Infrastructure and road repair is a city-wide issue. Despite the city spending an ever-increasing amount on road maintenance and renewal (a record $116 million in 2018) it appears that it is never enough. The fact that these record amounts of spending are projected to continue illustrates the need for a new strategy for infrastructure construction and maintenance. This strategy must move beyond the idea that the solution is simply increasing the infrastructure budget. Of course, spending on infrastructure repair and reconstruction will always be necessary, but the city must begin looking at other ways to maintain and improve infrastructure, and reduce the burden placed on our streets.
There are several ways the city can do this:
- Prioritize the completion of the inner ring road and Perimeter Highway improvements. Through working with the provincial government, a free-flowing Perimeter Highway will encourage traffic (especially large trucks) to travel around, rather than through, the city. Similarly, completing the inner ring road will facilitate travel from point A to B by going around the city, rather than through the centre of it. This will reduce wear and tear generated by heavy traffic and prolong the lifespan of roadways.
- Continue to encourage alternatives to cars. Every cyclist and transit user is a car not on the road. Less cars not only means less wear and tear but also less congestion on major routes. As the city redevelops existing infrastructure and continues to build new roads, it must ensure that transit and active transportation are considered.
- Work with developers to ensure new neighbourhoods have infrastructure built to higher standards from the start. By making developers responsible for repairs for a longer period of time (for example 20 years instead of 10) the city will able to concentrate the money saved into other projects. in addition to encouraging developers to build less sprawling neighbourhoods
- Examine the feasibility of longer work days on major infrastructure projects. The city could also require work to be done on weekends, when there is less traffic on the road. Doing will allow projects to be completed faster, resulting in the potential for more projects to be completed faster resulting in less disruption to commuters.