Cahill Road resident Jessica Harvey wants the city of Peterborough to put the brakes on a plan to install sidewalks on her street. She says a sidewalk would make it impossible for her to park her pickup truck in the driveway.
“We’re not looking to get rid of sidewalks here,” she told Global News. “We’re just looking to move them inches.”
The city’s Parking, Loading and Driveway Bylaw states that the minimum length of a residential driveway is six metres (236.2 inches). Harvey’s Ford F150 pickup truck — at 6.2 metres — is longer than that.
“If I pull my truck in and have my tailgate open to pull out some groceries, my son or any of the other children on the street riding their bikes along the sidewalk could get their teeth knocked out by my tailgate and that’s not what I want,” she said. “That’s not my goal. I want a safe and accessible community and I also want to be able to work and live in Peterborough.”
Harvey said she is also concerned that if her truck is parked across a sidewalk, she’ll wind up getting parking tickets.
Donald Thom, a retired police inspector, just moved onto the street and said the bylaws are there for a reason but he, too, argues common sense must prevail.
“They are almost chopping the driveway in half,” Thom said. “I’ve been talking with Jessica (Harvey) and a couple of other people and they can’t even park their vehicles between where the sidewalks are supposedly going and the garage and to me, that’s just ludicrous, it doesn’t make any sense at all.”
As for the city, it is standing behind its bylaw.
Harvey reached out to her representatives on city council but says she was getting nowhere.
“What’s been echoed to us is that Peterborough is not interested in debating the six-metre bylaw,” said Harvey.
Otonabee Ward Councillor Lesley Parnell sat down with Harvey and other neighbours in the subdivision; she says moving the sidewalk 10 or 12 inches isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“A six-metre laneway is standard; it’s a minimum,” said Parnell. “People have the option, especially in a new build like this to be able to move their house back further on their property but typically that doesn’t happen as people tend to choose a bigger backyard than a front yard and that affects their parking but that is their decision.”
Parnell has spoken with the developer and says any changes to the layout at this point would cost thousands of dollars.
“At this point in this build to try to move the sidewalk six inches means all of these drawings have to be redone, so who is going to pay that $25,000,” Parnell said.
For Harvey, this is now a case of buyer beware.
“We just want to ring the alarm for anyone with a pickup truck in Peterborough to know the building code has not been updated since 1954,” she said.