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Winter Walking and Cycling
The vast majority want clear sidewalks. The vast majority also must have quietly expressed their opinions to their representatives that resulted in the decision that was made.
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(07-03-2018, 11:38 AM)creative Wrote: The vast majority want clear sidewalks. The vast majority also must have quietly expressed their opinions to their representatives that resulted in the decision that was made.

So there's zero evidence that the "vast majority" expressed any opinion.  Obviously councillors did not get 100k emails.

There is a loud, tiny minority who have loudly protested spending on this.  Councillors have lied to themselves and their constituents by claiming that the policy they're implementing is a) effective and b) fiscally conservative (it is likely to be neither, but we'll never know a for sure).

One councillor has explicitly dismissed all of the people who argued for the pilot.

So to claim this is a response to the majority has just as little evidence for it, as the policy they've adopted for snow clearing.
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If, as some suggest, this is a human rights issue, the logical course might be to forget about City Council and to direct a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Surely it wouldn't be hard to come up with a disabled person who was trapped in their home last winter due to unshovelled walkways.
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There is zero evidence that a "loud tiny minority" protested against this. People that I talk to are against the city clearing sidewalks but they are not loudly expressing this. They are also for clear sidewalks, just not the city doing the job.
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Certainly the "vast majority" of the voting population did not express an opinion of any kind to the council.

Creative, do the people you talk to want aggressive ticketing instead of paying $26/year to clear the sidewalks?
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(07-03-2018, 08:51 AM)Bob_McBob Wrote: Opinion: Kitchener’s about-face on clearing sidewalks will be election issue

I think Luisa D'Amato will be helping to keep this on the agenda, too.
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Agreed, for all the reasons stated, this should not be a direct ballot vote. If it were though, the better ballot question might be, “do you support snow clearing in the City of Kitchener?”
 
If it is “no” then we should immediately sell the snow plows and salters, and everyone, no matter their mode, can struggle this winter. If it is “yes”, then we decide how to best plow for all modes of transport in a reasonable time frame. Not plowing all sidewalks is like building an elevator that only goes half-way up a building or that only stops on every other floor. Sure it works for some, and even then it is not efficient or convenient, but for others it does not work at all. Privilege is invisible to those who have it.
 
It is just another version of the age-old argument about, “why should I pay education taxes when I don’t have kids in the system?” Whether you benefit directly (cleared sidewalks to use,  less time spent shovelling, etc.) or indirectly (lower social costs, medical costs, crime, or increased economic efficiency), in the end, whether you walked 0km or 1000km on the cleared sidewalks, you benefited.
 
I wonder if any additional efficiency in cost could be achieved if Waterloo, Cambridge, the region, and Kitchener all went for sidewalk clearing for all; they already co-ordinate plowing the regional/city roads.
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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(07-03-2018, 12:05 PM)creative Wrote: There is zero evidence that a "loud tiny minority" protested against this. People that I talk to are against the city clearing sidewalks but they are not loudly expressing this. They are also for clear sidewalks, just not the city doing the job.

It is absolutely the case that a loud tiny minority protested, just as a loud tiny minority vocally supported.  The fact is, only a tiny minority of the city is EVER involved in ANYTHING government does.

I'm not speaking to broader, support for either policy, I have no idea what the broad support says, and I doubt you do either.

Do those folks who are against the city clearing sidewalks but for clear sidewalks have realistic ways of achieving this?

City council doesn't...so I'd be happy to hear about real options.

Maybe we could do a study...oh wait, I guess not.
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For what it's worth, this was Scott Davey's response to me:


Quote:Obviously I disagree with your position but I will say I've spent a considerable amount of time researching the issue; I do not rush making decisions.  A pilot project would tell us little more than we could get from the several other municipalities that already offer this service.  They are the pilot.  Before passing judgement on my governance, I would encourage you to spend a some time researching municipalities like London, Guelph etc. that clear snow now, research how long it takes, the quality, how much more salt is used, and how much it costs.  A $760k pilot would be redundant for anyone with internet access and a telephone.  (I spoke with residents from those communities as well.)

Meanwhile what we did do is approve a proactive-bylaw approach which, if enforced strictly, has the potential to have sidewalks cleared far more quickly, and at a fraction of the cost.  And we'll only be punishing those that aren't doing their job, rather than punishing everyone with significant tax hike.  Will it work?  We don't know for sure yet, but we should at least *try* the potentially fastest-service/lowest-cost option before spending money that could be put to much better use.


I think he makes a legitimate point; there's little point in spending money researching the issue; there are plenty of municipalities we can look to for examples. I draw different conclusions from that than him, though; I've lived in municipalities which clear sidewalks, and the service was reasonably quick and sidewalks were cleared well. If it can be done elsewhere, surely it can be done in Kitchener too.

I personally think that the proactive-bylaw approach is just punting the issue down the road a few years. I don't know the ins and outs of city policy when it comes to by-law enforcement, but I think the evidence is clear that there are any number of by-laws that it is simply not worth their while to enforce. They don't need more people to ticket people parking in bike lanes or not clearing the sidewalk. Compare how rigorously Waterloo enforces the overnight parking ban, a by-law that has little effect on most residents. https://www.therecord.com/news-story/678...ot-spots-/
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(07-03-2018, 02:53 PM)jamincan Wrote: For what it's worth, this was Scott Davey's response to me:


Quote:Obviously I disagree with your position but I will say I've spent a considerable amount of time researching the issue; I do not rush making decisions.  A pilot project would tell us little more than we could get from the several other municipalities that already offer this service.  They are the pilot.  Before passing judgement on my governance, I would encourage you to spend a some time researching municipalities like London, Guelph etc. that clear snow now, research how long it takes, the quality, how much more salt is used, and how much it costs.  A $760k pilot would be redundant for anyone with internet access and a telephone.  (I spoke with residents from those communities as well.)

Meanwhile what we did do is approve a proactive-bylaw approach which, if enforced strictly, has the potential to have sidewalks cleared far more quickly, and at a fraction of the cost.  And we'll only be punishing those that aren't doing their job, rather than punishing everyone with significant tax hike.  Will it work?  We don't know for sure yet, but we should at least *try* the potentially fastest-service/lowest-cost option before spending money that could be put to much better use.


I think he makes a legitimate point; there's little point in spending money researching the issue; there are plenty of municipalities we can look to for examples. I draw different conclusions from that than him, though; I've lived in municipalities which clear sidewalks, and the service was reasonably quick and sidewalks were cleared well. If it can be done elsewhere, surely it can be done in Kitchener too.

I certainly don't disagree with this point, but there are a few things I'd add. First, never underestimate "not invented here syndrome". It seems especially aggressive (even terminal) in governments. Second, a pilot *would* allow politicians to see how people here respond. Yes, we may be the same people as those from London, but people in London are not considering transitioning from one system to another. That's unique to us, at this moment (or would have been). Third, we are limited by what data is gathered in London, i.e., when staff made the comparison, they only looked at complaints, which I don't feel the need to explain are an entirely useless point of comparison.

I will also add that I lived in London. I complained about sidewalk clearing there, because I was ignorant and lacked perspective, as I suspect the VAST majority of people in all cities do. Our sidewalk occasionally took 2 days to clear after a storm. I thought that was terrible. Of course, I now have more perspective and would adopt London's LOS in a second. Of course, I also wouldn't be opposed to improving London's LOS in some ways as well.

Quote:I personally think that the proactive-bylaw approach is just punting the issue down the road a few years. I don't know the ins and outs of city policy when it comes to by-law enforcement, but I think the evidence is clear that there are any number of by-laws that it is simply not worth their while to enforce. They don't need more people to ticket people parking in bike lanes or not clearing the sidewalk. Compare how rigorously Waterloo enforces the overnight parking ban, a by-law that has little effect on most residents. https://www.therecord.com/news-story/678...ot-spots-/

Not sure what your point here is, but a friend of mine has an interesting opinion, that federally (or provincially) a requirement should be passed that any bylaw passed by the city must come with resources, and a plan for first, enforcing that bylaw uniformly and fairly in the city, and second, a method of assessing the effectiveness of the bylaw.
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Quote:Not sure what your point here is, but a friend of mine has an interesting opinion, that federally (or provincially) a requirement should be passed that any bylaw passed by the city must come with resources, and a plan for first, enforcing that bylaw uniformly and fairly in the city, and second, a method of assessing the effectiveness of the bylaw.

I like this a lot. I have no faith in bylaw enforcement after the "no turning until pedestrians clear the intersection" bylaw was introduced a couple of years ago, and after years of seeing backyard fire bylaws largely being used by people to punish neighbours they don't like. I respect that it's hard to enforce a lot of bylaws, but that makes me question why they exist, and a policy like this would could clear a lot of crufty old stuff out of the system. 

I wish actual efficiency were meaningfully incentivized, but I can't even imagine what that sort of incentive would look like. The only metrics that seem to matter are job counts and tax rates, and efficiency doesn't meaningfully correlate to either.
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Of course, not all federal or provincial legislation is effectively enforced, either ...
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This is very true.
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They could make this a component of volunteer hours that HS students need to do before passing. Bonus points if the region paid small sums of money for it.
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(07-03-2018, 03:41 PM)robdrimmie Wrote: I have no faith in bylaw enforcement after the "no turning until pedestrians clear the intersection" bylaw was introduced a couple of years ago

I don't think I've heard of this one. And I didn't know that cities could make by-laws like that.
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