I spend several hours a day walking around the city, getting fresh air and exercise. My daily excursions take me all over the north end of the city and sometimes, into the south core. I see things, that on their own, do not look like much of a problem. However, when I see these same situations popping up time and time again, then I believe there are issues that need to be mentioned.
One thing that I have noticed is the propensity for City Departments such as Roads and Environment to completely close a section of a street to traffic. This is done, no matter what work is being done. I have seen a block of a street fully closed even though the work that was being done was on the boulevard. I have seen four lane streets closed because two lanes were excavated. I am talking about streets such as Water Street, Algoma Street and Pearl Street. These streets have a high daily traffic volumes. The complete closure of any section of these streets creates a rerouting of a large amount of traffic, that I believe, is not given any thought whatsoever in the planning phase of the work. Traffic is not given any route assistance (detours) showing how to best by-pass the closure. Drivers are on their own. Sometimes, the proposed work will require a full street closure. I believe that this situation needs to be the exception and not the rule. There must be employees available that can act as Traffic Control Persons. This will allow one lane to remain open to traffic.
City Administration must understand that their actions have consequences that affect the general public and every effort must be made to minimize this affect. Whether we are talking about the traveling public, people walking in a park or residents on a street that is under construction, people expect that their City Administration is looking out for their best interests. Presently, I do not believe that is the case.
A second thing that I have seen happening around town is abandoned construction or deferred construction. This when a contractor, or city workers, remove a section of sidewalk or a section of asphalt or dig a hole of some kind, throw up some barriers and then leave. Resident, businesses as well as the traveling public are then left to deal with this obstruction until someone in City Hall decides it is time to continue with the work. A prime example of this existed on the sidewalk between the Hoito Restaurant and Calicos Coffeehouse. In May, the flower beds in front of the Finlandia Club were removed as were the paving stone on the sidewalk. Some of the sidewalk was repaired but one section remained gravel for months. Summer is the height of the tourist season and it was the 100th anniversary of the building of the Finlandia Club building. The sidewalk was finally completed earlier this month. A scheduling problem? Maybe, but it is not reasonable to expect people to live with sand, dust and mud because of a scheduling.
The residents of the City of Thunder Bay deserve respect from all our civic Administers. I am not seeing that. The people in this city matter. If a City Manager does not agree with this fact, then maybe that person needs to go look for another job.