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May 26, 2022
February 13, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: February 13, 2017

What's been making news in our city

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Edmonton Transit Service isn’t getting glowing reviews from people who ride its buses and train. Less than half of people surveyed recommend taking ETS. So, among other changes coming to our city’s public transit system, accountability to people riding is at the top of the list. That should include more public posting of how many bus routes are driving on time.

There’s also a recommendation at today’s Community and Public Services Committee to have more involvement of people with disabilities in driver training, which is a great idea.

The mayor is asking federal and provincial governments to put in more of the money to build our LRT system. Don Iveson, rightly, points out that the City collects the least amount of a tax dollar, yet has been asked to put in one-third of the cost of this type of major infrastructure, to say nothing of the ongoing costs which will all fall to the City. Cities and municipalities need a better deal than this from the higher levels of government (and they need different funding abilities, but that’s for another day…) since a more equal funding split could be a huge benefit for major infrastructure projects.

LRT construction is going to mean one of downtown’s most iconic items is disappearing. The Harbin Gate is going to be taken apart and put into storage as work gets underway for the new train line across the river valley and south to Mill Woods. Let’s hope it returns and doesn’t just sit in a warehouse (or end up at Fort Edmonton Park, where so much of our history gets relegated). Edmonton’s current Chinatown is mostly north of where the gate currently stands, so there’s plenty of spots that it could prominently sit.

Sticking with transportation for a moment, have you ever walked? According to a new story from the Edmonton Journal/Sun this may make you part of a “pedestrian subculture“. You’re such a rebel.

Ridiculous labels of people who walk, and don’t want to wait for minutes to cross every street, aside, the story about timing lights and street crossings to better accommodate people walking does have some good information in it, and a good look at how difficult it can be to have transportation engineers and planners think about more than people driving.

The City has three policies (three!) that call for improving this but the struggle is real. This is very important change, however, if we want to make our most active neighbourhoods – like downtown, Old Strathcona, Oliver, Alberta Avenue, etc. – safer for everyone living and working in them.

It’s encouraging to see 40 women were out at the Campaign School for Women this weekend. We need more women running for city council and school boards here in Edmonton.

If this is something that interests you, get in touch with the YegParity group about what your next steps could be.

Edmonton’s unemployment rate went up to end 2016. That’s usually the headline and the whole story, but the City’s chief economist is putting a positive spin on the numbers, saying more people are actually looking for work, which means even the bad numbers go up. It’s an interesting take on what’s usually a negative story, and a good reminder that these kinds of monthly stat stories don’t tend to capture the bigger picture of what’s going on locally.

There’s a little bit of Trump-related news coming to Edmonton. The rock band 3 Doors Down – one of the few that would actually play the new U.S. president’s inauguration celebration – is coming to Edmonton as part of a Canadian tour. They’ll be playing the River Cree Resort & Casino. This story from Metro Edmonton has moments from the guitarist where it seems the band members know people think they did something wrong but not why people would be upset.

If any members of the band happen to read this, the reason would be that you supported a racist, sexist man who is surrounding himself with greedy sycophants and xenophobes (and, by most accounts, doesn’t seem to know what to do).

Let’s round things out with a few stories I noticed in the last few days.

There’s new training for Indigenous women to work on the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Taproot Edmonton’s latest story looks at Indigenous names on Edmonton places and things – we could use more of this, no matter how difficult white privileged people find pronunciation.

Here’s a nice story on a project to provide photos for refugees, who often don’t have more than a passport photo once they finally get to Canada. (There’s also a documentary.)

Stay in Edmonton. No, really, stay here. If you’re in music, or into the local music scene, Edmonton’s favourite local hero, Craig Martell, is pushing to do more of everything music-related here to grow our already active and vibrant music scenes.

At city hall: Community and Public Services Committee, at 9:30am. You can watch or listen live to this meeting today.