Wascana Calls Back

I took a call from Wascana’s CEO who explained their position on spending $193000 to expand the parking lot[PDF] at Candy Cane Park. Their view is more cars that already park illegally on the street will use it, and as a result kids will be safer because they won’t run out between illegally street-parked cars, presumably.

Can’t say that’s how it will work, I said “mark my words, there will still be spill-over onto the street, and more cars overall”. She had to concede at busy times, that’s how it will go. It’ll take more than my voice to end this #strandedasset project. Oh, it also increases runoff by replacing soil with pavement, reducing the water quality in Wascana Creek.

It’s 2017, and if we don’t limit air pollution quickly, our kids will have a rough go of things. Putting a dollar more into auto infrastructure before cycling and pedestrian infrastructure makes kids less safe, not more.

On the upside, Wascana is putting some trails through the arboretum near Wascana Rehab and Hillsdale St.

Also they will now consider manually clearing Broad St. Bridge which wasn’t being swept clear of snow like everything else the last two Winters. I explained that the City of Regina builds nothing for cyclists, so it’s really up to Wascana Centre to provide cycling infrastructure for Reginans.

Added two more important points:

Food Security In Regina Needs Work

Quebec is getting way ahead of the rest of Canada in an important improvement to its food bank network.

It’s an idea I want many people from Regina to share with their City Councillors.

Quebec grocery stores in province-wide program to send unused produce to food banks

It’s so big, an English newspaper noticed the news and reported on it.

And Saskatoon looks poised to leap ahead of Regina on the backyard food security front also.

ADDED:

#HousingFirst is in #Regina, but not yet Universal

With improved health and social outcomes so drastic, it’s really unethical for governments to deny Housing First to some people, while providing it to some others.

Online Budget Tool Returns

You can make a budget here. But it’s a bit pointless because they don’t let you take anything down to $0. Do I want $64.6M for policing still? No, I’d like to see what they can do with $40M, for a casual example.

Why is $42.8M the cap put on Transit? I think it should probably be $100M or more, so why is that not even an option to visualize?

 

Vehicle Allowance

Do you wonder why Regina isn’t a Transit City? It’s because of automobile subsidies like the former City Manager getting $600-$1000 a MONTH for a personal vehicle.

A $1000/year would easily cover a Regina Transit pass, and the City Manager could fill in the gaps when headed to work sites with car sharing (which happens to be conveniently parked in City Hall Parkade).

Even an exorbitant $600/month vehicle allowance can buy my well-equipped bicycle once per month. I’d have to struggle to spend $600 a month on a car, unless I went with a Tesla Model S which could easily be $900/month if leased.

Do people from Regina wonder why our city transportation system is in decline? People in charge of it don’t decide to settle here after years of sort-of maintaining it. And the people who want to live here are not being listened to by those who could fix the problems.

Transit Removes Benches At Request of Police

I open my mouth with a guess that disappointingly turned out to be completely accurate:

turning one of the busiest interections in Regina into a seat-free wasteland for customers, isn’t a smooth move.”

“What could make this decision worse is to have describe how they can’t give tickets for loitering on benches.” – Me. Why did I open my mouth? It got worse. Global learned that some anonymous officer advised Regina Transit to remove the benches there.

Walking over to the bus stop on Friday to meet with the Global News crew waiting for me there, I observed a woman standing in the mud at a stop on Victoria Avenue. This is the sort of infrastructure that defines Regina transit users’ experience in our city. One year you get the Mayor posing for a photo-op in front of a fancy new bus shelter, and the next year you get your bus stop benches taken away. You can stand while you wait in the mud and muck.

It seems the only time City Council decides to put significant money into our Transit system, it’s to stave off a Human Rights violation conviction. The all low-floor bus fleet can be attributed to such, and perhaps we’ll get improved bus stop facilities only due to the threat of more legal action. It shouldn’t be too much to ask our civil servants and elected Council to do the right and best things for us, instead of putting the screws to our most defenseless population of adults. Are we Florida or something?

Bench Removal – Sarasota, Florida

In response to complaints about gatherings of “vagrants” in public parks from downtown Sarasota FL condo residents, the city decided to remove the presumed host of these gatherings: benches. Sarasota went forward with its plan to remove the benches in Selby Five Points Park in May 2011 in order to please those who pay “the highest property tax value in the county” by discouraging the homeless (and apparently everyone else) from using the park. Combined with a panhandling ban around parking meters and a smoking ban in certain public spaces, which the City Commission originally proposed to further discourage the homeless from using parks (#8), it is all too clear that the Sarasota Commissioners are willing to go to ridiculous lengths to keep their poorest citizens out of the sight of their wealthiest.

Make enough benches for everyone to sit and gather in public. It’s time to make great public spaces with the new Federal government’s infrastructure money coming. I’m sick and tired of Regina refusing to strive to make great public spaces out of a fear that homeless people would have a comfortable place to spend time. Why is there so much pee in places we don’t want it downtown – because we don’t even offer public washrooms (outside of the Library and City Hall) downtown, yet we’ll spend $150Mil on a water treatment plant for our excessively polluted Wascana Creek.

related:

Medicine Hat Housing First makes it first city to eliminate homelessness.