Jeff Heuchert firstname.lastname@example.org
Improved pedestrian connectivity in Stratford is going to come at a cost of roughly $1.4 million over the next five years.
City engineering staff has identified a list of priority linkages – sidewalks, multi-use trials, bike lanes – to be completed, and is asking council to refer the projects to its capital budget for future implementation.
According to director of infrastructure and development services for the city, Ed Dujlovic, an average of $284,940 is needed each year to funds the projects.
His department’s intent is to coordinate the work with capital projects where possible, but otherwise the linkages will need to be funded through alternative revenue sources such as development charges, the tax levy, or through the city’s Local Improvement process that assesses affected property owners for a portion of the cost.
Dujlovic warned councillors at a recent infrastructure and development services subcommittee meeting that the new pedestrian routes would put further stress on the city’s Asset Management Plan – essentially a list of long-term infrastructure needs and associated costs.
“This doesn’t address the asset deficit, it contributes to it,” he said. “As you build more sidewalks (there are) more things that you’ve got to take care of. As soon as you build it you’ve got to start putting money away to replace it in the future.”
Additionally, Dujlovic noted the projects will impact the city’s snow removal services and budget. It will not only take longer to clear all of the sidewalks but “eventually we’re going to have to come to council saying we need another sidewalk plow.”
Some of the identified priority projects include a sidewalk for the east side of Erie Street between Crane and West Gore, a multi-use trail on Lorne Avenue from Erie to Downie, bike lanes on Romeo Street between Vivian Line 37 and McCarthy, and a sidewalk on the east side of Mornington from McCarthy to Graff.
In 2010 the city adopted a Master Transportation Plan which outlines gaps within the existing sidewalk network, and in 2013 approved a Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan which deals with future bike route and trail development.
Dujlovic noted staff reviewed those plans to ensure the appropriate solution is recommended for where a pedestrian link is missing.
Coun. Bonnie Henderson expressed some concern with the city’s policy of constructing sidewalks on only one side of local streets – those that service a low volume of traffic whether in a residential, commercial or industrial area.
“I still have a bit of an issue with that sometimes, worrying about accessibility and people getting around the city,” she said, suggested the city could look at making the sole sidewalk on local streets extra wide so that it could be used similarly to a multi-use trail.
But Coun. Kerry McManus agreed with the city’s direction, noting not only will the city pay less for sidewalk maintenance over the long-term, but that being able to have snow pushed to one side of a street, rather than picked up and dumped elsewhere, will help reduce its environmental impact.
The policy “just makes sense,” she said.