Am I paranormal? Do I see opportunities where others (for eg, the City) see nothing? Are the skeptics about government right when they charge it cannot miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity?
In the three short weeks since I cycled along the Prince of Wales road running south from Dows Lake, the City has installed a new sidewalk:
This is commendably fast work. And it replaces a decrepit narrow asphalt “sidewalk” that was little more than a paved ditch bottom, easily mistaken for a paved drainage swale.
Except the new, wider, concrete sidewalk is in the same location. Note in the picture above how all the rainwater and slush and snowmelt from the road drains down, uninterrupted, to the sidewalk. And all the water runoff from the farm-fields-cum-civic-hospital-campus, drain down to the same
swale sidewalk. Only some sections on the most uphill part, closer to the traffic circle at the Farm, actually drain off the sidewalk into some hedgerow. But all the road crap also drains over the sidewalk to get to that same ditch. But then, why would anyone go for a walk when it rains, or has rained, or snowed, or melted, or was winter?
But wait, that’s not all folks ! Not only has the sidewalk been thrown into the ditch, but some of the city’s famous roller-coaster features have been installed, with a vengeance. Here is the segment at the north end, where the former entrance to the Sir John Carling building used to be, and traffic lights linger on:
That 30′ of raised sidewalk just might stay unflooded, but as for the rest of the sidewalk it’s obviously depressed.
After navigating the camel hump start to the ditch / sidewalk shared space, the concrete repeats this roller coaster design near the turning circle itself:
Off to the left of the above pic, the new concrete sidewalk joins the existing asphalt sidewalk at the circle, which itself was most curiously designed a few years ago.
So, the city did avail itself of the opportunity to repave a ditch, and call it a sidewalk. So why do I accuse the city of missing an opportunity?
Look at this map, with some major cycling pathways and MUPs shown in blue:
A number of pathways from the downtown meet in the commuter parking lot by Dows Lake. The make pleasant recreational circuits, and the Trillium route in particular is very popular with commuter cyclists. From the Dows Lake end of that path, one can continue south to Carleton U, or on to Mooney’s Bay land. And by using the rather pleasant Farm roads, can get south and west quite nicely too (Carling Avenue is best avoided by cyclists who wish to see tomorrow).
But note the missing cycling link, from Dows Lake up the hill along Prince of Wales to the turning circle, shown in red. Such a short distance, but such a valuable link. Right now cyclists use a paved shoulder cum painted cycle lane.
Why didn’t the City build their preferred model of active transportation infrastructure in this segment abutting the new hospital, ie curb, raised cycle track, sidewalk? Of course it would have cost more, and also delivered hugely more value. You know, real increased urban transportation options.
Maybe McKenna should ask for her money back?