As you travel through Ward 10, you might notice a difference in how the neighbourhoods are laid out. Some homes in neighbourhoods that were built after 1980 have front garages. But most were built before that, these homes back onto many of Edmonton’s more worn out alleys.
Despite the fact that we have around 1000 km of alleys in the City, we don’t currently have a dedicated renewal or repair program for them. But after today we are getting closer to having one. We patch and repair on a complaint basis, but since alleys are considered the lowest priority roadway, the repairs can take a long time in coming. Most of the alleys that we are patching have also served long beyond their intended lifespan. The majority of Edmonton’s alleys are 30-40 years old - putting patches on those alleys is merely a bandaid solution to a larger problem.
Today we were presented with some options to develop a more comprehensive repair plan. We will look at a program that would see all of the City’s alleys redone within the next 30 years, starting in 2019. The program would cost $18 million per year, with an average of 28 km of alleys redone each year. Committee also asked for a modified strategy to consider doing more lanes in less time.
We have options to choose between to fund this program and the balance of how much the city pays versus how much might be paid by the residences abutting the alleys will surely create some good debate. But since these are public routes used and worn heavily by garbage trucks I lean toward the full amount being covered by the general tax levy.
We need to treat alleys as important municipal assets and take expeditious action to significantly improve their condition. We should be able to take pride in the quality of these spaces, the same way we take pride from the beauty of our front streets.
And in other news Transportation committee today supported the replacement bike path along 43rd Avenue connecting 119th street to 106 street. Thanks to everyone in the surrounding neighbourhoods who participated in the variety of conversations and consultations that I and the city administration held about this issue in the past couple of years. You can read the report with the 43rd Avenue recommendation here. Updates on a construction schedule will be forthcoming.