City Hall E-News: Jan 30th, with Question of the Week

We're starting out this week's City Hall E-News with a new segment, "Question of the week" - Just hit reply and tell me your thoughts...

Jan 23rd: Question of the Week: Recently the City of Edmonton enacted a parking ban to assist with the neighbourhood snow removal.

Did you sign up for text/email notifications in advance from the City of Edmonton, and if not, why? I'm curious! 

How could this communication be better integrated? Hit reply, and let me know your thoughts!

City Hall E-News January 30th, 2023

  • TAKE ACTION: Edmonton Actions on Downtown and Transit Safety from Mayor Sohi
  • NEWS: SAFER STREETS: We're receiving new Safe Crossings in Ward papastew! 

  • VIDEOS: CLEANER, GREENER COMMUNITIES—AND LESS TRAFFIC! 

  • FOUR CITY OF EDMONTON SURVEYS: Changing neighbourhoods to meet changing needs:

  • RSVP for upcoming events

  • CITY PROVOCATIONS from around the internet

TAKE ACTION: Edmonton Actions on Downtown and Transit Safety from Mayor Sohi. Over the weekend, Premier Danielle Smith and UCP Minister Mike Ellis were trying to stir up a fuss, ignoring the fact that most of what we consider disorder/crime is a direct result of provincial failures in mental health, addiction, and homelessness. Here was Mayor Sohi's eminently diplomatic response... https://medium.com/mayorsohi/edmontons-actions-on-downtown-and-transit-safety-d86309fc2ebf

For instance, Mayor Sohi highlights that this City Council has not cut any funding to the police and is providing an additional ~$34 Million from the tax levy to fund the Edmonton Police Service... he also talks about our investments as a city in crisis diversion (Reach 24/7 Crisis Response), community supports, and strengthening protective factors which we know ultimately reduce crime and heal broken communities.

To highlight the urgency, I strongly suggest reading this article from CBC which highlights the toll of the violence downtown -- but highlights that those most likely to be victims of crime or violence are the most vulnerable. As someone challenged me: I may feel uncomfortable, but I may not be unsafe"While few details are known about the six people who died, the locations and circumstances suggest at least some of them were living in poverty before their deaths." https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/6-deaths-4-months-central-edmonton-violence-prompts-concern-for-vulnerable-1.6721561


NEWS: SAFER STREETS: We're receiving new Safe Crossings in Ward papastew!

Approximately 400 projects across Edmonton have now been confirmed for 2023 to 2026! The locations can be explored, along with previous projects, through the Safe Crossings Dashboard: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/city.of.edmonton/viz/SafeCrossingsDashboard/2023PlannedProjects?fbclid=IwAR2mvj4-LDed0x2A1cDEaqy0i-L8t50R0RGbL32oELIoogXMZhATg70x7h4

The tool used for each crossing upgrade is carefully selected to improve as many crossings as possible each year. Learn about different types of safety measures used as part of the Safe Crossings Program at http://edmonton.ca/SafeCrossings

The Safe Crossings Program is expanding to further the City’s commitment to Vision Zero by making Edmonton’s streets safer and more livable. Approximately 400 crossings are planned for safety upgrades by the end of 2026, with 100 of these projects confirmed for 2023. Crossing locations are carefully considered for upgrade based on community needs and feedback, equitable safety, future growth and existing infrastructure. Each crossing location is unique, as is the upgrade type determined to increase safety and livability. Upgrades include: 

  • Raised crosswalks to reduce vehicle speeds and enable drivers to be more aware of people crossing the street.
  • Adaptable curb extensions to shorten crossing distances and encourage safe speeds.
  • Two stage crossings provide pedestrians a space to rest as they cross the street and shorten crossing distances.
  • Rapid flashing beacons, pedestrian signals, overhead amber flashers and full traffic signals, all of which increase visibility and encourage slower speeds. 

Explore the Safe Crossings Dashboard to see completed and planned projects, including if there is one near you. Learn more about the many other programs making Edmonton’s streets safer and more livable at edmonton.ca/VisionZero.


VIDEOS: CLEANER, GREENER COMMUNITIES—AND LESS TRAFFIC! 

When people can’t find homes in their budget near the places they work, learn, or socialize, they have to search farther and farther out of town, meaning longer, more exhaust-spewing commutes and higher infrastructure costs. 

Here's a few videos from the City of Edmonton about the proposed Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLZg5oJqx2A

The City Plan: https://youtu.be/3cwloG-azsE

Districts and 15-Minute Communities: https://youtu.be/EwJ33P3o6cc

Tools: Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative: https://youtu.be/VbEsgvYfGvc

Listen to Making Space - the City of Edmonton’s first podcast: https://transforming.edmonton.ca/maki...

To learn more, visit http://edmonton.ca/citybuilding


FOUR CITY OF EDMONTON SURVEYS: Changing neighbourhoods to meet changing needs:

  • Problem Properties Survey. The City wants to understand the perceptions and attitudes of Edmontonians towards problem properties and their awareness of the resources available to address them. Share your feedback online until January 31 at edmonton.ca/surveys.
  • 104 Street Rehabilitation. 104 Street from Saskatchewan Drive to 82 (Whyte) Avenue is being rehabilitated. Share your feedback on design options that will make the street more accessible by completing the online survey until February 6 at edmonton.ca/104StreetSaskDrive.
  • Nighttime Economy Survey. The public is invited to share their thoughts on how they participate in and experience the city’s nighttime economy. Share your feedback online until January 29 at edmonton.ca/surveys.
  • Property Assessment Satisfaction Survey. Property owners are invited to share their thoughts and opinions on the services and information they received from the City about property assessment. Complete the online survey by March 24 at edmonton.ca/surveys.

RSVP: Community Conversation: Love In The Time of Fentanyl

In partnership with Metro Cinema and Lost Time media, I'm excited to announce our follow-up screening and public education event, "Love in the Time of Fentanyl" (Thursday, February 16th). This event will include an naloxone training, harm-reduction reception, film screening, and presentations from medical and public health experts.

RSVP: www.michaeljanz.ca/LITTOF


RSVP: Community Conversation: Transit Camp 2023

Building People Power for Better Transit: A Community Summit on safer, more frequent and better public transit.

RSVP: www.michaeljanz.ca/transitcamp2023

Public transit is a critical component of transportation mode shift and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set out in The City Plan. The City Plan envisions a vibrant and prosperous city with an integrated transportation network, providing residents with convenient and equitable options. A robust transit system is foundational, including an evolved mass transit network that supports mobility and connects all areas of the city. There have been major changes over the past year to public transit. As a city, are we on track to meet our City Plan goals?

You are invited to be a part of an invite-only community conversation about advocating for better public transit in Edmonton. You will be joining employers, business leaders, academics, community advocates, seniors, parents, students, and a cross-section of the Edmonton Community. We expect that these learnings will be an opportunity to learn, connect, and advocate with other public transit users, and be an ambassador and advocate in your community, your workplace, and around your kitchen table. Our goal is to get organized and build a transit movement for all riders!


EVENT: The Solar Show - February 6 to 10 - Online -The Solar Show is Solar Alberta’s five-day, annual online trade show and conference. There will be wide variety of sessions, whether you're interested in learning more about solar or are part of the solar industry https://solaralberta.ca/solar-show/2023-solar-show/

EVENT: U of A Parkland Institute’s 16th annual Gala Dinner and Silent Auction will take place on February 23 at the Chateau Lacombe.  The gala is our only fundraiser every year, and we rely on the money raised to support our ongoing work of researching and publishing public interest based policy alternatives, and progressive public programming.  The gala is also always a fun opportunity to connect with progressive academics, labour leaders, and activists from around the province. I am hoping you will be able to join us for this year’s gala. All details available on our website at https://www.parklandinstitute.ca/gala2023


City Provocations from Around the Internet: 

READ: More than 1400 drug poisoning deaths last year in Alberta. Six people a day are dying in British Columbia. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/more-than-1-400-drug-poisoning-deaths-recorded-in-alberta-last-year-1.6722057

READ: Reducing Car dependency is good for our collective health. The troubling link between fossil fuels and breast cancer? https://www.bcaction.org/the-root-causes-of-breast-cancer/our-fossil-fuel-work/why-we-must-stop-fossil-fuels/

READ: Whenever we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, we should. A new study related to the carbon footprint of Pesticides and the fossil fuel industry https://www.desmog.com/2023/01/17/pesticides-vicious-cycle-climate-change-panna/

READ: Edmonton Luxury Home Market Remains Strong: Edmonton may not be known for its luxury real estate market, but recent statistics from 2022’s year-end show it’s faring better than other major markets. Sales over $1 million in the Greater Edmonton Area were down about four per cent with 263 sales in 2022 versus 274 in 2021, Realtors Association of Edmonton statistics show. https://edmontonjournal.com/life/homes/edmonton-luxury-real-estate-market-remains-strong

READ: Landlords raising rents by constructing supply?: Have you ever heard about "warehousing" - where landlords keep unrented apartments off the market to create artificial scarcity? "Building owners have always done this, especially in new constructions with lots of virgin inventory, because why give renters the upper hand if they don’t have to? But they really started doing it during the pandemic. On a 2022 episode of the real-estate-industry podcast Talking Manhattan, Gary Malin, COO of the Corcoran Group, made a surprising claim: ‘At one point during the downturn, the vacancy rate in the city was close to 25 percent,’ he said. ‘You had owners who were sitting on hundreds if not thousands of empty apartments.’” Curbed: https://archive.is/cA83Z 

READ: The pro's and con's of Parking Minimums: But the growing backlash against entrenched parking minimums is providing a sense of vindication for long-time advocates such as Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at University of California who write a seminal 2005 book on how free parking is destroying the fabric of urban life by deterring developers from building large blocks of affordable homes while also encouraging snarls of traffic. “What’s finally sunk in with many people is that we have parking minimums and yet housing maximums, which means we have too many cars and too little housing. We have things the wrong way around,” said Shoup. “Why should people pay high prices for housing but cars pay nothing for some of the most valuable land on Earth? Do you think McDonalds would build a lot three times as large as its restaurant if it wasn’t forced to? https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/26/us-cities-parking-lots-climate-walkability

READ: Transitioning Gas Lines to Geothermal. Buildings are one of the top greenhouse-gas-emitting sectors, in part due to their reliance on gas for heating, cooking, water heating, and other uses. Almost every home is connected to the gas system. Meanwhile, gas utilities have no realistic decarbonization plan and are spending millions to prop up gas and prolong the lifespan of gas infrastructure. “GeoNetworks,” neighborhood-wide networks of ground source heat pumps, are a promising idea to transition homes away from gas while offering gas utilities a credible climate strategy. Gas utilities in Massachusetts and New York are already piloting GeoNetworks. https://www.sightline.org/2023/01/11/is-there-a-future-for-gas-utilities-it-could-be-heating-and-cooling-your-home-from-the-ground/

LISTEN: Edmonton Global "Economic Development Matters" podcast. A former councillor observed to me that Economic Development is a bit of a chimera. Failure is an orphan success has a hundred fathers? So what can we take credit for? Here's a year-end interview with Edmonton Global CEO Malcolm Bruce: LINK 

READ: Cannabis tourism? The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association, NAIT, Explore Edmonton and a number of cannabis retailers attended the roundtable, hosted by Ward papastew Coun. Michael Janz. Dan St. Pierre, Explore Edmonton's director of strategic communications and partnerships, said there's still a lot of work to be done on policy and regulatory frameworks, "With that said, as a city and a tourist destination, we need to be thinking differently and looking at all options to attract visitors and expand economic development in our city," St. Pierre said in an email to CBC News last week. "We need to be forward-thinking and open-minded." https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-city-council-cannabis-tourism-1.6721878

READ: Car Idling: Should you warm up your car before driving? How much time is where mechanics diverge on the subject, but around 30 seconds is the general consensus for modern engines. On extremely cold days you may need about a minute, but no more. Why a few mechanics told me this process takes five to 10 minutes, I do not know. What I can say is if you idle much longer than 30-60 seconds, you're just wasting gas and money. For every two minutes you spend idling, you lose one mile in gas mileage, which, depending on car type and fuel prices, can cost anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars a year on wasted gas. Idling also doesn't properly charge the car battery, and can shorten battery life. Moreover, it contaminates your motor oil, the Oak Ridge report pointed out, leading to more oil changes than you'd otherwise need. And last but not least, you're unnecessarily polluting the environment. "You have more emissions when the engine is idling rather than when it's driving," which is worse for the environment and why over half of US states have laws against idling, said Bassem Ramadan, department head and professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering Universityhttps://www.businessinsider.in/science/news/should-you-warm-your-car-up-in-the-winter-before-driving-i-spoke-with-more-than-30-mechanics-and-couldnt-get-a-straight-answer-/amp_articleshow/97422203.cms

 

Latest posts

May 8th City Hall News

EVENTS

  • Monday May 13th - Summer streets opening party!

  • Wednesday May 15th - Minding the Gap: Police Accountability in Alberta 

  • Saturday May 25th - Harbinger showcase and live podcast recording

  • Youth Council Recruitment!

 

NEWS

  • We Won! Protecting the public interest - public funds for public buildings

  • Ending Pay to play and bill 20: Halt big corporate money taking over City hall!

  • Naming Rights: What’s in a name? Stop the corporate rebrand of public facilities

  • The High Cost of Free Street Parking

May 2nd City Hall News

Events:

  • May 11th - Alberta Bike Swap
  • May 13th - Summer Streets launch party
  • Big Bin Events This Summer! 
  • Fire Hall open houses
  • May 25th - Harbinger Media Network Showcase
  • July 1st - Mill Creek Pool reopening

News & Views

  • Bill 20 is a disaster. Take action
  • Housing Crisis: What is the role of the University of Alberta?
  • What I'm hearing on the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy...
  • Understanding property tax increases
  • The Edmonton Police Commission is refusing to share its plans for auditing the local police department with city council. Councilor Keren Tang put forward a motion in December last year to have a look at the plan, which council approved. But now the EPC says it “owns the audit function” and does not “support sharing that responsibility with council.” 

  • Don't fall for privatization: Chicago doesn't own their own streets (Video)

Challenging the U of A: Leading with purpose in housing and land use planning

City Council recently approved a rezoning across the street from the U of A and it got me thinking about all the underutilized or unused space on the U of A main campus.

The expression I often hear at city hall is “highest and best use of city land” – in other words, land that brings benefit to the community (eg, a park or public space) or land that generates revenue for the city to offset taxes and pay for services (Industrial, commercial, residential in that order) 

But what if the University of Alberta could generate revenue and mitigate the housing and climate crisis? The university already has the vehicle: the U of A Properties Trust, an arms length development corporation that pays dividends back into the U of A through innovative developments and land leases.

Email:
Address: 1 Sir Winston Churchill Sq, 2nd Floor, Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7