Why the Government Should Let the Private Sector Solve Mobility Issues
Whether it be in the US or Canada, government bureaucracy is often a hindrance when it comes to getting anything done. Their lack of manpower, poor allocation of resources, and impractical nature are just some of the reasons that projects can take so long. One instance in Toronto Canada displays this ineptitude in a very public setting, in a dispute involving a private citizen and the local government; the issue being a staircase in a public park.
In July of 2017, a Toronto man named Adi Astl noticed a recreational park near where he lived was in desperate need of a set of stairs descending a hill. The city had contracted builders to construct the stairs, but had come to a ridiculous conclusion that the price point would be between $65,000-$100,000. Adi decided that this would not be acceptable, and took it upon himself to labor with his own materials and money to build a set of stairs for the people in his area to use. When all was said, and done, Adi only used $550 of his own money, coupled with a homeless man he hired to assist with the job.
The local community members rejoiced at the prospect of a public set of stairs, as one individual had broken their wrist prior to the stairs being installed. Despite the positive reception to the project by the community, the city came in and removed the stairs, as they went against zoning and safety code violations. Their reasoning had to do with the fact that since Adi was not a public or private contractor under license, the stairs could not remain.
This story brings up a bigger issue of modern governments underestimating the needs of individuals who need accessibility to parks and other public grounds. Due to the governments nature to become wrapped up in mountains of paper work, they tend to not be very timely with projects. When the project is as crucial as this one, it is important to make it a priority. If someone had fell down that hill and hurt themselves, the city could have been held at fault.
On the other hand, it is understandable on why the city had to remove the stairs, as they might not have been built to code or were not properly placed. They were however, better than nothing and an alternative solution could have been decided upon rather than uprooting them on the spot.
This is not just a problem in Toronto, but all around the world. In underdeveloped countries this is especially an issue, but these projects face government bureaucratic walls in western countries as well. A public space such as this Toronto park should be fully equipped to deal with pedestrians, both able and disabled, as someone could have been severely injured due to a lack of
Original article by Lionel Lim of CNN http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/americas/man-steps-trouble-trnd/index.html