admin by Richard FitzZaland | 1 Oct 2020
Access to daily needs,Sustainable Transportation

Major streets in Sidney should be revamped to allow wider sidewalks and non-auto lanes

Right now, our streets are designed primarily for cars.  The pandemic has highlighted how inadequate many of our sidewalks are.  Many are not wide enough for two wheelchairs or scooters to pass in opposite directions.   Children who do not need to be competing with cars on the street, cannot ride on the sidewalks without running into people.  Our major streets are wide enough to reduce the size or the number of lanes dedicated to cars thus allowing a dedicated cycle lane and sidewalks wide enough to accommodate  scooters and pedestrians with room to pass each other.  On some streets, on street parking space could be better managed.

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Hi Eric,  I agree.   I assume we need to be careful on the main commercial streets.  I am not sure what went wrong with Grandville street in Vancouver, for example, but removing cars many years ago killed the retail businesses on those blocks, with disastrous affects on the whole neighborhood.  Although, a modified approach in recent years appears to be working now.  But I have the impression that car access to retail is important.  Again, something that requires careful design, and integration with other aspects of planning such as public transit.  But many retail streets in Europe do very well with limited car access and good quality off street parking and public transit.

Eric T on 22nd Jan 2021

    This is such a great idea.  From the idea of public finances, the costs to install concrete sidewalk at a different grade than the road way I am told are in the $400/meter range, so perhaps it is a better idea to simply designate many streets as no car streets or where cars are guests. The city of Oakland California designated 74 miles of streets to be slow streets in the spring of 2020 and is either set or has already designated those to be permanent.    Streets ( the platforms upon which a communities wealth is built)  are public places and should be used in as productive a way as possible. I am convinced that storing cars is not the best use of our street network.  This is why I would encourage some streets to be no car streets with off street parking as the only means of storing cars.  So cars would still be able to use the street to access off street spaces, but not be permitted to store cars on the  street.  This should also be combined with eliminating parking requirements for cars at all buildings under 1500 sq meters.       The economic advantage to this is that it creates a market for off street car parking spaces instead of the municipality undercutting the private market for off street spaces by providing on street areas. This has been the approach of Japan and it works well there. it also lowers the maintenance costs for the municipality, since vehicles will not destroy the road as quickly.                        


Hi Cory, to be honest, I do not have a firm vision for Sidney on this, although I have seen this done in a variety of ways in other communities.  I understand the competing needs for limited space.  I feel like some open conversation could generate new and creative ideas that might address the current issues here in Sidney.  I find that when the conversation gets down to an tension between two options, that can become a barrier, or it can become a creative space.  I understand the virtues of on-street parking, but I think we should be able to find a better balance to accommodate pedestrian, wheelchair, scooter, and cyclist needs better than we do now.  Maybe a two way street becomes a single lane one way street.  Maybe…?  Traffic engineering is definitely not my specialty.  Obviously, use of the right of way space needs to be considered in the context of other things being done (off street parking, public transit, etc.)  But I daily witness the challenges that non-motor-vehicle traffic face (frequently from each other) and I believe it impacts accessibility to businesses, services, and recreation.   I would be happy to join an open conversation on this.

Hi Richard, interesting idea. Do you mean something like a multi-use path that would allow all non-vehicle traffic?  Or more separation between bikes and pedestrians?  Scooters and mobility aids are also big considerations.   Also, what would you prioritize – on-street parking or a multi-use path?  Quite often because right-of-way space is limited, trade-offs need to be made and the space available can’t accommodate everything.

Eric T on 8th Oct 2020

Absolutely !