Foot traffic must be accounted for in local snow removal efforts this year.
Meteorologists are projecting that this coming winter will be as bitter as the last. As such, it’s critical that the City of Kingston redesignate which areas are prioritized for snow removal so that sidewalks and pedestrians are taken into account.
For snow and ice removal, the City prioritizes roads based on street traffic, rather than pedestrian traffic. According to this classification, Division St., Stuart St. and University Ave. are bus routes rather than arterial roads, making them a lesser priority for removal.
Last year, housing areas surrounding the University were neglected as a result of low street traffic, despite the high volume of foot traffic. This can’t be repeated again.
A system needs to be implemented that accounts for the unique circumstances surrounding Queen’s as a public institution. Streets with a high concentration of pedestrian traffic should be lumped into a separate area of classification.
Queen’s fall 2013 enrolment was 24,582, with 85 per cent per cent of students living within a 15-minute walk to campus.
The University has done a thorough job of ensuring campus is snow- and ice-free, but that doesn’t matter if students can’t walk to campus without fear of injury. The onus is on the University to advocate for their students.
Queen’s has committed to paying the City over $100,000 annually to help cover Homecoming police costs for events in the University District. They’ve yet to express the same accountability over the area in regards to sidewalk clearances, even though ice can pose a major safety concern to students.
The AMS’s Municipal Affairs Commission (MAC) should continue to advocate for sidewalk clearance to be treated as a priority. When snow and ice do persist, students need to take advantage of Physical Plant Services’ Fix It desk to report any unaddressed areas, so that improvements can be made.
While budget constraints are understandable, funds need to be allocated for sidewalk treatment. It’s more expensive to pay for broken bones and hospital bills than it is to take preventative measures that will keep citizens safe.
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