The proposed Nelson Landing development off John’s Walk has many merits — but at least one major flaw. It should not be allowed to do away with sidewalks.
When council votes on the developer’s request for variances, we hope it will keep the following in mind.
(1) The absence of a sidewalk is clearly a safety issue, especially since a relatively narrow road is also proposed. With no sidewalk, pedestrians and vehicles will be perilously close to each other.
(2) If there is no sidewalk in this initial phase of the project, there will be no sidewalk throughout the development, which could eventually be over 70 units. This first step will have long-term consequences.
(3) The requested variance is at odds with all recent developments in this area of Nelson — Seventh Avenue, Radio Avenue, and John’s Walk. All have a sidewalk on at least one side of the street.
(4) The lack of a sidewalk in the developer’s plan is in no way necessary. Rather, it is a consequence of a peculiar design that envisages garages projecting well away from the houses and taking up valuable space on a narrow lot.
(5) One justification for the absence of a sidewalk is that there will be a lakeside trail instead. But this is not a replacement for a street sidewalk, partly because it cannot be used year round, partly because it will not be fully accessible, particularly for people with mobility challenges.
We hope that council will reject a request that is both unnecessary and undesirable.
Patricia and Robert Malcolmson