A City Serving People
A great city is made up of a lot of things. Amenities that improve quality of life. Services you can rely on. Safe places to live, work, and play. At the core of all these is the fact that a city should serve people, so everyone living here has the chance to thrive.
The roads people travel on through our city and neighbourhoods. The facilities we use for recreation. The transit system people use to get to school and work. These all require ongoing attention and investment. But in these tight economic times, it’s crucial that we continue to improve management and accountability to give taxpayers value for their money.
Despite the tight 2021 budget, we were able to keep community pools open. The bus network redesign to be implemented in April 2021 should get more people where they’re going faster with more direct routes. The Yellowhead Trail Freeway conversion will transform the way we move through the area, including the busy corridor from St. Albert Trail to 97 Street. The City Plan adopted in December 2020 lays a foundation for a city that grows sustainably to meet the needs of a growing population.
Safety isn’t just about crime and traffic stats. It’s about feeling safe in our neighbourhoods, on our roads, in our public spaces, and even in our homes.
When we look out for our most vulnerable, everyone benefits. Permanent supportive housing units being created around the city will give people who have experienced homelessness a safe place to live and the support they need to build a better life.
An unfortunate side-effect of the pandemic has been an increase in domestic and gender-based violence. This is utterly unacceptable. Edmonton’s rates were already high—higher than most cities, which is why Council established the Gender-Based Violence Initiative to raise awareness of this issue. We all share a responsibility to speak out and help stop the violence. It’s never been more important to reach out to people and let them know they’re not alone. Help is available at 780-310-1818 (Family Violence Information Line), 211 (Alberta Information and Referrals), or 911 for emergencies.
We have made real progress with safety at transit stations and on buses and LRT. In late 2020, we introduced Transit Watch, a 24/7 service you can discreetly call or text to report suspicious activity or request help.
Traffic safety is an ongoing concern. We have addressed this important issue by establishing school zones, playground zones, and targeted improvements around schools. There is more to do. The City’s Safe Mobility Strategy is designed to open up the process through which we address traffic safety issues and projects. Working together, we can achieve Vision Zero—a city free of traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries.
City-building always comes back to people. Community leagues are driven by volunteers. Folks volunteer to coach kids’ sports teams. Local entrepreneurs spur the city’s economy and create jobs. Communities are built on connection. This past year has shown us how important that sense of connection really is. It’s the City’s job to provide people with the infrastructure and amenities they need to participate in community.
As Edmonton’s population grows, our City Plan aims to “go big” by going smaller. Every aspect of city building—land use, roads, the transit network—focuses on the idea of “15-minute communities,” in which essential services, recreation facilities, all the things that make Edmonton a great place to live, are easily accessible within a short distance. In addition to city services, small businesses are a crucial part of this plan, and we have created a number of supports to help local business get through challenging times.
If you have any concerns with issues in your neighbourhood or city-wide, please feel free to contact me.