Donald McArthur and Dylan Kristy of the Windsor Star hosted me as part of their Trail Talk series of interviews with municipal election candidates.
You can watch my interview here. Enjoy!
There is a terrific facebook group called "Tecumseh, Ontario" that I discovered several months ago whose members pay tribute to the heritage of the Town of Tecumseh. The town has undoubtedly changed over the years. Traffic by-passes and plazas have been built, turning lanes added and buildings have been demolished. Within the group are several photos of Tecumseh Road from years passed.
Back when it was Highway 39, Tecumseh Road was a vibrant place. Inter-city traffic came through our core. As the region grew lanes were added to let us get home quickly. What is now County Road 22 took regional traffic away from the town core and left what was remaining to be reclaimed for its initial, local purpose.
Today's Tecumseh Road has many common elements of the downtown of yesteryear, but we've lost a key component. We have lots of departing vehicle traffic but the corridor sees relatively little foot traffic. Tecumseh Road is still designed to be Highway 39 and as a pedestrian it still feels as such. Therefore, parking and walking the strip on a 4'-wide sidewalk is a less than pleasant experience when you're by foot, especially in the winter when there's a fair amount of ploughed snow drifts.
Looking at some of the quaint little towns that my wife Kristin and I enjoy visiting - Elora, Jordan, and St. Jacobs come to mind, as well as the Walkerville community - there is a lush, historic nature to them that brings us back. The pedestrian connection is a key part of the street. Your day includes a loop including each side of the street and visiting the distinctive shops of the area.
Bringing Tecumseh Road back is the community improvement that I would like to focus upon most if I am elected to Council. I have been involved with streetscaping and other urban road design projects throughout my engineering career and have seen the positive results firsthand. I look forward to seeing the results of the Tecumseh Road Mainstreet Community Improvement Plan that are so far unreleased to the residents of Tecumseh, although the findings of the 2012 workshop can be found here. And once brought to Council for adoption I look forward to supporting and prioritizing this project.
There are numerous reasons why - employment, assessment growth, aesthetics. For me it's a sense of pride in our Town and a way to recapture our history, to give our town some life and help to flesh out our back story. Given the quality of life improvements we experience when we bring in active transportation, new businesses and services to the town, this would be an investment having a solid return.
I would very much appreciate if you can contribute your comments about Tecumseh Road to me through my new survey at http://www.andrewdowie.ca/tecumsehroad . I look forward to reading about your ideas and your thoughts. What kinds of corridor would you like to see Tecumseh Road become? Let me know, and from the outset I thank you very much for your interest and for your information.