I am writing to you about the sad state of our residential sidewalks.
While the concrete sidewalks downtown are in reasonable repair and are wide enough to accommodate a variety of activities the same cannot be said for the asphalt sidewalks in the residential areas. Most are in poor repair and are usually only located on one side of the street, if at all.
The sidewalks in residential areas are obstacle courses for those of us trying to stay fit by walking, for parents pushing strollers and baby buggies, for children learning how to ride a bicycle or skateboard and for people who commute via scooters or wheelchairs. Most people end up using the street, which can be dangerous, particularly at night.
Obstacles include grass growing like carpet over the asphalt sidewalks, unruly shrubbery and trees overhanging sidewalks and vehicles such as cars, trucks and boats parked on the sidewalk. Most grown-up cities have bylaws requiring homeowners be responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalks in front of their property i.e. clear ice in winter. This does not seem to be the case here.
My narrow street, which has a senior’s residence at one end and an elementary school around the corner, used to have a walkway until the city removed the stonewall next to it and left a pile of rubble. Now there is a steady stream of school children, seniors, dog-walkers and skateboarders sharing the street with school buses, garbage trucks, cars, taxis and bicycles.
Sidewalks are considered infrastructure in most municipalities and I would like the new council to work with city staff to improve the condition of our sidewalks. In the meantime, if you are fortunate enough to have a sidewalk in front of your house please keep it clear of grass, debris and vehicles. Your neighbours will appreciate your efforts.
Alora S. Griffin, Prince Rupert