FEB 2019

City Council Highlights

Here are some of the issues that were discussed at City Council and Committees in February that can impact the citizens of Saskatoon.

Extending the Parking Time Limits in Residential Neighbourhoods

City Council has asked for bylaw changes to allow for vehicles to be parked on residential streets for up to 72 hours, which is double the current time limit of 36 hours. This bylaw change has just been requested—not yet passed—so the 36-hour limit still exists in the meantime.

The 36 hour rule has been in place since 1997, and it has been brought up many times over my years on Council. However, with this rule in place, someone gone for the weekend with a vehicle on the street would technically be in violation of the bylaw, as well as with someone who chooses to cycle, walk, or take the bus to work for a couple of days in a row.

I believe that the 36-hour rule is overly restrictive for residents and that it doesn’t align with our goals of encouraging and enabling people to cycle, walk, and take Transit. However, to completely get rid of all parking restrictions there would be no mechanism to remove vehicles that have been parked for a long time or that are unlicensed or abandoned. Some degree of parking restrictions help to ensure parking supply is available by creating turnover.  As with any parking situation we have learned there are no perfect solutions and will have to monitor how effective this is. My intention is to see how it goes for the first year and if there are adjustments required we can explore that as well.

Rezoning for 17 story tower near the Broadway Bridge

City Council voted unanimously in favour or rezoning parcels of land near the Broadway Bridge in Nutana to allow for a new condo building. Prior to being approved by City Council, this proposal was also approved by the City’s administration and the Municipal Planning Commission—the citizen-driven body that looks at rezonings.

The building is 17 stories tall, with the first two floors as a wider commercial space and the rest of the floors forming a residential tower with 112 units. Renderings of the building can be found on the City’s website.

After reviewing all of the documentation, studies, and perspectives brought up at the meeting, I voted in favour of this particular development because higher density makes sense for this space. It is near other dense developments, it is along a major commercial corridor for our city, and it will add activity in the area. This building will be built on an arterial road, there is adequate existing infrastructure (water, waste water, storm water), an engineering study has shown that there will be no negative effect on the riverbank, and it will create a stronger connection between Nutana and Downtown. Additionally, the City has found that this development aligns with the principles of the Broadway 360 Plan, the City’s Plan for Growth, and the Active Transportation Plan by helping to increase density in the core. I’m not in favour of all forms of density or infill in any place and in any way, but I am supportive of sensible development that adds vibrancy and that makes sense for neighbourhood.

Sale of Bottled Water at Civic Facilities

This month a committee of Council considered the issue of a potential ban of the sale of bottled water at civic facilities. While there was no decision to directly move forward with a ban, the report from the City’s administration did highlight that many Leisure Centres, hockey rinks, golf courses, and pools do not have adequate access to water fountains and water bottle refilling stations.

The committee requested that there be minimum standards for water access in new and renovated civic facilities, and also to prioritize where some retrofits and additions can be made in order to provide greater access. People shouldn’t be forced to have to buy bottled water, so increasing access to water fountains and water bottle refilling stations is a way to help with this.

Speed Humps Pilot Project

Back in 2018, City Council approved a pilot project to install temporary speed humps on four different roadways in Saskatoon that had—on average—higher speeds. In some cases, this had a successful effect on speeds on a roadway, but in others it did not.

During the Neighbourhood Traffic Review processes that I’ve been involved with, one of the most common asks from citizens is for speed humps to slow down vehicles, especially near parks or other places with lots of activity. After lots of discussion on this matter going back years, Council decided:

That the Administration report back with criteria on where vertical calming devices could be considered, and that the Administration continue to try different vertical traffic devices under different conditions.

Although this is not a wholesale endorsement of speed humps, we don’t want to create a situation where we are unable to use them where they might be effective, especially since the City’s pilot project has shown that they can be effective in certain situations. I want the City to be adaptable to have the opportunity of using speed humps in tricky situations. The decision of Council also requests that the City’s administration drill deeper into what can make speed humps successful so that we can best move forward in traffic planning.

Upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant

Upgrades will be happening at the Water Treatment Plant, located at the intersection of Avenue H, Spadina, and 11th Street, beginning in the spring. Completing this work—including pumping and electrical upgrades—will require the closure of this intersection and a rerouting of traffic in the area.

Following this maintenance work, this intersection will be permanently closed for security upgrades at the Water Treatment Plant. Communications and work with the community has been underway for some time to help this change in traffic flow be as smooth as possible, and prior to construction the City will notify nearby residents, the community association, and adjacent businesses about the closure with flyers and a new project webpage that will provide updates on both projects impacting traffic and access to the river in that area.

For the latest information on road restrictions and construction projects currently underway, this can be viewed on the City’s interactive map.

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