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Walking in Waterloo Region
#1
Walking in Waterloo Region

[Spokes seems to have missed this one Wink ]
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#2
I noticed that housing listings include a walkability score. Sounds like a good idea. Sadly some modern cities gave it no thought or consideration. For example the City of Mississauga has miles of houses with no commercial or retail. All the commercial and retail are in blocks off the main roads. So it's a city that forces you to drive as there is no other alternative. For a modern city I would rate it a big zero for the ability to walk anywhere.

At one time commercial, industrial and residential could all be found within walking distance. There was a shift away from this concept when the car became king. Recently it has come back to the forefront that having services within a walking distance is a good thing.
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#3
I noticed that too.

The website for Riverfront Condos also lists a walkability score as one of their selling features.  (85% for the record)
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#4
there is a link here to the regions walkability mapping (among other maps)
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#5
Time to restart the competition. The goal is to find two points which are 400 meters apart or more as the crow flies but whose walking distance is at least ten times larger and connecting to landmarks (houses, businesses, bus stops, etc). The winner is whoever can find the largest multiplier. A few ground rules: natural obstacles such as rivers are disallowed, similarly for major architectural features such as highways, train tracks, golf clubs or warehouses. All rulings by me are final. Price $25 dollar Vincenzo's certificate. Contest is open ended and submissions will be closed with due warning in this forum.
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#6
Winter brings its challenges for pedestrians. We've been lucky this year that there has not been a lot of snow, but last year was a tough year.  I noticed last year that as the winter wore on, residents adopted a sense of shoveling fatigue.  This meant that some sidewalks, particularly on residential streets whether they were in the compact downtown or further out, had spotty shovel clearing.

Poorly cleared sidewalks don't engender much winter walking.  Will we see a day in the future when the municipalities begin to clear residential sidewalks to improve walkability?
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#7
This is done in the city where I grew up, London. In honesty, the municipality sometimes did not provide great service sometimes, and after significant snowfalls it could take several days to clear sidewalks. Since "the city does it," no property owner there would dream of shoveling the sidewalk in front of his building.

I do think it will eventually be done in many of the central neighbourhoods, where people walk more frequently.

Some property owners don't understand the importance, and it is worth it to contact the municipality to complain when it is not being done in a timely and safe way.
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#8
I did the math a while back and a sidewalk can be cleaned with a bobcat at a cost of about $1-2 per house front assuming the entire block is being done, or they can be hand shoveled by home owners, in about 30 min to an hour, at a cost of $5 to $50 dollars per housefront, depending on household income.

Now, which one will city council choose? the one that is more economically efficient overall, or the one that is 2.5 to 50x more expensive so long as it is not them paying the bill?
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#9
(01-06-2015, 03:53 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: I did the math a while back and a sidewalk can be cleaned with a bobcat at a cost of about $1-2 per house front assuming the entire block is being done, or they can be hand shoveled by home owners, in about 30 min to an hour, at a cost of $5 to $50 dollars per housefront, depending on household income.

Now, which one will city council choose? the one that is more economically efficient overall, or the one that is 2.5 to 50x more expensive so long as it is not them paying the bill?

Thank you for doing the analysis. I've always felt that if politicians posed the issue as "If we could clear your sidewalk for a tax increase of $25 (or $50 or whatever) per year would you approve of the change to universal clearing?" that most taxpayers would be happy to pay such a small fee to relieve themselves of the responsibility.

Realize too that if only one property owner fails to clear their sidewalk on a particular route, a mobility-challenged person is essentially home bound. Here's one example: I haven't checked this year but in past years the ~100m section of Father David Bauer between Luther Village and WMRC that goes past a small marshy area is never plowed. Presumably this is city property. Presumably the city-operated plow that WMRC uses to clear its sidewalks could cover this section in about 2 minutes per snowfall. But it doesn't happen, despite calls to city hall. So anyone who lives in Luther Village and wants to walk the relatively short distance to Uptown can't. Or they have to cross FDB to get around the obstruction then have to negotiate two crossings at infamous Erb and Caroline.

I have some sympathy for homeowners. Even those who clear their sidewalk conscientiously need to be able to go away for a few days or more. It's almost impossible to hire someone to clear a sidewalk for such short periods. Contractors insist on yearly contracts. Neighbours can't always help nor does one want to impose on them.
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#10
The city owns and insists on putting sidewalk most places now but still won't clear them of snow like they do the streets, it's pathetic. I rent in a house downtown and the landlord doesn't live here so it's kind of unclear who should be shovelling the sidewalk... I'm thinking it should be the landlord but he only does it once in a while. I end up doing it when the mail stops coming but I guess that won't be a problem for much longer.
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#11
That would normally be a tenant responsibility, but it is something that needs to be agreed between landlord and tenant, otherwise the landlord faces the possibility of a fine.
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#12
(01-07-2015, 09:31 AM)panamaniac Wrote: That would normally be a tenant responsibility, but it is something that needs to be agreed between landlord and tenant, otherwise the landlord faces the possibility of a fine.

Ultimately it's the landlord's responsibility(*). If you're renting a house and are the sole tenant then yes it would be logical for the landlord to transfer the responsibility to the tenant and yes this needs to be negotiated up front. 

The issue gets murkier if the house has multiple tenants. But again it's the landlord's responsibility and he has to resolve this, not simply assume that one or more of the tenants will look after it. 

And of course there's no doubt that in an apartment building it's the landlord's responsibility. Who else?

(*) Consider if the property is unoccupied. Do you think the landlord could use that as an excuse when the city demands that he keep his sidewalks cleared? Wink  A similar situation exists with vacant lots. The property owner is responsible for snow clearing. This is another of my pet peeves. Usually when a property has been razed to make way for new construction and the lot is empty over a winter (or even under construction) the sidewalk remains uncleared. This situation should be unacceptable. I realize this responsibility is a pain for the owner/developer. They should have incorporated the cost of clearing into their financial planning for the project, not expect pedestrians to fend for themselves.
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#13
That's when you send an e-mail to the By-law office.
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#14
(01-07-2015, 11:08 AM)panamaniac Wrote: That's when you send an e-mail to the By-law office.

Yes. Unfortunately the snow clearing by-law is so poorly obeyed that I could devote my entire day just to photograph and e-mail proof of infractions. Why should I do that for free when the city already has people who get paid with my tax dollars to perform that function?

But yes, it's tempting. Perhaps we should all do this for a couple of weeks. Let's deluge city hall with e-mails and give the paid by-law enforcement officers something more useful to do than harass people who park in Uptown for more than two hours Wink
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#15
Last winter, I generated dozens of complaints about uncleared sidewalks. I might be conservative in my estimate. It takes a moment each; no big deal for me. What you say is important: even if forty-nine out of fifty property owners clear their sidewalks, that fiftieth person's laziness or lack of planning prevents someone from using that route, and so negates the efforts of all of his neighbours.

It should be unacceptable. It's worth telling the municipal government that we don't accept it.
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