TREPA has sent the following position statement to the Yarmouth Town Council. The position is based on material that the town and TREPA, represented by Margrit Robinson, gained at a recent conference on storm water management in Digby.
Sidewalks, Curbs and Fresh Air
Budget time is here and TREPA would like to suggest a shift in expenditure in regards to sidewalks, curbs and cleaner air. To get more people to leave their cars at home and walk has many benefits (their own health, cleaner air and even commercial ones). To build more sidewalks is a prominent part in the Town’s Active Transportation Plan.
It is good to see that the sidewalk on Starrs Road is being extended (and trees planted). We also noted a new sidewalk on Forest Street, down from the new school. Will this connect into the Broad Brook Green Way eventually?
Unfortunately there are numerous streets in Town with no sidewalk at all. Parents drive their children everywhere because they say it is not safe to let them walk when there is no sidewalk.
We have also noticed that in the past few years a lot of streets with permeable sides have been fitted with curbs. Replacing permeable areas with curbs is nowadays not best practices. Curbs collect stormwater which runs into stormdrains which, in Town, mostly run into the sewer system, the rest, untreated, into the harbour or Broad Brook The Town is fortunate that the waste water treatment plant’s capacity can manage the flow most of the time. Extra flow with more curbs, and more extreme weather events coming our way, will put strain on the piping systems (apparently in need of repairs) and eventually overload the treatment plant. Permeable sides of streets slow down any flow, strain and clean the water and renew the groundwater.
Therefore we suggest that the Town shift the budget from building curbs to building sidewalks, with permeable surfaces bordering the paved street, on all streets in Town that do not have a sidewalk at all.
We will have a healthier, cleaner, greener Town!