Missing links letter for residents


In the upcoming budget adjustment discussions, I urge you not to cut funding for active-transportation projects, and, in particular, to carry through with the Urban Planning Committee’s June 2019 recommendation to spend $10 million to fill in missing sidewalk connections.

Sidewalks are one of the most essential pieces of low-carbon infrastructure a city needs and should invest in. Sidewalks are the entry point to experiencing any city, and make up some portion of most urban trips. In fact, in an urban environment, I believe safe, accessible walking routes are a human right.

But our city sidewalk networks, currently, are plagued by missing links–often small stretches that make continuous pedestrian routes challenging, inaccessible, and even unsafe. 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 that 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.

I know you need to cut things from the budget. But don’t cut this. The price tag for fixing these missing sidewalk connections is relatively small and the benefit is big, especially for some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable citizens, for whom walking is the only option for getting around.

Fixing the missing sidewalk connections is a low-cost, high-benefit proposition that show Edmontonians that the city cares about local connections and is taking action to build a more sustainable, low-carbon city.