As the warmer weather gives way to fall rains and cooler air, the activity in the green spaces in Eastbridge starts to wane. This brings much relief to many of the neighbours who continue to have significant struggles with misuse of the spaces by teens and young adults. Over the past months I have received many emails and participated in a variety of meetings associated with two primary issues in the Eastbridge neighbourhood. These issues can be summarized as follows: Traffic concerns are related to speeding primarily on Eastbridge, Chesapeake and New Hampshire and illegal parking around the elementary schools. I was advised that the problems related to speeding are very obvious during morning/evening “rush hour” and at dusk and into the evening.
The second traffic concern relates to families continuing to illegally park on neighbourhood streets surrounding St. Lukes and Lester B. Pearson school. In some cases vehicles are parked in private driveways blocking residents in their own garages.
Evening Activities in the parks and green spaces: Information continues to be received related to constant occurrences in the evenings, in which there is good weather, related to excessive noise (often until 1 and 2 am); drug abuse in dark spaces such as the pirate ship in the Eastbridge Green Park; alcohol abuse in public places; graffiti; stealing; trespassing associated with property damage; loitering and other illicit activities.
In an effort to continue to work on the issues discussed above, I arranged a meeting with Waterloo Regional Police, City of Waterloo By-Law, Eastbridge citizens, the General Manager of Public Works, the Director of Parks as well as myself. As well, I met with the chairperson of the Eastbridge neighbourhood Association. Sorting through the above issues will not be easy, but it is agreed that pro active steps will be initiated by all to start the process towards improving situation.
Traffic concerns remain a challenge within the neighbourhood. The traffic calming recommendations were implemented at the time the subdivision was developed, but people continue to speed even with the measures in place. As recommended by Waterloo Regional Police Services (WRPS) I placed a call to request that Chesepeake, New Hampshire and Eastbridge be included in the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program.
As well, By-Law officers have been requested to add the streets surrounding the elementary schools to their rotating schedule of parking enforcement in and around school zones. I understand the thoughts of driving to the school, dropping off children and immediately heading to work in the same vehicle. I further recognize the added time required to walk children to school at the beginning of very busy days and mornings. The difficulty is that vehicles are preventing families from leaving their homes, safely exiting their driveways and overall increases stress and anxiety for everyone. If you currently drive your children to school as opposed to walking, please consider ways in which you could eliminate the drive by sharing the walk with a neighbour every other day or through a “walking school bus” from your street.
With a new school on the horizon, it was also requested that staff look into setting up a “hot zone” restricted to school operating hours around the new school to be established. This zone will be like the one set up by the school board and the City at the new elementary school on the west side. This hot zone will prevent parking and stopping. The school is intended to be a walkable school and for the sake of the neighbours living closest to the school I do hope that Eastbridge families will embrace the concept. It was this concept that assisted the trustees in supporting the school in this location.
As the colder weather approaches please remember that the City has passed an anti-idling bylaw requiring vehicles to be turned off when waiting longer than three minutes.
With regard to the issues in the public green spaces the following next steps are underway:
Completion of a Crime Prevention through Design Audit of the Eastbridge Green playground and the other green spaces. City staff and WRPS as well as neighbours of the green space will work together to complete this Audit as soon a possible. Subsequent to the Audit I will arrange for a follow up meeting with neighbours and the Eastbridge Association representatives to discuss the findings and the opportunities for implementation of the recommendations. We will report on the findings in the upcoming neighbourhood newsletter. Engaging the Eastbridge Neighbourhood: As a part of this work, I will strive to keep the Neighbourhood up to date with progress on the concerns via articles to the Newsletter and the website. Some of the proactive work that is recommended to be undertaken by interested citizens include the following:
WRPS requested that interested individuals keep a log of the evening activates including information such as: date; time of day; location of activity; number of individuals involved; basic description of the individuals; vehicle make/model/colour/license plate; and some description of the activities that are observed. These reports can be submitted directly to Staff Sergeant Russo with WRPS or to me and I will forward them to WRPS.
Neighbourhood Watch is a proactive program, but requires volunteers to assist with running the program. The Eastbridge Neighbourhood association has put out calls for volunteers for this program in the past. To date very few people have responded with a willingness to participate.
In an effort to increase the visibility of enforcement activity it is requested that citizens continue to report noise complaints. If complaints are identified as “just noise” and not combined with illegal activity City By-Law staff can respond. Calls still need to be dispatched by WRPS at 519-653-7700. Do not call 911 for a noise complaint. For reporting of parking violations contact City By-Law directly at 519-747-8785 during daytime hours (8:30-5pm). After 5pm contact WRPS at the number noted above.
Clearly undertaking all of the work above will take time and a willingness on behalf of Eastbridge residents to assist with resolving some of the items. Eastbridge is a gem of a community and has the strongest neighbourhood association in my ward. I continue to be impressed by the Eastbridge Neighbourhood board of directors. I thank them for their commitment to work with the City and WRPS to try to improve the community.
I certainly value your comments on this article. I can be contacted at Diane.Freeman@waterloo.ca . Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 December 2011 )