Fees could shorten sidewalk closures during construction projects, report finds
On-street construction permits jumped from 6,800 in 2013 to 10,000 in 2016
The City of Edmonton is pondering ways to speed up construction projects to make it easier and safer for people to get around — on foot, by bicycle and in their vehicles.
The city has been in a construction boom for the past few years and with it, there has been an increase in sidewalks being blocked by building projects.
Complaints about obstructed sidewalks and roadways increased from 566 in 2014 to 648 in 2016.
A city report released Thursday also shows the number of warnings issued for obstructions jumped from 374 to 535 in the same time period.
One option to alleviate the clutter is for the city to charge companies a fee for on-street construction permits, something it currently does not do.
"We feel that this would create that monetary incentive for contractors to be more efficient in terms of the time and the space that they're using out on the roadways," Darryl Mullen, the city's acting director of traffic operations, said in an interview.
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The City of Calgary charges a general "street use permit" of $17.50 a day that covers construction, moving and filming. Calgary also charges $160 for traffic-control setups.
Also in Edmonton's report is a suggestion for the city to impose a "traffic accommodation plan" fee, the design that lets people know when and for how long a lane will be closed.
"Perhaps the contractors would do more of that work themselves and that would allow us to have more eyes on the street and spend more time out on the field doing inspections," Mullen said.
Requests for temporary traffic control permits jumped from 6,800 in 2013 to 10,000 in 2016.
Council and staff are scheduled to review the report and its options at a community services committee meeting on Monday.