The Four Years We Fix Everything

Turcot Interchange, aerial perspective shortly before completion

Call this an early campaign promise.

I figure we can fix more-or-less every major infrastructure problem in our city in a single concerted effort – a four year program of various projects all set into action simultaneously and inter-dependently. In other words, the mother of all public works projects.

A program designed with maximum operational efficiency at the forefront of all planning – nothing happens unless we can do it all at the same time. Consider the near-perpetual closures of Parc Avenue and St. Lawrence Boulevard over the past few years – how many times were the streets ripped open because no one had bothered to schedule all the maintenance at the same time? How is it that public utilities can operate complex networks yet can’t call some other large utility to try work out a mutually agreeable schedule for renovations? And why doesn’t our city have an infrastructure oversight committee do ensure our city gets repaired efficiently and effectively, and then move onto instituting best-practices solutions so we don’t have a re-cap of the infrastructure problems we’ve been dealing with over the last decade. You’d figure we’d have preventative maintenance policies already in place, so it really makes you wonder how holes can develop on regularly used bridges and concrete slabs just fall off buildings or (worse) over-passes.

It’ll doubtless be a gargantuan under-taking, involving multiple engineering and construction firms (hell, maybe all of them!) working hand in hand with transit agencies, public and private utilities and government agencies. It’ll be inconvenient, in some cases, and will require short-term solutions to cope with disruptions to traffic and transit. Our roads need to be thoroughly repaired, with new measures put in place so as to minimize corrosion and increase the relative lifespan of all road types. And then we’ll have to do the same with the bridges, tunnels, railways etc. Our parks, squares and plazas need a collective sprucing up. Almost all of our Métro stations could use aesthetic improvements and a solid coat of graffiti-resistant wall-treatment; the AMT stations need break-resistant glass to cover the station displays. Bus and train shelters need to be similarly upgraded, and it wouldn’t kill anyone if we installed solar-powered space-heaters within (it might even save a homeless fellow from freezing to death, so why not?) Finally, we should put one of those First World War helmets atop King Edward VII’s head in Phillip’s Square; I’m sick and tired of the accumulated pigeon poop up there, and cleaning it off is clearly too expensive.

Okay, I’m joking about that last part. That would be historically inaccurate.

In any event – what do you think? How are we going to fix these seemingly never-ending problems?