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Seeking answers to Edmonton's crumbling trail system

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  • Seeking answers to Edmonton's crumbling trail system

    Seeking answers to Edmonton's crumbling trail system

    Edmonton’s river valley trails are deteriorating faster than the city is fixing them, even with a major budget increase and volunteer drive.
    It’s a problem that seems to effect every type of trail, from paved to gravel and especially the small, single-track nature trails that mountain bikers and seniors hiking clubs adore. Those aren’t even mapped.
    “We have more requirements than we do budget right now,” said Rhonda Norman, the city director who overseas river valley trails. She’s got $5.2 million to spend during this four-year capital budget cycle. But just one project – repairs to a flooded-out trail just south of the Fort Edmonton Footbridge – could eat a quarter of that.
    It’s leaving trail users frustrated, struggling with deep ruts, slumping embankments and extensive detours.
    Norman said the city has about 160 kilometres of maintained trail, about 100 kilometres of which are gravel. Staff travel those once a week to monitor vegetation growth and potholes. But anything narrower than 1.5 metres is deemed an unmaintained trail and only touched if it’s a safety hazard. It’s been getting worse because of several years with severe weather, she said.
    A lot of work is planned. The capital budget increased from just $1.2 million for 2012-14 to $5.2 million this four-year cycle, with work planned for Whitemud Creek, Mill Creek and in the river valley proper, she said. “With the investment we’ve seen, we’re making good progress.”
    In addition, volunteers are pitching in to help with the nature trails. The Edmonton Mountain Bike Association co-ordinates “trail days,” helping each biking club get city approval for small erosion-prevention projects on the trails they’ve taken responsibility for.
    The article includes a short list of erosion projects
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  • #2
    Finally something with good timing. We need the jobs due to the downturn and we should be able to do the repairs cheaper than had the money been spent in prior years.

    If the City can start to see tangible saving on its contracts bidding process, maybe it should consider ramping up spending to expand the system for the future. (I hope they hadn't spent to the limit during the boom times.)