Holes cut in new sidewalks frustrate taxpayers
It seems like every time a new sidewalk is built, someone comes along and carves a hole in it.
With so many of the wires and pipes for utilities buried beneath the ground, there’s an ongoing need to access them for maintenance and repairs.
But the point of access is almost always through a road or sidewalk, even if it the cement or asphalt has barely hardened, which is often the case.
One of the most frequent complaints I get is about utility cuts. And when it’s a hole in a new road or sidewalk, it makes people wonder why the digging wasn't done sooner.
A reader told us via SeeClickFix that new sidewalks were built last fall in Riverdale, south of Danforth Ave., after natural gas lines in the area were replaced.
“Two months after the sidewalks were completed, city contractors are now in the process of digging up many of the same walkways,” to replace water shutoff valves, said the reader, who asked not to be named.
“How pervasive is this? Between Danforth and Withrow Ave., counting only the west-side sidewalk on Pape Ave., the city has already - or shortly will be – cutting the sidewalk at 41 different Pape addresses.
“This is a management/organizational issue of great magnitude. Each of the homes and businesses will have their new sidewalks dug up at least once. At our Pape address alone, the new sidewalk has already been cut three times.
“Someone in authority needs to ask why city works would authorize these new sidewalks at all, if the final outcome will be yet another permanently unsightly, chewed up, massively disrespected neighbourhood?”
It is hard to argue with the reader, but it’s worth noting that federal legislation grants utilities as-of-right access to the space beneath roads and sidewalks. If they need to service buried lines, the city can deny them a utility cut permit under only the rarest of circumstances.
But the city should try harder to co-ordinate more of the work done by utilities with plans for new roads and sidewalks, to lessen the need to dig them up.
Mayor Rob Ford would call it respect for taxpayers.