7 September 2012

Friday's Top Five: Things I Hate About My City (Edmonton)

Hello faithful readers readers of five! Today's weekly top-five deals with things I hate about living in Edmonton (and about the city of Edmonton generally).  I generally try to be an upbeat person about the community in which I dwell. But there are things that, quite frankly, the city of Edmonton can do to be a better city. We have world-class events that put us "on the map."  But there are things that I am embarrassed about once people actually arrive here. We have our warts, and it is time to remove them.

5) NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) Syndrome & WOOTD (Waste of Our Tax Dollars) Syndrome:  We want ourselves and children (if any) to grow up in a vibrant community where they have access to recreation, schools, and amenities. We want our homeless to have shelter. We want roads built.

But when it comes to actually build something that will help with any of the above, the battle-cries come out. Affordable housing sounds great until someone proposes building it in a neighbourhood outside of the inner-city. Roads and bus routes sound great until it goes through your neighbourhood. Attracting tourists sounds fine until a multi-million dollar art gallery is proposed. I understand that there are real issues to consider, such as property values, usage factors, cost factors, design factors and so forth. And it is always important to gather input from all concerned.

However, we need to realize that sometimes, money needs to be spent to create a nice design vs. another concrete palace on the cheap that looks drab. That we need proper infrastructure to move around, even if it means 2 months of traffic snarls or noise. That we all share the responsibility of ensuring our citizen's are housed, not just inner-city and older neighbourhoods that are stretched to capacity.

If you want to yell "not in my backyard" or "what a waste of tax dollars", then do so. But then come to the table with a solution. Remember, lack of building infrastructure now means you will have to do it later and at a higher cost (read: light rail transit construction). And city/provincial planners: be realistic with costs, needs, and urban planning.

{Edit: This argument does not apply to the downtown arena proposal. My objections have nothing to do with NIMBY. Perhaps a little bit of on WOOTD, but that's for another post}

4) We forget we live in a winter city:  Hey there city planners, did you know we get snow for 6 months, sometimes longer? Really? Are you sure? THEN WHY THE HELL DON'T YOU PLAN FOR IT?  Hey there city drivers, did you know we get snow for 6 months, sometimes longer? Really? Are you sure? THEN WHY THE HELL DON'T YOU PLAN FOR IT?

Every year it is the same damn thing: it snows. We blow our snow budget by the time November rolls around. We are lucky to have 20 snow removal machines on the roads at any given time. We don't build bus stop with shelters. Good luck seeing a removal truck in your neighbourhood until March. And salt major routes? Why do that, when sand will work (not)?

In the meantime, every driver drives like it is summer. Proper tires? Bah. Drive slower during a blizzard? Bah. Remember the difference between daytime running lights and regular headlights? Bah...who needs to be seen from behind?  Because goodness knows everyone loves to spend hours trying to get home because of you...

3) Piss poor construction planning: I live in Castledowns. I work near-ish Bonnie Doon. To get home, I have to go north. This summer, the following roads were under construction:
  • Fort Road 
  • 82nd Street
  • 97th Street
  • 127 Street
  • 127 Avenue
  • 153 Avenue
  • 167 Avenue
  • Scona Road
  • Jasper Avenue just as you come up MacDougall Hill
  • Kingsway area
When my route home is under-construction, and all the alternate routes I can take are under construction...exactly how am I supposed to get home again? I get it. Roads need to be built and repaired. I'm all over that. But when you are repairing one geographical area, can you at least give drivers of said area some alternate options?  Plan better you morons.

2) Public Transit: Given that the cost to park and drive, it is no wonder why people prefer to take public transportation in Edmonton. But unlike every other major city in Canada, our city had no vision or care for public transport in the past. And now we suffer. Oh do we suffer.

Yes, we are finally building light rail transit to areas that desperately needed. But our transit needs in the meantime suck. When my bus arrives downtown to catch my connection, during peak times, it takes 20 minutes for a bus that goes to Northgate. Then when they do come, all 4 buses at once, they are packed, and I get  to pay to stand. Could we not stagger it out a bit?  Plus, there are no direct express buses to Castledowns from Downtown, so we all herd like cattle to the already overcrowded Northgate. When all is said and done, it takes me 1.5 hours to get home by bus. It takes 20 minutes by car. This is but an example of piss-poor planning.

And when we do get on a bus, there seems to be a lack of courtesy and awareness by people. Seniors standing while some young kid sits there in their little iWorld. I stand because I wouldn't want to ask the Coach purse or Safeway bag or backpack to move. And hey there menopause lady, when it's -35, it is perfectly alright to open a window, and then argue with people who want to close it because you can't take off your 4-layered jacket. And hey bus driver, where's the fire Jeff Gordon?

1) That stank smell on the corner of 100th Street and 102 Avenue on Churchill Square: What the hell is that smell? It's like some urine-tang mixed with ass and the tears of a banged-up prostitute. It's so horrible. And at a major event area, you would think that someone, someone, would try to clean that up a bit. Maybe through a Mr. Duck down the sewer? Mr. Clean on the sidewalk? A shot of Febreeze in the air? On the positive side, I have managed to reduce my gag reflexes to two heaves.

So that my friend's is my rant on the City of Edmonton. I do love my city. I do. But the core issue in all of these is lack of proper planning. Maybe we can fix the way we plan? What say you Mayor Mandel?

I will post (possibly next week) the things I love about Edmonton. I truly do love this city. I love it more than I hate it. But I could love it more. Just sayin' is all.

Go see what my friend Joanne has to say at her blog, A Warm Cup of Jo.  And my buddy Junior, when/if he gets around to it, will blog about NYC on his blog Juice With Junior. {Edit: Joanne's husband also has a rant to so share on The Wayward Yankee}

Till next week!

And remember: comments are my she-ra sword!


Anonymous said...

"It's like some urine-tang mixed with ass and the tears of a banged-up prostitute." LOL 1000x, walked away from the computer, came back, LOL 1000x again.

"And my buddy Junior, when/if he gets around to it, will blog about NYC on his blog Juice With Junior." I love that you know me well enough to include "when/if he gets around to it". I will do it... soon.

Last note, the fact that that happens to you guys when it snows makes me wonder if the government up there knows it's in Canada.

Aurorarose said...

I honestly only have a couple of things to say about your absolutely brilliant blog entry....Amen Sister!! Definately well said, and honestly, I'm thinking we should forward this to our "Mayor"...who knows, maybe there might be some better changes...I still remember the morning he spent 4 hours stuck in traffic on a winter commute, as the asphalt truck broke down, and ran out of asphalt to finish the road, and were running behind...did he remember this incident in any of his planning for better construction?? Just sayin'!! You totally rock hun!! Keep on bloggin!!

Joanna said...

Steve and I got a kick out of your urine-tang reference as well, lol. What makes it funny is that we totally know the exact spot you're referring to, and, yes, it really does smell like that.