Urbanist, designer and artist Frank Ducote took these photos of the Vancouver pedestrian pathways along the sea wall during the weekend. These pathways are the responsibility of the City of Vancouver to be accessible and safe. While the bikeways were cleared and lauded on social media, the walkways for pedestrians? Not so much. And surprisingly when Frank Ducote posted this photo on his facebook page, seven former City of Vancouver staffers responded about the lack of cleared, safe walkable sidewalks. Walkers are the most vulnerable users and they include the elderly, disabled and children. On a brilliant snowy Vancouver weekend, they want to get out and use the city too.
One former City staff walked along Seaforth Park and onto Burrard Bridge, noting that the “sidewalk was slippery with lots of pedestrians, cleared bike paths but with no cyclists. Crazy”. Well, perhaps not crazy to support both walking and cycling as active transportation modes. But if walking is the first mode that all users do on a day-to-day basis, why can’t the City do a better job at making these sidewalks safe, comfortable and secure? It is the City’s responsibility. If the City can clear bikeways, can the same attention be given to sidewalks in the public realm? While the city is looking for volunteer Snow Angels in residential areas to help folks that cannot clean their own sidewalk, can the City maintain the public pathways in their jurisdiction? Is it time to have a clear pedestrian plan and direct focused advocacy for universal walkability issues at the municipal level?
Asking for a friend.