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Pedestrian safety being reviewed for Port Dover’s Cockshutt Road

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Solutions are under review regarding pedestrian safety on Cockshutt Road in Port Dover.

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The Cockshutt between Sunning Hill Drive and St. John’s Road has filled with subdivisions over the past 25 years. There are hundreds of homes here but some residents feel cut off from the urban area to the south due to a lack of sidewalks.

Residents frequently walk into town but many don’t feel safe on the gravel shoulders with fast-moving traffic speeding north and south beside them. Last week, Norfolk council discussed a menu of improvements, including the installation of sidewalks or paved shoulders.

“As a daily walker, it comes as a great relief that there is some consideration being made to this treacherous area for pedestrians,” Regan Karges said in a note to Norfolk council, adding her preference is for a sidewalk.

“A paved shoulder provides a visual barrier only between the road and the pedestrian or cyclist. All that separates them from the road is the painted line. This would hardly provide the feeling of safety that would come with a structural barrier such as a curb.”

Cost is a consideration. In a report, Jason Godby, Norfolk’s interim general manager of public works,  said 450 metres of sidewalk from Dover Mills Road south to the nearest connecting walkway could cost as much as $400,000.

Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus is leery of this solution because it would come with an annual cost for snow removal. By comparison, paved shoulders on both sides of the Cockshutt would cost about $50,000.

Godby noted there are five hydro poles in this zone without street lights. Fitting them with additional lighting – bringing the number of fixtures in this area to 10 – would cost about $20,000. This would improve pedestrian and cycling safety after dark.

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There have also been requests to install a sidewalk on Dover Mills Road as an alternative route into the core. A sidewalk here measuring about 250 metres could cost as much as $300,000, the staff report says.

The sidewalk and paving solutions are complicated by the fact that the sections in question have been pencilled in for capital upgrades over the next three years. Council is reluctant to invest in new infrastructure that has to be ripped up shortly after installation,

Port Dover Coun. Amy Martin says safety concerns in this part of town are well founded. She cited the death of Chad Everets, a Norfolk native who was struck and killed on this stretch, at night, in 2011. Police are still searching for the hit-and-run driver.

“They’ve been waiting for sidewalks and safety measures in this part of town probably since 1990,” Martin told council Jan. 12.

“And now there are other additional homes that have come in. There are hundreds of homes in this area. This was a huge campaign issue (in 2018). And this is a dangerous stretch of road. This is a bad stretch for speed.”

Godby was directed to review the council discussion of last week and report back in February with further options.

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