Construction bids more than 300 per cent over budget will push back the reconstruction of Elmira’s Maple Street until at least next year. Meanwhile, the township will grapple with what to do with several parking spots along the west side of the Home Hardware store on Church Street.
Budgeted at a cost of $58,000, the reconstruction project drew only two bidders, with the lower tender price coming in at $180,000. Meeting this week, councillors agreed to put off the work until 2010, allowing the job to be redesigned and put back out to tender.
For Krista McBay, owner of Elmira Home Hardware, the delay provides an opportunity for Woolwich to rethink its plan to eliminate 10 perpendicular parking spaces along the Maple Street side of her store.
“It is a hardship for me,” she said Tuesday night. “We should put some time into researching this further.”
Currently, the township plans to replace the existing parking with seven parallel spaces, situated on both sides of Maple Street. Following McBay’s appeal, councillors agreed to have staff look at other options before reporting back in three weeks.
Dan Kennaley, Woolwich’s director of engineering and planning, said the proposed changes would make the road safer, and allow for the construction of sidewalks on both sides of Maple Street, connecting Church and William streets. The latter is home to Riverside Public School.
“Traffic engineers are generally not supportive of perpendicular parking,” he said, explaining that cars pulling in and out of such spaces pose a larger danger, especially in backing across both lanes, than do cars pulling out into the flow of traffic from parallel spots.
That particular location is even more troublesome given that it’s a “blind corner” as drivers turn right off of Church Street on to Maple Street, he added.
Pointing out there have been no accidents related to the existing parking arrangement, McBay said the township’s changes would make loading more difficult for customers, especially those with trailers and larger vehicles.
While Coun. Ruby Weber called for the status quo to be maintained, other councillors would only agree to more investigation, with Coun. Murray Martin pushing for the proposed reconstruction plan.
The township has standards for reconstructed roads, and this one should be no different, he argued, pointing to the advantages of sidewalks on both sides of the street.
Alternative parking arrangements do exist for Home Hardware customers, added Kennaley. There will still be a loading area for the store’s garden centre. Adequate parking exists at the rear of the store, which also owns a lot across the street, to the north of the township’s administration building.
A decision is expected Oct. 17. The parking arrangements will be part of new engineering drawings compiled prior to re-tendering the job next year.