There's a fun game you can play in Edmonton, called: "What's the best way to get there?"
It's easy to play, you just choose somewhere you want to go, open up Google Maps and compare getting there driving, walking, cycling or taking transit. Then take a moment to appreciate how easy, convenient, safe, and relatively cheap it is for you to drive your car to that destination.
Many Edmontonians mistakenly assume that this means the private vehicle is a cheap and convenient mode of transportation. But generally in cities, it's not inherently so. We just -- at great expense -- built the infrastructure to make it that way.
Consider some recent events, the Imagine Jasper turning lane reopened after drivers were delayed less than a minute at an intersection where there are equal numbers of people walking as vehicles making a right turn.
Or a Walterdale bridge "opening" - to vehicle traffic only. No time estimate on the multi-use trail beside it.
This is not to say that we need to wage a #WarOnCars or any other aggressive or combative approach that Lorne Gunter would have you believe is the secret plan of city council. I don't even think "cars" are the problem here, the biggest problem is a lack of understanding or empathy.
The head of the City's transportation department said it himself: often the perspective of people walking simply is not considered in Edmonton.
It's time to change that. It's time we got our top city administrators and city council out of their cars, at least occasionally. It doesn't have to be perpetual. Maybe just a week each year, we could have top officials run for a bus that's running 4 minutes early and cruising past the stop. Or duking it out on their bike in front of honking F-150s because a multi-use-path is closed with no safe detour. Let them freeze on Jasper Ave waiting -- begging even -- for the light to change and permit them to cross the road.
Our city design has an empathy problem.
And there's no better way to generate empathy for someone suffering in a pit than jumping straight in with them.
Troy Pavlek ran as an unelectable fringe candidate in the 2017 Edmonton municipal election
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Troy doesn't need any encouragement to get out on the streets. He walks exactly what he talks.
He's also on Facebook and Twitter, and will log on whenever duty calls.