TJ Dolan’s access will…stay the same for the time being

After a lengthy discussion at the City Hall meeting on August 14, a decision to restrict access to TJ Dolan Drive for seven months out of the year was scrapped by city councillors.

In a meeting last month, the city proposed restricting access to TJ Dolan Drive from Huron Street between May 1 and November 15 to make the road more pedestrian-friendly. The council noted that the concerns regarding the street were initially brought up by residents who raised awareness about parking on TJ Dolan and the area’s access to pedestrians.

Bruce Borgundvaag, a Stratford resident whose house corners on TJ Dolan and Huron Street, voiced concerns with regard to closing access to TJ Doan at Huron St. due to parking issues he’s witnessed over the years, “We gave our support of the restricted access conditional on the fact that we did not want to see street parking on TJ Dolan on the south side. We have concerns that this will effectively turn the street into a parking lot for seven months of the year,” he said in his address to council.

Borgundvaag noted that he and his neighbours are collectively concerned about the proposed solution brought forth by the city. He noted that most of those living back-facing to TJ Dolan were not in favour of the changes put forth by the city council and believed that the parking was disregarded. “Most people that I spoke to had similar opinions as I did,” Borgundvaag said, “We feel that this is not necessarily reflected in the staff’s recommendation to not look at parking restrictions.”

The Stratford resident also noted that there is limited access to garbage cans along TJ Dolan, which he said was problematic as those who use the road for fishing and walking have been seen littering along the street. This leaves those living on the street to be the ones cleaning up or calling to complain to the city.

Another important note Borgundvaag discussed was that there is little access for safe turnaround for drivers, and this would be imperative due to the road being a “no exit” street during seven months of the year, “I would also point out that along the street, there are no curbs there are no sidewalks. So, if car access is restricted, there's no way for cars to turn around.” He continued, “Drivers will be turning around in and out of our driveway all day.”

Borgundvaag summarized his statements before the city council’s discussion, noting, “I'm not opposed to the motion of restricting our access to TJ Dolan, and I think it's great to encourage pedestrians to use that walkway for their dogs. I walk my dogs there every day.” He continued, “I hope you can see that the parking issue along TJ Jolin is more complex than initially presented for your consideration. I would ask that you consider the fact that 75 percent of the people who live there and are directly impacted by this do not want this to go forward without some form of parking restriction and enforcement.”

Councillor Cody Sebben put forth a motion to scrap the suggested changes made by the city council after Borgundvaag’s presentation, saying, “I think, frankly, we should leave well enough alone. I think we need to increase enforcement parking. I'm not willing to take away all parking on the street, but I'm also not willing to force this on the residence and make them maintain the parking.” This motion was passed, and TJ Dolan access and parking will continue to be accessible for all community members.

Residents witnessing illegal parking on TJ Dolan are asked to call city law enforcement to enforce parking restrictions.

Amanda Modaragamage, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stratford Times