The release of the City of Saskatoon’s draft Active Transportation Plan in the fall highlighted an important issue in Saskatoon: the lack of sidewalks on many streets. Saskatoon has historically relied on the lead developers of neighbourhoods to provide sidewalk construction.
If the sidewalks didn’t get done when the neighbourhood was first developed, the city considered the situation a fait accompli rather than a missing piece of critical transportation infrastructure. Some streets have been without sidewalks for decades, even those that are on major school and commuter routes.
The neighbourhoods with the most missing sidewalks are almost all within Circle Drive and on the east side: Buena Vista, Nutana, Exhibition, Haultain and Holliston all have large numbers of sidewalk-less streets, while King George, Riversdale and large parts of the various industrial areas have the same issues on the city’s west side. Even many of the newer areas in the city such as Stonebridge and Arbour Creek have sidewalks on one side of the street only.
Luckily, and hopefully, the stars may be aligning for some concrete action on this unfortunate situation. The final draft of the Active Transportation Plan is supposed to be in front of city council by the fall and the new federal government has promised a mutli-billion dollar ‘green infrastructure plan’. What better way to move Saskatoon towards a safer, higher-quality, lower-carbon transportation network than finally filling in the gaps in the city’s sidewalk network?