one of the home owners. If you are a renter, apparently your opinion doesn't count.
|A flyer explaining the issue|
This is point at which these initiatives frequently fail.
People often assume that once they sign the petition, that's it, and they miss or ignore the questionnaire. You can get 95% of people on the street signing a petition, but if half of them neglect to do this last step, you're out of luck.
I've spent the last couple of days going door to door, talking to home owners between Laurier and Heslop, which in this case is the area affected. Almost every single person I've spoken to has been extremely supportive of the idea of switching the parking over, and understands the importance of filling out that questionnaire when it arrives. To all those who signed (and even the ones who didn't), I say thank you!
Even though we're well over the 51% we need, I'll try to catch those last few people at home this week just to be sure, and then send the petition on to the Town. So, if you live on or adjacent to Commercial Street between Laurier and Heslop, keep an eye out for that questionnaire. I'll be calling to make sure you've got it.
And if you are one of the folks who brings your kids to play on our hill and worries about getting them across the street safely, fear not. Change is coming.
UPDATE (April 24):
I'm sorry to report that the initiative did not pass. Although 82% of residents signed the petition, only 26% returned the questionnaire requesting the change. Part of this is my fault - by the time I found out that the questionnaire had gone out, it was too late to contact people and remind them. Also, several people had second thoughts, particularly those living on the east side of the street above the park who were concerned about parked cars blocking their view as they came out of their own driveways.
It's a shame, but it was worth a shot. I will investigate the possibility of re-submitting the proposal, only this time switching the parking only as far as the houses on the east side.