The City of Edmonton recently posted their street sweeping schedule for 2011. It’s bad enough that we don’t start earlier after the last snowfall, but also many central neighborhoods including my own are not scheduled to be swept until the first or second week of June, while many far-flung suburbs are being swept this last week of April or early May. Even the downtown core is not scheduled to be swept until late May.
This city has got to straighten out its priorities. The City of Edmonton frequently treats those who have chosen to live or continue to live in its mature central neighborhoods as second-class citizens; neighborhoods which have sustained the city for half a century or more and now today bear a tax burden that essentially subsidizes infrastructure and services in new neighborhoods at the edges of the city.
While we are becoming more enlightened to how unsustainable it is to continue to push the city outward, we are also seemingly doing little to encourage people to choose to live centrally, while also doing little to reward those who already do.
While we talk about revitalizing downtown and once again making it a focal point of our city, we again miss a simple opportunity to make us believe that it can or will ever get that treatment from City Council or administration.
Giving central neighborhoods street sweeping priority is just one small thing that the City of Edmonton could do make a huge difference in perception of where its priorities lie, while also encouraging more walking and cycling in these neighborhoods as well.
City Council needs to make inner city priorities part of the culture and DNA of every department, from planning to transit to roadway maintenance, if it intends to walk the talk when it comes to building a better, more vibrant, more sustainable city.