Monday, November 1, 2010

We're Number One!

Well, not really. Sure, Winnipeg bashing is good sport, I mean, we're an easy target.
Murder capital of Canada (again)
Slurpee capital of the World (again)
Worst traffic light synchronization (if you consider GREEN as being the colour of choice when travelling along almost any route)
Biggest pothole on a major highway (I think I lost a filling in my tooth after a humdinger of a jolt on Hwy#1 heading west between the symington overpass and Hwy 59)
Most traffic lights on an innercity beltway

What's disappointing is were we don't get noticed.

Communities in Bloom... we didn't make the list. Edmonton, that frozen blob almost as far north as Moscow but without the warm temps (yes, Moscow is warmer), they won the tidiest City award.
I guess all the "Take Pride Winnipeg" garbage cans that are often (typically) over flowing didn't grab the eye of the judges in a good way.
I have to admit, Winnipeg is dirty. I can't think of a place that is as filthy on a windy day. Rome, Berlin, Hamburg, London... only Paris has "litter" that was noticeable, (Nice has a lot of dog shit, but not litter). A city that would compare might be LA if you're down town in the Sunset Boulevard area. We'd have to go to the ghettos of a major US city to find an equal.
Why? Why do people think that driving along and tossing out their McDonald's bag, or their Slurpee or Big Gulp cup is OK?
A Day in the Hood used the correct phrase. The Broken Window Theory. The idea that people consider it more acceptable to live like pigs the longer they are surrounded by shit. While the theory has been decried, there are Cities that have tried to combat it by facing it head on. Baltimore has a method of mapping EVERYTHING that happens in their City from failed trash pickups to crime. Areas that see excess problems are targeted for extra attention. Seems easy enough.
While I don't know that I agree with the theory insofar as the condition of the neighbourhood actually leads people to commit crime, I do think that the idea that a filthy lane is discouraging enough to cause people to simply not care enough to do anything about it.
The City (as we learned from the aforementioned blog) has little ability to enforce it's by-laws when it comes to illegal dumping and litter. We have little ability to do much of anything about the Big Bite wrappers, the empty pop bottles, copies of the latest Renters News, and whatever else flies over from the Bunty's chicken half a block away but pick them up and put them in our own trash... but that is a never ending chore, left to those of us unwilling to wave the white flag.
The City NEEDS to come down harder on property owners who clearly let their yards adjacent to the lane go to hell, and the business owners whose debris fly through the area. It doesn't matter that the clients of the businesses toss the debris. Have  you seen a Sev garbage can a half a block away?
Sure, we all have seen someone toss something on the ground a few feet away from a garbage can. I've picked the litter up and yelled, "Let me get that for you." For those people, we need some STIFF fines. Again, Singapore has an extreme way of dealing with that sort of thing, but you never have to worry about getting gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe when walking in Singapore.

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