Letter: No sidewalks are 'barbaric, anti-community and unsafe'

The Editor, Re. “PoCo residents stop new path for Patricia Avenue” (Tri-City News, Jan. 30).

The Editor,

A letter to Port Coquitlam council:

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This email is in regard to your decision to cancel the sidewalk project on Patricia.

If you want to build a sense of community, find friendly faces on the street and promote healthy residents, the most important thing that you can do is get people out of their homes and walking down the street. This is your vision, from your strategic plan and you must make decisions in alignment with it.

Studies have shown that sidewalks are the single most important factor in building a sense of community.

I am appalled that after the work that went into planning that sidewalk on Patricia, council rejected it.

Human nature leans towards holding on to what we have. Of course, any resident using the pathway to park their car is going to squawk and complain. They are using public space for private use so they’re going to fight to keep it.

Change is hard for people but you must do what is good for the community as a whole and not just for the few.

For the community, a sidewalk is priceless. To the mother trying to walk with her stroller, a dog on leash and a toddler in hand, it is priceless. To the nine-year-old walking home from school alone for the first time, that space is priceless. To the hundreds of children who would like to walk from their school down to the river for a swim, it is priceless.

Port Coquitlam has become desensitized to how barbaric, anti-community and unsafe a lack of sidewalks are. A street without a sidewalk is a street where the new neighbours don’t easily get to know one another. A street where children can’t ride their bikes and get off the road easily if they need to. A person always feels slightly uneasy walking down a street without a sidewalk. This is the opposite of your vision for the community.

I am so disappointed in your decision. It feels safe. It feels small. It lacks vision. It lacks an understanding of the science behind building a sense of community.

I live on Fraser Avenue. Our street has been picked for the next round of sidewalk building. There are residents of several houses who use our street as their parking lot, houses that have large driveways behind their homes that they do not use. They are going to squawk because they are human, because no person wants to give up something they get for free, something that belongs to the entire community.

This is not 1950. PoCo needs to move to a modern way of thinking. We need sidewalks on every single street. In order to accomplish this, you will need to disregard the squawking from people who are essentially squatters. Please stop blocking the implementation of sidewalk projects.

Cheryl O’Brien, Port Coquitlam

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