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Car-Free Streets

I'd love to see Heritage Trail renewed as it is falling apart.

RHW has a lot of potential to be more than it is and could restrict vehicles to create market space, expanded patios and become a hub or spoke for festivals.

104 Avenue is obviously in the works and will be nice to see once complete.

109 Street from Whyte to Sask. Drive is top of my list given its ARP update and relatively suburban form.

Jasper from 102-109 needs a lot of attention and could see an off peak set up as we have with 100-102.
 
You asked me to share some ideas on where some of the potential opportunities exist and so I did.
 
Maybe list a few places where you would be ok with restricting cars entirely, other than RHW. I know, crazy concept.
 
Cars aren't going anywhere for decades. Just because some of you walk, bike and scoot doesn't mean that the rest of us have to follow. I have to go downtown tonight and I am taking my car.
 
I bike year round and 95% of trips downtown are by bike. But let me say this, which I think is Ian’s point.

Ideologically, of course there are good arguments to be made to close certain streets, restrict cars, all that stuff. I listen to the war on cars podcast weekly 🙂

BUT

We have to contextualize to our city, or highest priorities, our constraints and opportunities, our political environment.

I’m not saying “this is just how Edmonton is”. Not at all. However, Edmonton also isn’t Philly, Chicago, Montreal, Vancouver, or even Calgary in a lot of the characteristics that will help make pedestrianization successful.

Most of our roads downtown need a road diet. Full stop. But few need pedestrianization imo. I’d rather see wider sidewalks (that aren’t crumbling), great boulevards and planters, trees and art installations, maintained (asphalt, snow, gravel, paint) roads, and activations through storefronts and development.

Aside from jasper and 104th ave, most of our streets aren’t unpleasant because of an over abundance of cars/traffic. Most of our streets are actually dead, crumbling, and without buildings/active fronts.

So why spend the money, stir up the politics battle, and take the time to pedestrianize 102ave when it’s fine for biking/walking as it is and wouldn’t much nicer without cars. I’d rather rebuild 103st to not have broken wood planks 1 block from the ice district and in front of one of our main restaurant strips. 109st as Ian mentioned. The unfinished parts of jasper, etc.

We need a lot more pedestrians before we pedestrianize and roads/cars aren’t the primary issue for downtown in that case.

Now whyte ave, I’d push you on Ian 🙂 I think we should aggressively redesign for buses and pedestrians. People are magically good at finding new routes when they have to. It’s too good of a street to concede to cars. 61/63ave needs to be the alternative for personal vehicle traffic. And we have to prefer imo, more traffic on some nearby side streets because patios/pedestrians/shops deserve less cars than mostly quiet side streets with apartments. The “About Here” guy from Vancouver has actually talked a lot about how Vancouver has a more dispersed traffic system because of their lack of freeways and arterials, so more people spread out and use all roads vs filtering just from residential onto arterials. I think we should treat south central that way. (With appropriate traffic calming on all streets of course).
 
I think there will be some degree of traffic, as restaurants will need trucks for loading/unloading. Old Strathcona is successful because of the access for trucks to load and unload behind the businesses.

I could see less need for parking, especially with growing transit service. For example, restaurants on Whyte Avenue don't need a minimum parking requirement.
 
Maybe list a few places where you would be ok with restricting cars entirely, other than RHW. I know, crazy concept.

I don't need a closed road to enjoy it as a pedestrian, have a nice stroll on a blvd, sip at a patio and walk the pup. What I do need is a wide sidewalk, pedestrian level lighting, landscaping, a buffer between me and traffic and it being well-kept.
 
Hmmm I thought we were building a city for everyone. There are people that enjoy things differently from you. We are a family with two kids and we don't have a car and we are not big cyclers. We enjoy walking and strolling and unlike you I prefer to be further away from cars. We pay taxes just like everyone else so forgive my frustration when people claim not to be car-first but then can't even think of a single place in the city that they would support permanently making pedestrians only. I get it, we live in Edmonton. But I'm sick and tired of the attitude that the only spaces that we are willing to create still have to be shared with cars. As pedestrians, why do we always have to justify our right for a space that's built for us (and only us) while people who drive get to claim virtually every single piece of pavement in this city without any questions? Here's a crazy idea: maybe if we create more spaces that are built for pedestrians (with more than just a buffer to cars) and maybe - just maybe - we'll end up with more pedestrians in this city. Maybe more people will be willing to give up their cars.
Everyone is entitled to enjoy the city they want to enjoy it. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, IanO. Cars don't bug you and that's fine. But your point of view is entirely car centric, whether you realize it not. We have a lot of work to do in this city to create a different paradigm, one where both cars and pedestrians (and cyclists, etc.) start from the same position. It's crazy how stuck in the past we still are here.
 
Cars aren't going anywhere for decades. Just because some of you walk, bike and scoot doesn't mean that the rest of us have to follow. I have to go downtown tonight and I am taking my car.
Just because you prefer to drive doesn’t mean that every single street needs to accommodate your transportation needs first and foremost. I’m honestly indifferent to 102 Ave pedestrianization at this point and think it’s a low priority but this sentiment is just dumb and tired.
 
Cars aren't going anywhere for decades. Just because some of you walk, bike and scoot doesn't mean that the rest of us have to follow. I have to go downtown tonight and I am taking my car.

One closed street isn't going to materially impact your ability to get downtown by car. No one is taking anything away from you, you already have every privilege in the world being able to:
  1. Afford to own and operate a car
  2. Drive a car without physical or mental health impediments that would preclude or prevent you from doing so
  3. Go literally anywhere in the city by car
  4. Do so without having to specifically plan your route ahead of time based on the likelihood of being killed by someone else in a car
  5. Park your car at nearly any and every destination in the city, and
  6. Have an order of magnitude lower chance of it not being there when you return (unlike a bike)
Lack of or poor/unsafe pedestrian and bike infrastructure remains a huge barrier to people who can't drive or who would walk or bike more. Check your privilege; it's not distributed equally or equitably as it is now.
 
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One closed street isn't going to materially impact your ability to get downtown by car. No one is taking anything away from you, you already have every privilege in the world being able to:
  1. Afford to own and operate a car
  2. Drive a car without physical or mental health impediments that would preclude or prevent you from doing so
  3. Go literally anywhere in the city by car
  4. Do so without having to specifically plan your route ahead of time based on the likelihood of being killed by someone else in a car
  5. Park your car at nearly any and every destination in the city
Lack of or poor/unsafe pedestrian and bike infrastructure remains a huge barrier to people who can't drive or who would walk or bike more. Check your privilege; it's not distributed equally or equitably as it is now.

And on that last point we need to keep in mind more than 25% of people 16 and older don't drive in Edmonton, so we're not talking a fringe group here.
 
And on that last point we need to keep in mind more than 25% of people 16 and older don't drive in Edmonton, so we're not talking a fringe group here.

Exactly. I doubt my kids will ever learn how to drive or own a car. And I can only imagine how frustrated they will get with this city when they are older because nothing is built for their car free lifestyle. We talk a lot about becoming a city for everyone, but I don't see much evidence of it. I don't want to see my kids moving to other cities simply because they feel more 'at home' in a place that values something other than cars.
 
This is absurd. We're not pedestrianizing the Henday. This is a what, one/two lane road in the middle of at least two others (one of which is literally Jasper Ave)? Like once you get past 105th you're driving through gravel parking lots and a few small buildings until you get to Norquest.

I'm here for the argument that it's not the best candidate for pedestrianizing. 104th, RHW, and 108th may be better. But let's not pretend if it was closed it was some major thoroughfare for cars that would snarl traffic if it went away. This is not the hill to die on imo
 

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