Get priorities straight on sidewalk repairs

Windsor Road a bad choice for fixing up pedestrian walkways

Re: Cyclist miffed by conditions on Midland Road (Letters, Sept. 27)

Like the writer of this letter, one can only view with great envy the sidewalk improvements underway on bucolic Windsor Road, a quiet, treed street in south Oak Bay with an eight-foot grass verge separating the sidewalk from the road.

It raises questions about how road and sidewalk improvements are prioritized.

Ask someone in north Oak Bay and the answer will likely be that south Oak Bay is always well looked after.

How could any right-thinking analysis conclude that replacing a sidewalk on a quiet street is a higher priority than fixing the existing sidewalk disgrace on one of our busiest roads?

The north part of Henderson Road is an interurban arterial road, driven on by approximately 10,000 vehicles daily. One study rated it the least walkable in the Capital Region.

It is a corridor used by area residents, students and employees of the University of Victoria, Camosun College, Uplands school, Henderson Recreation Centre and others.  Yet sidewalks are cracked, crumbling and two feet narrower than the minimum safe width set by the Transportation Association of Canada. Two people cannot walk comfortably abreast on them.

In 1996, Oak Bay’s official community plan identified fixing the corridor as a top priority. Five years ago the municipality of Oak Bay was presented with a report that outlined the many transportation deficiencies of the busy thoroughfare.

Recently I was made aware of a disabled resident who cannot use his vital transport on the north Henderson sidewalk in some spots and must travel on the road.

So far, there has been no action taken to fix the sidewalks. Perhaps there is merit in a municipal auditor-general who will perform value-for-money audits of spending priorities and provide ratepayers with rational assessments of project prioritization and decision-making at council.

Lesley Ewing

Oak Bay