More wasted city tax dollars

The road work of 32nd Street in Red Deer is nearing completion and without doubt, citizens would applaud the work as well done. Special mention must be made of the merge lane from 32nd Street onto Spruce Drive. Driving west past 44A Avenue, drivers can easily merge into the extreme the right lane before merging safely northward onto Spruce Drive, nice job!

The road work of 32nd Street in Red Deer is nearing completion and without doubt, citizens would applaud the work as well done.

Special mention must be made of the merge lane from 32nd Street onto Spruce Drive. Driving west past 44A Avenue, drivers can easily merge into the extreme the right lane before merging safely northward onto Spruce Drive, nice job!

But what happened to the merge lane off 32nd Street onto 40th Avenue? Was it an after thought?

Visually its construction and finished surface alignment indicates it was! Also, when exiting the merge lanes, a driver can barely navigate the sharpness of the turn. Anything over 25 or 30 km/h presents a noticeable roll to the vehicle while trying to stay in the proper right hand lane or there is tendency to exit into the left lane, which is against the law and a traffic violation. Hardly the safest choice.

Will exiting the sharp merge lane during winter driving conditions, with slippery or icy roads, be an accident just waiting to happen?

Needless to say, we all must drive according to the road conditions but does that eliminate the city responsibility in designing and constructing the roads to be as safe as possible?

Another waste of our tax that really is disturbing is amount of dollars spent to replace perfectly good sidewalks along 32nd Street from Spruce Drive all the way to 30th Avenue and perhaps south down 40th Avenue.

Having lived in Anders for the last 35 or so years, I have on numerous occasions had an opportunity to walk a good portion of those sidewalks and have never found them to be in a state of disrepair. Minor cracking and settling, yes, but no real heaving or shifting of surface levels making for an excellent walking surface, basically maintenance free.

That stretch of sidewalk was in fine shape, not in need of repair and the complete replacement was obviously very costly and completely unjustified.

Compared to 35 plus years for the previous one, how many years will the new asphalt sidewalks last? Asphalt by nature is an extremely soft product that once placed will allow roots to grow through it and on a warm day can barely hold its own weight without sagging. It can also deteriorate quickly without proper drainage and should be resealed every couple of years or so and what about all the maintenance cost … yep more taxes!

Asphalt should also be contained at the edges to prevent crumbling or breakage (already evident west of 44A Avenue) and now add mechanical snow removal equipment year after year as required in our climate, will the edges take the weight and hold up over time? Doubtful.

The only reason the existing sidewalks needed to be replaced is that the city without much regard for our hard-earned tax dollar, decided to remove them and for what reason? Sidewalks are in use moderately for about two and a half to three months a year at most, like bike lanes. And like bike lanes, replacement of sidewalks for the sake of replacement only is a staggering waste of tax dollars.

The city recently offered the public an opportunity to participate again in the online survey where 56 per cent of questions asked have nothing to do with bike lanes. Everyone with access to the Internet should take a moment and log onto the site as directed where they will discover that before asking for feedback the city provides a complete page promoting cycling in Red Deer — hardly unbiased. Do they show their impartiality by mentioning that due to weather conditions in Red Deer the cycling season is rather limited to two to two and a half months at best? Do they mention anywhere the cost of promoting and implementing bike lanes verses the benefits gained by the majority of citizens by repairing pot holes, resurfacing or improving our existing roads beyond 32nd Street? It’s not as if the other roads in the city are not wanting need of repair — they are being used 365 days a year, are they not?

While the city goes on wasting our tax dollar on unnecessary whims, maybe in next year’s budget money will be made available to improve the safety of the public sidewalks, like lowering the shut off valves that protrude a couple of inches above the sidewalk along Allsop Drive at Alton Street or Atkins Street, or would the city rather deal with claims for injury in court by someone who accidentally trips and falls over either of them?

It’s our tax dollar that’s being wasted!

M.W. Coene

Red Deer

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