City council voted to accept an amended proposal to limit vehicle access to Knox Mountain.
The proposal aims to limit vehicular access on Knox Mountain Drive, which was originally built as a mountain access road and not for multi-modal use. Originally, city staff proposed to limit vehicle access to the first lookout from Wednesday to Saturday. Hours for vehicular access would also be limited, those looking to drive their cars up to the first lookout can only do so from noon to 8 p.m.
The amended proposal would keep the modified hours, but allow vehicles to access the first lookout on the mountain every day of the week.
Many councillors raised accessibility concerns with the original plan, especially for senior residents and disabled people. Coun. Loyal Wooldridge said the plan does not allow disabled people to access the mountain on a consistent basis.
“This is (a big issue) in the plan for me,” he said.
Coun. Charlie Hodge agreed, pointing to the mountain’s popularity with senior residents. Restricting the times cars can go up to Knox Mountain Drive will make it inaccessible for a large portion of the population, he said.
“I’m really concerned that senior citizens and disabled people will pay the price because of these changes. Quite frankly, I don’t see the need for this change,” said Hodge.
Coun. Gail Given disagreed, complimenting staff for coming up with a “compromise.” While there is a lot of support to keep the road open, Given said the majority of people want to feel safe when accessing the roadway.
“I think safety is a great concern to us,” said Given. “Road usage should come first, and then we can consider what else we can do with the park.”
Coun. Ryan Donn put forward a motion to allow vehicular access to the top of the mountain, which Hodge agreed with. That motion was voted down, with many councillors citing costs as a concern.