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Jasper Avenue New Vision / Imagine Jasper Avenue

TAS

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I used to agree with the induced demand thing, but how far do you go? Eventually, if you have no roads, you will have 0 cars, but that seems ridiculous. For Jasper Ave, a reduction is appropriate. Elsewhere, the induced demand theory seems to be to have a built in flaw.

I haven't heard anybody, even those who advocate for reduced car dependency, suggest no roads or 0 cars as the desired outcome.
 

thommyjo

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The Valley Line LRT will be completed by 2027 or so, which includes a demolition/rebuild of the bridge over Groat Road. That's why I would rather wait for Jasper Ave rehab to occur after 2027 due to the traffic from the west end that will need to use 102 Ave and Jasper Ave to get to/from downtown. However, I am under the impression that this is falling on deaf ears around here, that the Jasper Ave rehab must be done right now and to hell with all that west-end traffic.
107ave is the best route tbh. As a west end dweller that goes into the core every few days. Yea, just rip the bandaid off tbh.
 

westcoastjos

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One of the world's leading traffic and transportation experts - Sam Schwartz - has a book many here may have read called Street Smart - the rise of cities and fall of cars. In one chapter he shares his time as NYC traffic commissioner and in 1973 the bridge on the West Side Highway leading into Manhattan's central business district collapsed. 80,000 vehicles a day travelled that bridge. So what solution did NYC come up with to help accommodate or redirect those 80,000 vehicles per day?
Says Schwartz "I would love to take credit for coming up with a brilliant solution that saved the city, but the truth is a lot more mundane and a lot more interesting. The predicted traffic disaster never appeared. Somehow those 80,000 cars went somewhere, but to this day we have no idea where. Or how, two years later, 25,000 more people were getting into Manhattan's central business district."
Finally he says:
"When a road's capacity is reduced, congestion doesn't necessarily increase. In fact the biggest and best study of reduction in road capacity shows that lane closures not only cause traffic to decrease on the road's remaining lanes, but only half the decrease reappears anywhere else."

"If you unbuild it, they will go away."

But of course Edmonton is a different city from everywhere else right? Other cities aren't like the issues we have here.

That's the line he says people typically use in opposition.
I mean, Edmonton is a different city from a lot of other cities from a transportation perspective. Different climate, different forms of other transportation infrastructure. You have to consider all the variables that exist in a specific place when making changes and not rely on data from other cities. Sure, you can compare data from here to other places, but you also have to consider all the variables, including cultural variables. Taking transit in many other cities is much more acceptable than it is here.
And I don't mean to sound obtuse; it's a fair question you asked, Gronk! But it does amuse/annoy me when people buy houses in the far flung suburbs and then complain when not absolutely everything is done to speed up/facilitate your commute back to downtown. There are neighbourhoods along your commute full of people who chose to live closer to downtown and they have rights too. You gave up your right to an easy commute when you moved to the burbs. My $0.02.
Perhaps they did so because they can't afford to buy a house of the size they need or desire, closer to downtown. Some people have greater means to choose where they want to live than others.

Council has some tough choices to make because there are only so many capital dollars available for new projects. Most dollars are committed to existing projects that are in progress. So, the question then becomes, do you cancel another in progress project that was previously committed to, to build the Jasper Ave project or do you increase property tax by a significant amount, or do you defer the project until such a time when capital dollars become available because other projects have finished?

I think there is a tendency here to think there is an endless bag of money. The City of Edmonton can't run a deficit the same way the province or the feds can. Please don't misconstrue what I'm saying here. I'm not against this development at all; however, I am saying Council has to prioritize existing projects and other projects that may have safety impacts/concerns ahead of this one.
 

ChazYEG

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to build the Jasper Ave project or do you increase property tax by a significant amount
It is about time we redesigned our whole property tax system, for that matter. Currently, just like basically any major North American city, our central areas subsidize the deep suburbia. Our tax revenue would increase significantly if we rebalanced that, considering that the vast majority of our residences are SHF (which pay far less property tax than they should, especially compared to multifamily).

Would there be complaints? Yeah, but in the long run, would make a huge positive impact for the whole city (and maybe, just maybe, curb sprawl a little bit). more money to invest in infrastructure projects, less money diverted from central areas to maintain the impossibly large and under-utilized suburban infrastructure, etc...

No one likes to raise taxes, it's unpopular, it's not easy to do, but I am afraid that a redesign (and possibly a general increase) in the property taxes are LOOOOOONG overdue.

And as for the city being able to run deficits, it can do it up to a point, although it shouldn't.
 

westcoastjos

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And as for the city being able to run deficits, it can do it up to a point, although it shouldn't.
Yeah, I should have been more clear with that. No operating budget deficits, can borrow for capital spending, but it is limited to 2 times revenue according to the MGA with 35% for debt servicing. Edmonton further defines its own limits. You can see that defined in the previous budget on page 20. Page 24 shows that the debt servicing limits are going to be tight in the next two years.

I think property tax increases are inevitable for sure, but is it to maintain existing services or to increase spending on capital projects. Are we asking for a 3-5% increase or a 15-20% increase (just tossing random numbers out there)? Like you said, without tax reform, the amount you can increase any given year is limited by public appetite. What is nice to have versus mandatory/required spending - questions that Council will have to address in the upcoming budget.

Perhaps we need a thread on budget and tax reform. Haha.
 

ChazYEG

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I think property tax increases are inevitable for sure, but is it to maintain existing services or to increase spending on capital projects. Are we asking for a 3-5% increase or a 15-20% increase (just tossing random numbers out there)? Like you said, without tax reform, the amount you can increase any given year is limited by public appetite. What is nice to have versus mandatory/required spending
I think the overall increase should sit on a 10-15% over the span of a few years (5 or so) and then raise it inly to keep service levels. One interesting point of tax reform and the incentive to densify is that the maintenance cost for infrastructure in a 5-block radius downtown is only marginally higher (if at all) than in a suburban area, so once we densify more, it'll become easier and cheaper to maintain the infrastructure, and you won't need big raises to do capital investments.
North America's obsession/addiction to suburbia is such a strangle in public finance and infrastructure that it's not even funny. We all love going to Japan, or major European cities, and be impressed with the almost-always-impecable infrastructure, perfectly maintained roads and highways, goo transit, etc... But at the same time, brag about how everyone here can have a big house, with a big lawn and a big truck and our massive, all-encompassing big-box stores, and take this as an example of what living standards should be. "I don't wanna live in one of these tiny, old pigeonholes you have in Europe! no, sir! Here we're better because we have space". But then we go and complain about crumbling infrastructure, bad transit, etc, etc, etc... We just seem to forget that all of that (cheap) space isn't actually cheap and comes at the expense of all of these things we admire about these other places, save for very few cities that are old and big enough to have a different urban fabric.

So, to come back to our issue on Jasper Ave. As much as the city is not swimming in dollars, I think our priorities are pretty badly sorted. Earlier this year we repaved a few km of road on 23rd ave, just east of Gateway Boulevard. The road was in MUCH BETTER SHAPE than ANY ROAD in the central area. With the amount of pavement put there, we could've probably repaved half of the downtown core. Same thing with 137 avenue. But guess what? We keep shoving our tax dollars into suburbia, and suburban infrastructure, while our central neighbourhoods suffer from terribly maintained infrastructure.

Also, @archited your argument that there are a lot of buildings proposed for the area and, therefore, we should wait because they will damage the new infrastructure, is fundamentally lazy. If we'll wait for our downtown and central neighbourhoods to be fully built out before we fix the infrastructure, we might as well go back to dirt and gravel roads for the next century or so. Also, few of these projects will take less than 2 or 3 years to break ground, another 3 to 5 to be done, and then more will come in the meantime (at least that is what everyone here wishes, I guess... a denser, taller and livelier central Edmonton...). How long are we supposed to wait? Jasper ave, between 114 and 124 streets, has not seen any upgrades in over four decades (I dare say even more). If my google skills don't fail me, the last time we had it repaved was in the 1980s (and asphalt should be replaced, ideally, every 10 to 15 years, depending on quality, usage and climate conditions). Between 101 street and 109 street, last time anything was done was when? the mid-1980s? If we have to wait another decade or so, even the recently renewed sections will already be up for upgrades, too... And we keep pushing it forever... There's that saying, the perfect is the enemy of good... That's what this argument comes across: waiting for the perfect scenario, instead of making good progress with the material we have.

Perhaps we need a thread on budget and tax reform. Haha.
I'm game! would love some space to discuss this.
 

Edmonchuk

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I mean, Edmonton is a different city from a lot of other cities from a transportation perspective. Different climate, different forms of other transportation infrastructure. You have to consider all the variables that exist in a specific place when making changes and not rely on data from other cities. Sure, you can compare data from here to other places, but you also have to consider all the variables, including cultural variables. Taking transit in many other cities is much more acceptable than it is here.

Perhaps they did so because they can't afford to buy a house of the size they need or desire, closer to downtown. Some people have greater means to choose where they want to live than others.

Council has some tough choices to make because there are only so many capital dollars available for new projects. Most dollars are committed to existing projects that are in progress. So, the question then becomes, do you cancel another in progress project that was previously committed to, to build the Jasper Ave project or do you increase property tax by a significant amount, or do you defer the project until such a time when capital dollars become available because other projects have finished?

I think there is a tendency here to think there is an endless bag of money. The City of Edmonton can't run a deficit the same way the province or the feds can. Please don't misconstrue what I'm saying here. I'm not against this development at all; however, I am saying Council has to prioritize existing projects and other projects that may have safety impacts/concerns ahead of this one.
Excuses, excuses, excuses. You will come up with anything to keep downtown decaying. And this is the capital of the richest per capita province in the country, with its core looking like a dumpster. Keep it up, good job. Sorry I no longer have patience for this.
 

westcoastjos

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Excuses, excuses, excuses. You will come up with anything to keep downtown decaying. And this is the capital of the richest per capita province in the country, with its core looking like a dumpster. Keep it up, good job. Sorry I no longer have patience for this.
So what are your ideas for some solutions? Why should this be prioritized relative to other developments that already have funding in place? How do we negotiate with the province to bring back the same levels of funding that were in place before the pandemic? How should a larger tax increase be messaged to the public when inflation and stagnant wages are already reducing their spending power?

Also, I'm not keeping "anything up", this is simply a discussion forum on the internet. :p
 

Edmonchuk

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So what are your ideas for some solutions? Why should this be prioritized relative to other developments that already have funding in place? How do we negotiate with the province to bring back the same levels of funding that were in place before the pandemic? How should a larger tax increase be messaged to the public when inflation and stagnant wages are already reducing their spending power?

Also, I'm not keeping "anything up", this is simply a discussion forum on the internet. :p
Solution is simple - just fix it already! It’s the main avenue of the capital city! What else is there to discuss! I work in Epcor tower and the surroundings are disgusting. It’s horrific.
 

kcantor

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Solution is simple - just fix it already! It’s the main avenue of the capital city! What else is there to discuss! I work in Epcor tower and the surroundings are disgusting. It’s horrific.
it should be a simple solution but…

maintenance is completed from the operating budget.

projects are completed from the capital budget.

there’s no glory in maintenance but capital projects are considered “legacies” by administration and by council, particularly when they are sorely needed as a result of a lack of maintenance…

and the legacies require special/more maintenance that they don’t get so the spirals continue.

as an example, why we still do those brick paving stone sidewalks between flush concrete edges like the ones in front of edmonton tower that have been an ugly patchwork of pot holes and missing brick and temporary asphalt repairs forever but 103a will look pretty until the work comes off warranty.

i’m pretty sure we could devote an entire thread to similar examples.
 

CplKlinger

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Also, I'm not keeping "anything up", this is simply a discussion forum on the internet. :p
Me watching the shade fly in this thread
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