Cleaning the Sidewalk Slate and Transit Mistake #YQRcc

Dear City Clerk,
I didn’t have time before noon today to write a presentation. I hope this can be included in your agenda so I may raise these important concerns with Council on Monday.

Regarding the downtown plan that mentions a “dual street transit hub”, SaskTel should be consulted immediately. There are signs on the brick wall on Lorne St. asking vehicles to turn off their engines.

Unless there’s a plan to convert Regina Transit’s fleet to non-emitting electric or hydrogen fuel cells, it would seem to be a bad idea to have buses idling on Lorne St. This is not a problem, because it’s better to have all of the buses on 11th Ave. anyway, where there is the possibility of shelter and amenities like hot coffee a few steps away. You also won’t find a Transit user who thinks it’s a good idea to catch connecting buses on Lorne St. instead of where they presently are.

Regarding the Local Improvement Plan, I think it’s time City Council started including the repairs of public sidewalks in property taxes. Citizens of Regina expect this shared infrastructure to be paid for by taxes. The unlucky thousands with streets that have not been maintained for decades, should not get surprise $8000 invoices, then have important street repairs they already paid for on their taxes held hostage if they don’t pay up. That’s not just. It gives people the impression that they are being double billed for the repair of their streets. It could easily cause some less well off areas of the city to resent the others that can afford the repairs, since fair property assessments are not meaningfully impacting the LIP frontage price.

Saskatoon switched a long time ago to do away with their LIP. Including the price of LIP in property taxes is more fair, because people paying taxes get a better idea of what it costs to live in their city.

On a slightly related sidewalk matter, the roads and sidewalk gutters are also dirty with litter, notes an observant six year old boy who asked me to tell you to clean it up, or he will with “a garbage bag.and gloves”. I hope City Council can think of some strategies to clean up litter, so little boys don’t have to take it upon themselves to clean up our city’s mess.

Also,

To fail to protect a cemetery is a failure to protect history that the City Council excels at.

Parking Downtown Thoughts #YQRcc

http://globalnews.ca/news/1244711/new-parking-initiatives-considered-for-reginas-downtown/

Cutting down cruising for parking[PDF] will reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

http://globalnews.ca/news/1271248/transit-hub-part-of-new-downtown-bus-proposal/

Proposed Lorne St. Hub location isn’t any good. There’s no way to idle buses on Lorne St. there without negatively impacting a SaskTel data centre.

air intake

LIP Sticking Out #YQRcc

There are a few great letters to City Council on the Agenda, including one by Glenda Calcutta, and this by Alex and Jill Docking.

It is telling perhaps that most of the streets prop
osed for Local improvements also were successfully blocked by property owner petitions.

We were in favour of this work being done on Assiniboine Avenue. It was just a little over due — by about 40 years according to your own
standards.
That said, I certainly understand why many would not wish to take on thousands of dollars in debt — at an interest rate far above what would be reasonable in 2014 — when they already face a substantial increase in city property taxes already this year.
[...]
I find it interesting to note that your city documents indicate that the streets are checked every four years to determine if they are due for this work. And yet, this (1954) street was not on a list four years ago, eight years ago, 12 years ago, 16 years ago — even though it clearly was in a highly deteriorated condition for all of that time and much more.

If my property is left a mess, quite rightly the city will eventually come along and force me to clean it up. Who is going to force the city of Regina to clean up its mess?
A last anecdotal note: when we have had visitors from elsewhere at our home — one of the first comments made: ‘don’t you pay your taxes on this street’.

We pay taxes — lots of taxes — is it not about time you (The City) take some of the money paid in taxes on this street over 60 years — SIXTY YEARS — and do the work that so desperately needs to be done??

–Alex and Jill

In fact, the City isn’t budgeting for sidewalks in property taxes, so that’s a mistake that should have long ago been fixed. Saskatoon fixed their mistake.

Of course, the sidewalk benefits residents on both sides but the LIP is charging only inside owners for it – clear discrimination. Since the city assesses the LIP costs by property frontage and flankage, the neighbors (on the outside of the crescent ) with the large pie shape lots pay the least while the lone neighbor on the inside corner pays the most – more discrimination. This cost disparity is pitting neighbor against neighbor – inside vs. outside.

To give you a more tangible idea of this disparity:
(# of Residents, Average Cost)
Outside (17, $3,970)
Inside (12, $7,554)

Actual assessed cost to the inside corner owner is
$11,683.

 
Based on the Saskatchewan Provincial Government guidelines provided to municipalities regarding LIP, the city clearly has the power to make it right.
–Glenda

Searching for Sidewalks

In Regina, where the City doesn’t pay for sidewalks (see LIP, or this fun lawsuit), it’s not easy to find them in some areas. There’s no sidewalk to the Airport. There’s also no sidewalk in most of the pedestrian nightmare-ville known as Victoria Ave. East. and Quance Street.

Now that snow and ice is melting away from Regina’s sidewalks, a group of citizens is surveying the pathways to see how accessible they actually are.

On Thursday afternoon, members of the concrete and sidewalk committee, part of the Regina Citizens’ Public Transit Coalition, took to Regina’s Quance Street to document missing sidewalks.

“(The city) asked us to form a sub-committee to offer areas that need renovation,” said Terri Sleeva, chair of the coalition. “We’re just in the beginning. It’s a big job and we’re going to do something about it. Whether they listen to us or not is a different story.”

Perhaps telling of the condition of the area, wheelchair-user Sleeva waited in a vehicle while Maureen Eckstein, Erika Baron, and Jim Elliott walked eastward on Quance starting at Coleman Street – an area that doesn’t actually have a sidewalk.

There are not even parking meters in the vicinity from which valuable funds could come from people driving to the area, to rejuvenate the amenities. That would also depend on City Council assigning meter revenue to the area of the city from which it’s collected, so as to not use downtown’s meter revenue for general expenses related to sprawl.

#Transit Study Calls for Improved Shelters #YQRcc

“The City receives $605,000 per year from advertising on the buses.”
-This should be used to purchase a bus to the Airport next year, and a new bus each of the following years.

- Improved shelters that have doors and are heated in the Winter will be a great improvement. Another overlooked human element downtown includes access to water and washroom facilities. The Cornwall Centre washrooms are not very convenient for transit users, and there are no drinking fountains or even drink vending machines close to where people wait for buses.

- Temporary bus stop signs could be put up on Wascana Parkway south of Kramer Blvd. by next week, to let dozens of riders per day off hundreds of meters closer to where they want to board and disembark the #3. I made a request for this stop location many months ago, and the City never got back to me with a status report of why it’s not been completed, or inexcusably refused, so I could follow up.

I say it’s unthinkable that a stop request at that location can’t be accommodated, because there are identical stops at Wascana Parkway and 23rd Ave, and have been for decades. Two years ago during the repair of University Dr. south and Wascana Parkway, temporary stops were set up on Wascana Parkway only 50m from where I’d like to see them now.

- When will the R-Card and Leisure Card be combined? I see City Hall has added another RFID card to its main floor, why was this done to further fracture the access cards in use by the City at one time?

- When will Regina Transit sell Day Passes on the buses using the ticket printers? Ottawa had this technology in 2002. In 2002 Windows XP was 1 year old, and it’s being retired 6 days from now. Will Regina catch up before Windows 8 is put out to pasture?

- Will the TransitLive City App be given a hand warming feature for those checking their smart phones in Winter for when the next bus might come by?

- What is a “dual street transit hub” planned for Lorne St.? If it means transfers are taking place on both 11th Ave. and Lorne St. I won’t be able to see if my bus is there to transfer to it. There are only brick walls, and no services on that street

- Security should be provided from the RPS budget. An officer or two should be assigned to travel by Transit, and walk/bike downtown. Having our police mostly in cars, isolated from citizens they are intended to serve, is not creating a good working environment for them, nor does it give citizens the opportunity to positively interact with the RPS.

- Layover time for a bus needs to be where the driver can use washroom facilities, or pick up food.

- Adding smaller, less durable buses to downtown will create more transfers, and make the transit system less useful overall.

- The Province should be asked to provide whatever money it’s spending on the RQHA shuttle buses, to be used for Regina Transit buses that perform the same route, but allow citizens to help pay for the service with their fares.

- Turn Hamilton St. into a bike street like Smith St. and Lorne St., but use Saskatoon’s Better Bike Lane plan and move parking into the middle lane so bikes can be safer next to the sidewalk. Upgrade with Smart Parking Meters so this is possible.

- A new parking structure will cram more cars into downtown, increasing congestion downtown on streets at rush hour as those vehicles come and go. Is this the Mayor’s plan for congestion downtown? Really? Chad Novak endorsed the idea of more parking structures downtown at the Executive Council meeting today.

Note that 11th Ave. is an “important retail street” because it is well served by Transit, not in spite of it.
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Lawson Scandal #YQRcc

A useful summary of the problems around the Lawson Acquatic Centre, by Tammy Robert:

“I’ve got a stack of info here showing kids with no pre-existing condition & who are not elite athletes were hospitalized.”
“there’s definitely at least one serious incident on file in the #yqr mayor’s office.”
“I’m seeing that RQHR initially wouldn’t meet with parents after that advisory at the request of the club’s BofD.”

“Did #yqr police chief Hagen seriously think he could sit around and mull this over for 2 weeks & it wouldn’t get out? Really??”

“Throughout the course of 2013, significant, alarming concerns were raised by #yqr swim club (board & parents) about health, safety of kids.”
“The City of Regina, RQHR & Ministry of Health heard the concerns. Out of one side of their mouths the club’s B of D howled for a fix.”
“But on other side, there was no way anyone was shutting down the #yqr swim club. Where would future Olympians train? & All. That. Revenue.”
“With little action, parents got angry, & divisive over future of #yqr swim club. Concerns over finances compounded pressure on club B of D.”

“Why has Swim Saskatchewan refused to allow provincial meets in the facility, but hasnt stopped #yqr kids/RODSC from training there?”

UPDATE: The police officer is the brother of a Dolphins rep.