City of Edmonton plans to widen sidewalks, add dedicated bus lane along Whyte Avenue
Whyte Avenue in Edmonton may look very different in the coming years as the city plans to convert one lane each way to a dedicated bus lane and remove some parking to widen sidewalks.
The city released draft plans for public feedback Monday for the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy (OSPRS).
The previous round of feedback saw Edmontonians broadly supportive of turning space dedicated to cars into space dedicated to pedestrians: 70 per cent of respondents were supportive of reducing parking to add transit lanes and 63 per cent supported removing traffic lines for transit.
On-street parking and vehicular travel lanes would be removed to widen the sidewalks. The city says that would create more space for people to walk or wheel on Whyte Avenue and more space for businesses to add signs and patios next to buildings.
In some areas, the sidewalks would be narrower to allow for drop-off and pickups as well as left-turn lanes near intersections. according to the strategy.
Two lanes in each direction could be dedicated to bus-based mass transit, which the city says would support area businesses and contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
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Also in the works is a plan to turn the parking lot for the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market (OSFM) into a park or plaza.
The land is owned by the city but is leased to the OSFM at market rates. The OSFM collects parking revenue and is fully responsible for the operation and maintenance of the lot. The lease agreement is for a 10-year term, expiring in April 2025. The current lot provides free 2-hour parking for market customers on Saturdays when the market is operating.
The three design ideas the city has presented for review all eliminate at least some parking in the lands between Gateway Boulevard and 102 Street, north of Whyte Avenue and south of Saskatchewan Drive.
One of the options is to create a “central park” with naturalized spaces in the north part of the park, recreation spaces in the area and plaza-like spaces adjacent to Whyte Avenue.
The other two options include residential development that the city says would include affordable housing and may have underground parking for the commercial and entertainment uses in the neighbourhood.
Pride Corner on Whyte Avenue and Gateway Boulevard
The survey on the changes to Whyte Avenue, area alleys and the public land east of Gateway is open until March 5.
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