The purpose of sidewalks is to give pedestrians a safe place to walk without having to interact with the traffic on our roads. The poor condition and absence of sidewalks in some parts of our city are a hazard to public safety, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Provincial guidelines stipulate that children within 1.6km of a school are not eligible for school-provided bus transport. Many of the students within this radius walk to school year round. Given the age of many of these students, and the dangers of walking on the street with vehicles, it is very important that areas within the 1.6km zone have sidewalks that are available year-round. The safety of our children is put at risk every time they have to share the road with vehicles, and it's an unnecessary hazard that can be easily corrected.
During the winter months our roads become very dangerous at times. Yet, it is at this same time that pedestrians are forced onto the streets because sidewalks are not cleared of snow. Statistics from the RNC show that there is an increase in vehicle-pedestrian accidents during the winter months, and in some of these cases the lack of sidewalks was considered the main contributing factor in the accident. Sidewalks are an important part of a city's infrastructure, and they must be maintained year-round to provide a safe place for pedestrians to walk without risking their personal safety by walking on the street.
Sidewalks also need to be maintained adequately so they do not pose a hazard to those using them. In some cases large cracks, or very uneven surfaces, greatly increase the chances of someone tripping or falling. If sidewalks are provided, they need to be maintained.
Road maintenance in St. John's seems to be very poor at times, and in certain areas. Potholes can be left for months before being filled, and crumbling road surfaces left are sometimes left unrepaired.
There needs to be better communication between departments to avoid wasting money, time, and resources. There have been a number of cases where a crew will paint lines on the road, only to have another crew come and tear up the road for repaired just days later. This is wasteful, and completely avoidable.
We need a guideline to determine when a road needs complete resurfacing, to avoid the patchwork of repairs we see now. There are areas in the city now where you cannot tell what was the original road, and what is patches, because it's patches, upon patches, upon patches. We are continually patching things up instead of repairing them properly the first time.
A review needs to be done to determine the best method of putting markings on the roads. The paint we are using now is unsatisfactory because for most of the year it is hard to see the lines on many roads. This leads to driver confusion and is a safety hazard.
Improve Snow Clearing
We need to take a serious look at snow clearing within the city to ensure we are meeting the needs of residents. In some cases plow operators create safety hazards by piling snow up on the corner of an intersection, preventing drivers from being able to get an adequate view of the road before turning. This could easily lead to a serious accident, and the practise needs to be reviewed.
As mentioned above, sidewalks should be available year-round, and should be cleared of snow in the winter.
Municipal Water & Sewer
Not all areas of the city have municipal water and sewer services. In 2013 there's no reason why people so close to a city that is doing so well economically should be left without these services. We need to take a look and see what can be done to get people connected to the municipal system as soon as possible.
Reduce Traffic Congestion
Steps need to be taken to reduce the number of cars on our roads, and reduce traffic congestion within the city. Improving public transit is one way to get more people out of their cars, and onto the bus. Until public transit is a viable alternative people will continue to use their own vehicles to get around.
The concept of park-and-rides needs to considered for those commuting from neighbouring communities. This would greatly cut down the number of vehicles travelling into the city, and would reduce the demand for parking spaces.
In areas with heavy congestion we need to look at what can be done to alleviate the problems in that area to allow traffic to flow more efficiently.
For full platform information please visit my website at http://www.sflight.ca