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Sunday Stranding

Posted 2010-10-04 Tags: None

On Sunday, the CIBC Walk for the Cure in Guelph raised $300,000 or more. It's a great idea for an event; a significant number of people from all over the city of Guelph get together and walk through Guelph while raising money to support cancer research. There is nothing better than a community coming together like this; it showcase the best things about Guelph and I'm proud to say that I donated some money to the cause this year. I have never actually taken part in the walk itself, but it always goes by the end of my street. Here, let me give you an idea:

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I live on Hamel Avenue. The Walk for the Cure always goes down London Road. And, in case you didn't know, Guelph has been torn apart for Guelph Remastered where the city is (thankfully) doing about 5 years worth of road maintenance and upgrading in 4 months. One of the roads that is currently closed is Westmound Road. If you look at the map, you'll see that if both Westmount and London are closed, I cannot drive anywhere from my house, and this is indeed what happened on Sunday morning. It was not possible for me to legally drive away from my place of residence and get anywhere.

That morning a lot of "What ifs" ran through my head before I tried to lodge a complaint. What if one of my elderly neighbours (or my pregnant wife!) required a trip to the hospital? What if the people on my street wanted to head out for 9am Mass? What if I had a contractor coming in to do work on my home?

I got answers to at least two of these three questions. If you wanted to go to church on Sunday morning, you were out of luck. If you had a contractor coming in that morning to work on something, you were similarly out of luck. There was no detour or workaround to get to my home. I'm thankful that we didn't need to find out what would have happened if a trip to the hospital was required.

Trying to lodge a complaint with the organizers was not particularly productive. Each person that I talked to made me feel as if I were being unreasonable. I admit that this is subjective, but I was made to feel that it was unreasonable to complain about an event to raise money to fight cancer. Then came the rub; one of the gentlemen that I spoke with told me that they had already had to change the course of the event to account for some of the construction. This means that someone looked at the route and reviewed it, and changed the route because of construction but they didn't consider the two streets that were cut off from the rest of Guelph.

Nothing really bad happened. Some of my neighbours had to stay home from church and the work that I'd scheduled to start early in the day started later. Couldn't we move events such as this into some of Guelphs amazingly well maintained parks or through the downtown core? Residential areas don't need to have this kind of event blocking them off from the rest of the city. As frustrating as it was for me, it must have been even more frustrating for those who lived on London and couldn't even leave their driveways. 10 minutes of playing with Google Maps and it's easy enough to devise a route that brings people through the downtown core instead of through residential areas.

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