Jasper Avenue, Edmonton's main street since before it was incorporated as a city, was identified back in 2015 as coming due for a major renewal. Around the same time, the City of Edmonton officially designated Jasper as a 'Main Street' under new guidelines that seek to enhance the urban environment for residents and visitors by prioritizing the pedestrian experience. This is a major shift from the previous designation as a thoroughfare for those commuting into downtown, which has resulted in a roadway seven lanes wide through the Oliver neighbourhood.

Current state of Jasper Avenue at 110 St., image by Dave Sutherland

Imagine Jasper Avenue is the culmination of two years of public consultation with residents on their current feelings and concerns about the avenue, and what they want from a renewed experience. Many expressed concerns about safety — especially crossing Jasper due to the numerous wide lanes that encourage speeding drivers — and wanted a more continuous urban experience, like found downtown and on 124 Street, neighbourhoods which bookend Oliver. Now, the city is ready to give the public a sample of what to expect when reconstruction begins in 2019.

Overview plan of the design demonstration, image via City of Edmonton

Jason Meliefste of City of Edmonton Infrastructure Planning & Design, and Imagine Jasper Avenue project coordinator Satya Gadidasu provided a short introduction to the changes that are coming, discussing what Edmontonians can expect in the redesign, and will see demonstrated starting this Saturday, July 15.

Imagine Jasper project coordinator Satya Gadidasu discusses the changes, image by Dave Sutherland

Dubbed Experience Jasper Avenue, the design demonstration will include the temporary narrowing of a six-block stretch of Jasper Avenue to four through-lanes (plus one reversible left-turn lane), with the space gained given to wider sidewalks. The plan also envisions curb bulbs at intersections for shorter pedestrian crossings, street furniture and landscaping, and other amenities to animate the public realm.

Concept rendering showing wider sidewalk and street furniture, image via City of Edmonton

The design makes allowances for "flex spaces" — public on-street parking that the community or businesses can convert for things like pop-up parklets or outdoor patios. All of these elements are among the suite of changes expected to become permanent in the completed reconstruction of Jasper Avenue.

A rendering shows how the "flex space" may be used, image via City of Edmonton

Construction on the demonstration elements is underway this week, and the city is kicking off the event with a launch party dubbed Envision, featuring speakers, art, and music including a performance by local band Royal Tusk. The event takes place Saturday, July 15 from 1 PM to 7 PM PM in front of the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre at 11111 Jasper Avenue.

A line shows where the curb will be extended, image by Dave Sutherland

The entire demonstration continues until October 28, and will include additional events throughout. The City will be collecting feedback from residents and incorporating changes into the permanent design set to begin construction in 2019.

Share your thoughts on the design and demonstration in the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment below.