- a detailed inventory map visually outlining missing sidewalk connections
- an updated budget
- action plan for addressing these missing connections
Missing sidewalk connections in the city have been a big issue in our Missing Links Initiative, which we’re glad to see referenced in the report. As you probably know, we asked Edmontonians to identify and share places where they encountered gaps in active-transportation infrastructure:
- multi-use paths
- bike infrastructure
We received more than 200 submissions from citizens, recorded them on a map, and shared that map widely. It’s interesting to note that 100+ submissions we got were about sidewalks specifically. A lot of them were missing links we had not been aware of, and some of these missing links were pretty startling.
People told us stories of sidewalks along major streets or through well-travelled neighbourhoods that just, for no apparent reason, ended. You could see tracks in the snow or grass or gravel or dirt where pedestrians had ad-libbed their own impromptu pathways until they reached another sidewalk.
These DIY “trails” were better than nothing, but they weren’t:
- in some cases, they weren’t particularly safe
Such missing links are incredibly frustrating for pedestrians.
People travelling on foot are made to feel like they are second-class citizens.
Every missing connection beside a roadway sends the message: vehicles come first; pedestrians come second.
And that sidewalks are seen as concrete accessories–nice, where you can find them–rather than as essential connected networks for actively getting around our city.
Given that walking is the most accessible, most democratic, not to mention the oldest, form of human transportation, you’d think we would prioritize walking infrastructure above all others. But too often we take walking and walking infrastructure for granted.
We believe the $10 million that this report is calling for will make a significant impact on the problem of missing sidewalk connections.
We have reviewed the report, support its recommendations and urge the committee to accept it and send it on to council. Filling in 20 km of the 105 km of missing sidewalks is a promising start.
We’d like to see even more funding, of course, but this is a start.
An encouraging sign that the city is getting serious about providing continuous, safe, accessible pathways for active transportation.