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Is that a tree? Saanich sidewalk voted worst in Greater Victoria

Photo contest also saw Saanich win ‘most shameful lack of sidewalk’

Saanich has been given the dubious honour of having Greater Victoria’s worst sidewalk and area most in need of a sidewalk in the inaugural Janky June contest held by Walk On, Victoria.

Throughout June, the walkability advocacy group invited the public to post photos of unfriendly pedestrian infrastructure. That included poor or “janky” sidwalks, and streets which lack any sort of sidewalk.

A public online vote saw a section in the 4100-block of Cedar Hill Road in which a telephone pole and two large trees emerging from the middle of a paved sidewalk win jankiest sidewalk.

Capturing the honours for “most shameful lack of sidewalk” was a stretch of Cedar Hill Road just north of its intersection with Cedar Hill X Road. Side-by-side photos show a very narrow shoulder with a worn-in “desire path” worn into the gravel and dirt strip beside it. The photos do, however, also show a glimpse of a full sidewalk on the oppositie side of the road.

“Pedestrians tend to be resigned to shoddy infrastructure,” Walk On founder Sally Reid said in a release. “If a dumpster was left in the middle of the street, forcing drivers to detour into oncoming traffic, removing it would be treated as an urgent priority for the local government. But if it’s left in the middle of the sidewalk or shoulder, pedestrians are expected to just deal with it, even if it means stepping into lanes of vehicle traffic.”

Reid encouraged residents to contact their local governments to demand safe and accessible pedestrian infrastructure – raising awareness was one of the goals of the contest.

“Pedestrians are so used to being treated like second-class citizens in our car-centric society that we often forget that things can be better. Next time you see a problem, report it. Municipalities typically have an online form you can fill out,” she said. “You’ll be doing a favour to your elderly neighbour, a person using a wheelchair or a stroller, or a child walking home from school.”

READ MORE: Saanich council moves to speed action on road safety, active transportation

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