Petitioners present plea to keep angle parking in Smiths Falls

Posted on: January 15, 2018

Chris Must


Smiths Falls resident Patricia Headlam made an impassioned plea to town councillors at a Jan. 15 meeting to keep angle parking on Beckwith Street, on the grounds that it is an important part of the town’s heritage.

Accompanied by a group of supporters, Headlam also presented Mayor Shawn Pankow with a petition bearing more than 400 signatures and comments in favour of retaining the existing angle parking.

Headlam said that her victory in a long-ago go kart race made her ideal for the role of spokesperson. “I won the Powderpuff Derby on that very street in 1958,” she said.

The option to switch from angle to parallel parking on Beckwith Street was suggested in a recent engineering consultant’s report to council. Beckwith Street is to be reconstructed in order to replace the aging infrastructure below ground. At the same time, said consultants from the Parsons engineering firm in a presentation to council Dec. 18, the project would provide an opportunity to change or modernize the streetscape, possibly be widening sidewalks and adding bicycle lanes. This is something the street’s unusual width could accommodate, especially with the introduction of parallel rather than angle parking. As well, said company vice-president Ron Clarke, studies have shown that parallel parking is safer for both vehicles and pedestrians.

“We feel as a group that there is no need to change the parking,” argued Headlam at the Jan. 15 meeting.

Headlam said angle parking makes it easier for people using walkers to get out of their vehicles when there are snowbanks. She also suggested there would be an added cost to keep larger sidewalks and bicycle paths clear of snow.

Referring to plans to hold an additional public meeting on the Beckwith Street project on Feb. 7, Headlam asked, “Will the citizens of Smiths Falls have a voice? We need to have input.”

Pankow said the contents of the petition would be shared with all members of council.

“We certainly want to hear from you and everybody else,” commented Councillor Jay Brennan, chair of the Jan. 15 special meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole.

4 thoughts on “Petitioners present plea to keep angle parking in Smiths Falls

  1. Mike Crofts

    “As well, said company vice-president Ron Clarke, studies have shown that parallel parking is safer for both vehicles and pedestrians”.

    Will the studies Mr. Clarke is referring to be shared? Are these being relied upon? To me it seems like less parking, greater difficulty to park, business loss and actually putting people at risk. Id like to see the model if possible. Population growth doesn’t support it either.

  2. Mike Crofts

    To add, streetscape is the new power word used for these types of projects are usually done in younger Cities with a rapid transit , usually this is an attempt to remove cars, introduce bikes and walkers…..there is certain criteria to trigger this…..and what it boils down to is you…..political preference….nothing supports this is Smiths Falls other then the Mayor wanting this…..if it goes through….speak with your vote….it would cost the City a great deal to reverse the work if it were to happen. The devil is in the details, what type of materials are being used for wider sidewalks? pavers? They crack and pop and raise, who replaces these? The business or the City? They are a tripping hazard. Given the age of the buildings along Beckwith, you’ll have foundation and water penetration issues with this work, who pays for that? You the tax payer.

    Absolutely understand it is likely time to upgrade and replace some old infrastructure, just because they try and sell you the shiny stuff that they want to go with it doesnt mean its a fit for Smiths Falls…….This really isnt much more then bundling projects at a cost savings to the City……only if the work is required, was going to happen anyway, life cycle budget pressure being eased or mitigated and of great benefit to the City……dont see it Mr. Mayor.

  3. Patricia Headlam

    Not enough research has been done on the rippled effect this will have on present businesses on Beckwith St. Tear up the sidewalks and open a can of worms…coal chutes buried years ago, perhaps attached to existing buildings…need to change only what needs to be changed…

    1. wiison Irvine

      This is big City thinking by the Mayor, trying to collect future tax dollars from new residence moving to Smiths Falls, hoping this new main core upgrade will attract them like bees to honey.. Mr Clarke has even pointed out this parking and bike lane is viable due to the unusual width of the street, yes so unusual it has been documented in History books and you wish to lose this attraction for unwanted parking and bike lanes, how foolish to play and remove a landmark so well known in this towns history. one should stop thinking like a big city and better place your tax dollars in keeping your history intact, However there is an election coming soon.. lets wait on History……

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