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Big YEGdea: Reimagine Government Transit Centre


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Sep 22, 2015
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
So this is a bit of an experiment to hopefully generate some discussion, and maybe kick off a theme of similar discussions regarding the urban realm in Edmonton. For lack of a more creative title for the series, I'm calling them Big YEGdeas.

The first of such revolves around this particular bit of desolate landscape next to one of the best public realms in the city; that is, the Government Transit Centre, next to the beautiful Alberta Legislature grounds:



The transit centre is virtually unused outside of peak hours. Even at peak times, it only serves seven routes. Surrounding the terminal are two roadways, 107 St. and 107A St., the former of which is unnecessarily wide even with parking along the street (despite not being a major or even a remotely busy street):


Here's an aerial view of the area:


(The transit centre is outlined in red; a small surface lot in blue, and there's a green arrow indicating the location of a stair that connect to 98 Ave above.)

This is all right next door to the Legislature grounds, and right outside the beautiful and newly refurbished Federal Building. Many pedestrians can be seen criss-crossing this area, and I know many cyclists use this street to get in and out of downtown daily; meanwhile, observed vehicle traffic is extremely low.

So let's make it better.


  • Realign 107 St. into a single, two-lane street - one lane each direction (black centre area)
  • Design for and set vehicle speed limit at 30 km/h
  • Add protected bike lanes on west side to connect into the downtown minimum grid (coming 2017) (orange)
  • Buffer the sidewalks and bike lanes with on-street paid parking (yellow)
  • Retain curb pull-ins for bus stops in either direction (dark blue)
  • Reclaim the south surface parking as additional parkland (green)
  • Sell the surplus land for mixed-use development requiring strong pedestrian realm (light blue)
  • A new one-way (southbound) laneway for accessing the new properties
    • Accessed via existing laneway between 106 and 107 St.
    • Required due to grade divergence with said laneway
    • Includes pedestrian-friendly design elements
    • Exits onto 107 St.
  • Build a more grand connection to 98 Ave. via a feature staircase and ramp, surrounded by a micro-plaza (also green)
  • Enhance pedestrian connections and safety with:
    • Curb bulbs at all crossings
    • Signalized scramble at 98 Ave
    • Signalized mid-block raised crosswalk by Federal Building
    • Short signal timings to minimize waits for all modes
    • Coordinate signals to minimize or eliminate interactions between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles
The overlays in the above image aren't perfectly sized, proportioned or even well aligned, I know. I'm also aware that some the land is held by the Province and some by the city (but as far as I know no private lands are affected). This is really just a big idea I had that I think merits discussion about how we currently value and use land even in the downtown core, and how to make better use of said land with greater benefits.


See the custom map and all of its elements here:


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I would consolidate ETS with Grandin LRT, building a new "Government Centre" bus depot adjacent to and on the west side of the LRT station. I would make it an enclosed structure with one (bus-wide) lane in and one out, all connected to a circular rotating turntable that would spin to align buses with pedestrian boarding platforms (think 'roundhouse' from the railroad days of redirecting steam engines). 7 bus stalls would be an easy accomplishment. The footprint, then, for this new bus station would be relatively small. More importantly, bus and LRT connections would be amalgamated making both systems more efficient. Because there would be larger crowds at the facility I would look for the new facility to have convenience kiosks for food, etc. I would re-design the connecting tunnel to the the government centre so that it was more well-lit and friendlier to the Eloi and Morlocks traversing there. I would also create a terraced park up and over the roof of the new structure so that the parkland that the new building would be replacing would be saved and, indeed, enhanced.

This would eliminate the transit centre adjacent to the Federal Building (which I would rename since it is no longer "Federal"). Now 107th Street would be relegated to mere service road status. I would take that opportunity to create a provincial grounds touring vehicle (on a clearly defined guide path, traversing 107th street from 99th Avenue south around the Legislature Building and back again on a continuous loop) and enhanced bicycle and pedestrian paths, all well separated one from the other. Then, I would agree with the balance of @Daveography's plan, turning land over for private development.
So, @Daveography, why don't we jointly pitch this thing to the City and the Province? I have some media connections so we could certainly get the finished product published (for whatever that's worth). The effort may also bode well for Skyrise -- a proactive stance might spread the word. I am willing to work cooperatively with you to get it done. What say?
@archited Way ahead of you, actually. ;) I put this particular bug in the ear of some Councillors and MLAs, and got a pretty positive response so far. It also attracted the attention of Elise Stolte at the Journal, who reached out to me to chat about it since she's actually been working on a similar story independently.

I was actually surprised at how quickly my little doodle took off on Twitter and at some of the attention it caught.

Now I just gotta think about what my next installment will be about...
Others have complained about the new Kingsway/Royal Alexandra Hospital Transit Centre. It’s a windy, concrete desert, with a five- to 10-minute walk to the mall, specialty shops or hospital.

“It’s enormous. It seems like overkill,” said Dave Sutherland, an armchair planner and software developer who posted about the issue on the online urban forum

Sutherland pitched a plan to redevelop the Government Transit Centre outside the Alberta Legislature, which rarely has buses but sees lots of foot traffic. “It feels like something could be done better with that land.”

"Armchair Planner" is my new official title.
I can say this -- some "Armchair Planners" have it all over the other kind. Astute observation is the first key to successful Planning and I believe you have that in spades @Daveography!