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Jasper Avenue New Vision / Imagine Jasper Avenue

IanO

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Analogies are fun!

'Second: I have to agree with Ted, you seem to have an underlying car fetish that you're just not brave enough to admit here. EVERY SINGLE TIME someone suggests a significant change to one of our main "corridors" you're the first to pick up your pitchfork and march to the Mike Nickel drums. Wanna pedestrianize Jasper? No... but the cars... Whyte Ave? No... but the cars... 104 Ave? No... but the cars...124 street? No... But the cars... Wanna put bike lanes on 109 St? No... But the cars... And your solution is always the same: pick a secondary, parallel street, and do it there, even though it's going to be pointless, because if people wanted to be there, THEY WOULD BE THE MAJOR STREETS. '

I am a car guy through and through. I've run car clubs, organized meets, based my life around track days and regularly travel for Formula 1... but that fetish does not for one second mean that I am a 'traffic or freeway guy'. Mutually exclusive my friend.

'Wanna pedestrianize ___x___?' - The reality is that we need efficient flow of movement regardless of modal choice. Do they need to move at 80km/h, nope. Do they need to have priority, nope, but they do need space and fairness as well. Jasper was designed to be a mixed corridor and needs to have significant capacity to have our Downtown function. Four lanes is appropriate for much of it and while I supported the 100-102st diet to introduce off-peak parking ie. down to one lane east bound, at times this is very, very congested and perhaps not ideal for anyone. Let me reiterate that I walk to places 90% of the time and have focussed many of my efforts to support groups like Paths for People, Open Streets, road diets strategies, PARKING Day and temporary closures for events like Al Fresco or around Churchill to expand usable areas at the cost of lanes of travel. That said, Jasper looks much better now, found a better balance and while not Grafton Street, it certainly makes me want to walk it more often now on the new stretches. What we need is density to pair with these changes to drive foot traffic to the area and help facilitate a shift towards more walkable amenities, shops, services... but they need to change too and perhaps that's more important here. When you have a REXALL with half of its frontage 'lifestyle' posters, that does NOTHING for the look and feel for the pedestrian, but serves the driver well due to scale. When Canterra forces you to walk away from its Jasper entrances to the parking lot interior entrance it does NOTHING to help develop Jasper's attractiveness as a more walkable Avenue. Say we did take a lane or two out, improved the urban character of it with benches and landscaping, made it look beautiful... do you think that many more people would shop there or hangout in the middle of a canyon? It's inherently too wide from a built-form perspective to be that attractive, even Whyte is. We don't have the climate or the density to necessitate 30' sidewalks and patios there. Now RHW or 104st...

'
a) What's attractive to businesses, in general, but particularly for small retail and hospitality, which are the bread and butter of any healthy downtown? Foot traffic, nice, safe and comfortable streets, good access (for all modes of transportation, not just cars) visibility from the street, etc... Guess what is PROVEN to work for that, all around the world: pleasant, interesting streets, with trees, wide sidewalks, proper space for patios, street art, pocket parks, bike lanes and the pairing bike racks, reliable and comfortable transit options, slower moving vehicles... Oh, it also helps if you bring in what people want to buy, unless it's a completely crazy idea, eh?! Maybe there's another reason why some cities have big box stores in their downtowns (and some even on main streets... Think Nordstrom Rack on Yonge and Bloor)...
This has worked in cities everywhere: New York, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto (are those not cities with similar cultural backgrounds, as is most of North America?), most cities in the Netherlands (even small ones, mind you), Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Cape Town, Manila, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Mexico City, London, Manchester... It's not anecdotal, Ian, if it works on so many different places, it should work here, so please answer me: WHY is Edmonton so peculiar and should not follow on the footsteps of places that were successful (even if it is on it's own way, using inventive solutions)? Should we become a case study for what a city completely different from all others in the world? Maybe Edmonton exists in a parallel reality... I frankly don't know'

So something similar to 104st, RHW, 124st, 103st in parts... where traffic flow/need is less important and so we gravitate there and often head there via Jasper which leads to us stopping on Jasper for coffee, drinks, food and services.... but we sit on the patios on side streets due to their more human scale and nature and purpose. I don't want to sit on Yonge Street or Rene Levesque or West Georgia, but those are busy, bustling, multi-use corridors. I do want to sit on Queen West, Hamilton, Rue St. Denis and Stephen Avenue. Let's focus on making 104st amazing from 100ave-104, let's find a way forward for 108st, let's finish RHW to make it our most amazing block^2 pedestrian area. The width of our E/W corridors are challenging to do much with, but N/S are ready, able and willing. If we cannot get 104st right given it's natural form, why pull our hair out on Jasper? It's our BEST chance, best shot and is halfway there.

'
b) because 102 Avenue is NOT our main street, Jasper is. Imagine if the folks in NYC decided to think this way about 5th ave? Or Toronto with Yonge Street?
What is your idea? Have Jasper become a high flux route? Why not rip the whole downtown apart and build freeways everywhere, instead. Maybe, in the process, we can beg for a main street that actually looks and serves as one be constructed, even if it's a tiny little one...'

102 will offer something very different, is MUCH more compact and could be much more urban in looks/feel/offerings and here's hoping it might become that if ECC does its thing along with Manulife. It's not intended to replace Jasper as a Main Street but rather provide another experience.
 

archited

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because 102 Avenue is NOT our main street, Jasper is. Imagine if the folks in NYC decided to think this way about 5th ave?
Yes, just imagine if people had begun to think this way about 5th Avenue... https://nypost.com/2021/08/28/nycs-war-on-cars-targets-most-important-street-in-the-world/ Now this article is critical of the change because it happens to be fodder for a RIGHT_WING leaning rag. Do you see where you are positioning your own viewpoints? There is not much else to say, Ian.
Want more? -- https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexle...arden-cars-out-and-people-in/?sh=16a45f5e7753 Are you getting the picture?
 

IanO

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Well aware of those and on a smaller scale here in Banff/Canmore we have done the same with reasonable results at times, less desirable at others.

A good study/discussion:

In NYC/Paris you have massive densities, a very different culture, millions of tourists and transit infrastructure that supports/feeds these opportunities.

Open Streets a couple of years ago demonstrated what could be possible in part or full when you do things right and made it glaringly obvious that it's impossible when you do things wrong. One had but to walk 103st-104st versus 104-105st.

I'm 100% for less vehicular traffic, less noise, less fumes in my life and as many of you know I am a patio-lifer that wants expanded sidewalks or larger spaces for those kinds of activities but we don't have enough people do support those kinds of activities or spaces for enough times of the day or year, period. Chicken and the egg for sure, but don't take more away from another activity if you cannot demonstrate the need where you can do something more urban right now, today, the last 2,5,10 years.
 

archited

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Again... think "future" Ian, not "present", not "past" -- that is essentially the whole idea behind the word "planning".
Well aware of those
If you are well aware of those, then why did you use one of them to try to prove your counterpoint?
 

IanO

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We have the space, lands and opportunity when the time is right... that has not changed.

All of them have considerable impacts from tourism (not primarily as a result of these streets or changes) that drive enough people to those areas that it makes sense. Two of those cities also have other land/space constraints that it also makes sense to move in that direction right now (and probably 25-50 years ago).
 

ntt1

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I also have to laugh at the 40km/hr sign there because with a street designed like this, you know damn well that nobody is going to adhere to it. With how car-centric this city is (and how selfish some drivers are) the most effective traffic calming method, I feel, is by road design... not sure that this hits the spot. It's like how some certain suburban neighbourhoods are designed with overly wide streets and every winter somebody manages to plow through a fence or into a tree.
 

David A

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We definitely don't, Ian. Jasper as a thoroughfare might still work now, but if we ever get to the density you talk so much about, it will be complete and absolute CHAOS, planning the downtown traffic around Jasper as an east-west people mover.
Makes A LOT more sense think of 104, 107 and 111 avenues as these big connectors, with a few streets, like 95, 97, 101, 109 and 116 streets, linking directly to the core.

What we need is a main street that is not a bloody stroad, not a highway disguised as a street that serves none of the objectives well enough to please everyone (and that ends up pissing everybody off). Right now 100% of the people are not satisfied with Jasper: people who drive downtown think it has too few lanes and speeds are to low. People who live and walk around the area think the exact opposite. Businesses are not too happy either. People who come (the very few and far between) to downtown for leisure don't like it either, because it's unattractive (and back to businesses being hurt). If we stick to one side of the thing, either a main road or a main street, we'll get at least PART of the people to actually like it. Either we make it an 8 lane, 60km/h major thoroughfare (and deal the killing blow to Downtown) or we prioritize a pedestrian and transit oriented street that will be better for businesses and for the general long-term health of the whole urban fabric of Edmonton.
Yes, if you try to make something all things to all people, there is likely to be a lot of disappointment. I think some of this problem comes from history, some from inertia and some from unclear, no or conflicting communication from the City.

It probably doesn't help that this is a fairly straight road that goes through most of the downtown, but sort of abruptly ends in the west. To add to all this confusion, consider when 104 St will be more bottle necked for west LRT construction, some of that commuter traffic will probably go to Jasper Ave.

Even though it is not really suited for being a commuter road, I can see how it happened and it continues, but this is not the 1960's anymore and we really need to eventually move away from that.
 

David A

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I also have to laugh at the 40km/hr sign there because with a street designed like this, you know damn well that nobody is going to adhere to it. With how car-centric this city is (and how selfish some drivers are) the most effective traffic calming method, I feel, is by road design... not sure that this hits the spot. It's like how some certain suburban neighbourhoods are designed with overly wide streets and every winter somebody manages to plow through a fence or into a tree.
Well that would be very consistent with how people travel on the Whitemud, don't call it a freeway, freeway. People do drive to what they perceive the conditions are, rightly or wrongly.

The City is kidding itself if it believes its edicts on speed are treated like tablets handed down by god. For the most part they are somewhat ignored and reducing the limit will probably lead to more of that.

The there is the issue of all the signage. When the limit was 50 on most streets, you had could be fairly confident what the limit was in any place. Now, who knows. Missing a sign is easy to do, there is a lot of sign clutter in this city.
 

Macroman520

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Jasper Avenue will continue to be a busy, highly trafficked thoroughfare if we continue to build it as a busy, highly trafficked thoroughfare. Build it and they will come, as the saying goes.

If we treat it like a multi-modal high street with an emphasis on forms of travel other than cars, congestion would likely decrease even with a reduction in traffic lanes. Two lanes in either direction, with a dedicated transit right-of-way down the centre, protected bike lanes, and wide sidewalks would give every mode of transportation a chance to thrive. Through traffic might be inconvenienced, but it can use 107 Avenue or 111 Avenue instead.
 

ChazYEG

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Jasper Avenue will continue to be a busy, highly trafficked thoroughfare if we continue to build it as a busy, highly trafficked thoroughfare. Build it and they will come, as the saying goes.

If we treat it like a multi-modal high street with an emphasis on forms of travel other than cars, congestion would likely decrease even with a reduction in traffic lanes. Two lanes in either direction, with a dedicated transit right-of-way down the centre, protected bike lanes, and wide sidewalks would give every mode of transportation a chance to thrive. Through traffic might be inconvenienced, but it can use 107 Avenue or 111 Avenue instead.
But where is Ian going to drive all of the cars for his car club meetings? He needs Jasper to parade them :)
 

itom987

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The city has done it's part in improving Jasper Avenue making it more attractive than it used to be. Putting more emphasis on the pedestrian instead of the car on Jasper Avenue will simiply not work at the moment. The built environment around the street isn't good enough to require wider sidewalks, doing so can cause good intentions to backfire creating a living room for panhandlers. It is time to focus on adding density to the area.
 
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itom987

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Some of you guys keep thinking that the car will disappear in the future, perhaps in 70 years but not in 10. It is risky to gamble on what the future will be like, please leave that to magazines like Popular Mechanics.
 

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