By: Giselle General
(Edmonton) – Traveling along 87 Avenue on the west end is a frequent activity for me, from Empanada Convenience Store on 149 Street to the Meadowlark Professional Building, where the Jewish Family Services Centre is located on 159 Street. I navigate these areas mostly by walking and sometimes by bus. Another regular route is along 156 Street or 159 Street to head home to my neighbourhood of Rio Terrace. Observing the activity along this road is a perfect opportunity to observe how people get around using different modes of transportation.
The narrative of “war on cars,” “war on cyclists” and “war on pedestrians” I hear from different people is very concerning to me, because at the end of the day, we are all people who simply want to get from our origin to our destination in a way that is safe, efficient, and convenient. Three important components that help make transportation safe, efficient, and convenient for everyone are snow clearing, public transit, and infrastructure. For infrastructure this includes main roads, side streets, sidewalks, ramps, crosswalks, lights and sings and back alleys.
These aspects of transportation are under the responsibility of the municipal government. Since I am passionate about these issues, I felt inspired to run for Edmonton City Councillor for this upcoming election. I am what the city describes as a “captive transit user”, someone who needs to take transit, or walk if feasible, to get around because of not being able to drive.
While the city government is responsible for maintaining and expanding these services, there are a few things that everyday residents can do in the meantime:
Using the Edmonton 311 app. There are many issues you can report using the 311 app related to transportation, from late buses, potholes and cracked paths, even snow buildup in the middle of the road that is dangerous for drivers and pedestrians. The best part is you can take a photo. If the issue is not resolved, take the reference number, and send a message to your current elected representative.
Diligent snow clearing in our private properties. Pedestrians like me are in a precarious situation during winter when sidewalks from buildings and houses are not properly cleared of snow.
Try other modes of transportation you typically would not use. The on-demand bus system that is implemented in some neighbourhoods is a two-year pilot project, and feedback from as many users will help determine whether the service should be kept, adjusted, or eliminated. Since I cannot drive, I needed to learn how to use it, and it works well most of the time. It is free to use, and you only need to pay for bus fare (or show your bus pass) once you transfer to a regular ETS bus or LRT
Ensuring that everyone gets around safely through walking, rolling with their wheelchair or bike, driving or taking the bus is something we ought to pay attention to on a regular basis.
Giselle General is a Candidate for Edmonton City Councillor, ward sipiwiyiniwak This message was paid by the Giselle General Campaign.