Jun 10, 2019

On Side With Better Sidewalks

We talk a lot about walkable streets and multi-modal connections in neighbourhoods because they’re important. Basic mobility infrastructure that is safe and accessible can make a big difference to day to day living. Many real estate listings even promote walkability scores to entice buyers. Walkable areas tend to feel more vibrant and make it easier to get out and about and connect with neighbours.

Whether you’re a senior; a parent with a stroller; a person who uses a wheelchair, cane, or walker to get around; or someone who just likes to walk, you need to be able to get around safely.

The City of Edmonton’s Sidewalk Strategy states that “sidewalks play a crucial role in animating our society, from basic transportation and accessibility to community cohesiveness and viability.”

The Strategy defines missing sidewalks as those links where no sidewalk exists but there is a desire to have one constructed. An inventory of missing sidewalk links is maintained by the City’s Administration and prioritized according to influence on safety, accessibility, connectivity to supportive land uses and expected level of use.

This all sounds great, except that there are still an identified 105.3 km of missing sidewalks reported city-wide, out of approximately 5,200 km of existing sidewalks along roadways.

That’s why in April, 2018 (just 6 months after I was elected) I asked formally in Council for Administration to bring forward a list of where these gaps in sidewalk connections are in communities across the city along with a budget to address them.

A report came back to Council on March 19, 2019 (almost a whole year later) where another Motion was passed that asked for these locations to be mapped out for easy reference. A group called Paths For People also recently started logging a collection of missing sidewalk links that has further informed the City’s list. A new report is now available and will be discussed in Committee tomorrow (June 11).

Administration has now committed to submitting a $10 million unfunded capital budget request to support the construction of missing sidewalk links as part of the Fall Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment process. This funding would enable the advancing of planning, design, and construction of the majority of high priority missing links by the end of the capital budget cycle in 2022, which includes some in the NE (below). It’s about time we see the basics being done right in communities. That’s what I have been and will continue to be pushing for.

  • 144 Avenue, 36 Street – Manning Drive (high priority)
  • 50 Street, 153 Avenue – 162 Avenue (high priority)
  • 139 Avenue/50 A Street, Manning Drive – 50 Street (medium priority)
  • 137 Avenue, 58 Street – 82 Street (lower priority)
  • 56 Street, 129 Avenue – 130 Aveneue (industrial)
  • Manning Drive, 50 Street – 50 A Street (industrial)

If you have any questions, please contact my office at aaron.paquette@edmonton.ca

Note- The report on missing sidewalks was recently covered by Elise Stolte with the Edmonton Journal.