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Keep 102 Ave closed to vehicles

Gronk!

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How many pedestrian-only spaces can Downtown support? We already have Churchill Square and Ice District Plaza, the latter which is just starting to attract commercial tenants facing the plaza. My worry is that if 102 is pedestrianized, it will be quite empty and desolate for a while, consdiering there are minimal reasons to visit 102 Ave (i.e. few retail or food destinations, a harsh streetwall thanks to Telus Toll as well as a vacant lot wasteland from Regency. The LRT, sidewalk and bike lanes will offer ways to get through those few blocks without a vehicle but there is really no reason to linger right no. We should focus on giving people a reason to linger in our existing pedestrian-focused spaces Downtown - Jasper Ave, 104 St., Churchill Square and Ice District.

The more, the merrier. :)
 

JuliallThat

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I really think 102 Ave is ideal as a pedestrian/cyclist space, but not because of what's on it, but because of what it connects. The primary feature is an open, quiet, and safe space that directly links some of the premier pedestrian oriented areas downtown, including Churchill Square, Rice Howard Way, City Centre Mall, Manulife Place, and 104 St. This is enhanced by the LRT being here too, which will be directly offloading pedestrians who will utilize this corridor.
I don't think businesses, food trucks or specialized infrastructure here will be necessary at all (although it doesn't hurt). People who are walking or biking will simply feel more comfortable navigating downtown by having a large open swath of street that they can use, which doesn't force them to be pressed up against the side of the street on the sidewalk, such as is the feeling with Jasper Ave.
Business will naturally orient around the future pedestrian traffic and I would definitely expect to see future growth here - but it's not essential for this corridor to work. Think of it instead as a pedestrian parkway stitching downtown together.
 

thommyjo

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102 could be better as a linear park if we have never built the car lane to begin with. But it’s too late.

I don’t think it being car free is super worth it yet. 104st needs to go car free first. And we need more people DT 24/7 to activate all these spaces. Churchill still feels empty a lot of the time.
 

The_Cat

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Perhaps parts of 102 Avenue (e.g. between 99 and 100 streets) could close for events like the Street Performers or A Taste of Edmonton. That's one less street crossing to Rice Howard Way.
 

IanO

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Exactly. Pilot some portions and showcase what 'could be' IF we had more people in the area more often and additional reasons to be there.
 

Platinum107

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How many pedestrian-only spaces can Downtown support? We already have Churchill Square and Ice District Plaza, the latter which is just starting to attract commercial tenants facing the plaza. My worry is that if 102 is pedestrianized, it will be quite empty and desolate for a while, consdiering there are minimal reasons to visit 102 Ave (i.e. few retail or food destinations, a harsh streetwall thanks to Telus Toll as well as a vacant lot wasteland from Regency. The LRT, sidewalk and bike lanes will offer ways to get through those few blocks without a vehicle but there is really no reason to linger right no. We should focus on giving people a reason to linger in our existing pedestrian-focused spaces Downtown - Jasper Ave, 104 St., Churchill Square and Ice District.
Exactly. This stretch is far from ideal from a width, other uses and lack of street fronting anything and NO # of food trucks is going to change that. Focus limited resources on our other areas and make them function well before going after other things.

I'll be the unorthodox one here: IMO the portion between 104th Street and 107th Street should be closed. It would be a great link between the activity nodes of 104th and Warehouse Park along with Alex Decoteau and would encourage the further redevelopment of the area with mixed-use towers or midrise buildings along with, which would further activate the stretch.
 

IanO

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As a pedestrian and urbanist first, I simply don't get all of this close here, there and cars=bad.

1. Stagnation of places, be it for cars OR people is not a positive contribution to the area. Let's focus on a few key areas like Churchill, 104st (on evenings/weekends), Whyte or areas off of Whyte, 124st side streets etc. I get that it is a bit of the chicken and the egg, but use pilots to show what is possible versus closing stretches because a certain Councillor or urbanist group thinks that it works very well in Vienna or Stoljkhom.

2. Single occupant into a parkade and then leave is not ideal, but a car with 2-3-4-7 people supporting the parking businesses in the core, walking around, spending,
discovering is not as bad as it sounds. Provide places for vehicles that are easy to find, well signed, clear about pricing and safe (ideally UG or concealed).

3. Begin the work to open up the 'walls' of these streets and avenues to create smaller CRUs, add greenery and keep it clean... people will begin to come and use the area and then build slowly off of that.
 

barhonda

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As someone who lives on a condo by 102ave, we need some sort of method to get into the condo parkade. I am afraid that closing 102ave to vehicles will create access issues to those living in Fox, Icon, Century, Encore. The back alley is already a mess as is trying to get vehicles through.
 

tkoe_

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The City has tried closing roads/making driving more difficult (see 96 street in the Quarters or 105 avenue behind GMC) and generally it has failed to re-energize those areas, but in this specific case I think closing 102 avenue could work.

Once the VLSE opens there will be more pedestrians being brought along 102 avenue everyday. This is like having a large commuter road dumping people out directly in the centre of downtown all day long.

Be forward looking and take advantage of this opportunity!!
 

archited

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As a pedestrian and urbanist first, I simply don't get all of this close here, there and cars=bad.

1. Stagnation of places, be it for cars OR people is not a positive contribution to the area. Let's focus on a few key areas like Churchill, 104st (on evenings/weekends), Whyte or areas off of Whyte, 124st side streets etc. I get that it is a bit of the chicken and the egg, but use pilots to show what is possible versus closing stretches because a certain Councillor or urbanist group thinks that it works very well in Vienna or Stoljkhom.

2. Single occupant into a parkade and then leave is not ideal, but a car with 2-3-4-7 people supporting the parking businesses in the core, walking around, spending,
discovering is not as bad as it sounds. Provide places for vehicles that are easy to find, well signed, clear about pricing and safe (ideally UG or concealed).

3. Begin the work to open up the 'walls' of these streets and avenues to create smaller CRUs, add greenery and keep it clean... people will begin to come and use the area and then build slowly off of that.
Actually, this is all quite misleading...
First, most of the parking currently accessed off of 102nd Avenue is not for general public use but rather for private developments (inhabitants of Apartment or Condo towers) and there access is easily accomplished via lane-ways (the common mode currently in use). A single lane along 102nd Avenue would certainly not help or improve auto accessibility. And with the LRT, bike lanes, and expanded sidewalks eating up most of the surface area there will be no room at all for street-side metered parking along the Avenue. The only vehicles that would wander along a single lane would be those where the driver is direction-ally lost.
And (to supersede your argument), for emergency vehicles, they, on the infrequent need to use the avenue, could command the bicycle lanes for limited duration -- in emergency mode there probably would be a desire to keep cyclists away from the emergency anyway.
Second, pedestrian ways that tie various other pedestrian-oriented features together are VERY successful when incorporated into a master scheme. Looking eastward Churchill connected to the Library, the Citadel, the Winspear Centre and the north facing plaza associated with the Federal Building would provide all benefit from additional pedestrian exposure, not to mention that the Churchill--Public Library knot becomes extremely dangerous when cars are mixed with pedestrians, especially when a major LRT station is added into that equation. Moving westward from Churchill Square, encouraging Edmonton City Centre -- in all its massiveness -- to open up to the street -- Urban Planning 101 -- would bode well for additional kiosks and pedestrian engagement along that 2-block stretch. At some point there will be a new hotel added to that mix with lobby lounges and gift shops facing the Avenue -- this will also have a major impact on 100a Street, making it a vital connection to Rice Howard Way. On the west side of 101 Street there is the continuation of City Centre which is about to undergo a major renovation and certainly will consider opening up to the sidewalk (very foolish if they don't!!); there is a retail base to encore tower; and the Boardwalk and Revillon would both spring to life if there was improved pedestrian access. And then we get to 104th Street, a few years back voted the number 1 pedestrian street in Canada -- a vital pedestrian connection here helps the whole street, including the retail connections in the Fox towers. At 105th Street the linear pedestrian way would tie Alex Decoteau Park into the linear line-up along the Avenue, and, further on, the soon-to-be-developed Warehouse District Park (needs a better name) and the re-imagining of 106th Street and 107th Street (tail ends). The next pedestrian tie-in occurs with new Norquest Quad and the associated LRT Station. Finally it could connect to the hoped for Grand Vista that is 108th Street -- the visual tie-in to the legislature Building and Grounds.
Third, this doesn't have to be end-to-end kiosks. This could be Edmonton's consummate linear park, where there is room for food trucks at nodal points where 102nd Avenue bumps into cross streets, where there are areas for rest and relaxation (yes planters and benches, which from now on I will refer to planbens), where there are dramatic fountains and water features, where there is sculptural art (including the connectivity afforded by "light" art along the entire stretch), where there are performance venues for musicians, acrobats and other entertainers, and, yes, where there are kiosks. This does need to go to outside consultants, however, with zero input from City Planning (other than a facilitating role). This linear park could partially be the hoped-for result that was the Warehouse District Park disappointment.
Chicken-and Egg be-damned, this is the Egg that could make downtown Edmonton hummmmmm. There is an Urban Design maxim for pedestrian streets that suggest they lose their oomph if they are longer than 12 normal sized City blocks -- these are all short City blocks. It then leaves the room for expansion of the the Concept eastward to include the Quarters. If this Pedestrian Linear Way is designed correctly, it will pull the entire downtown area together in a very positive way.
 
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DutchBoy

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I don't think I posted this here yet – I wanted to do a better job first, but alas, time is short. I looked through my own post history but couldn't find it. Anyways, in the spirit of showing, not telling, I wanted to think about what the very centre of the city might look like if we decided we really want to pedestrianize it and still maintain access for vehicles, since there is a real need for commercial restocking and private residents.

Here's a mockup, though I would change the stretch on 102 Ave between 105 St and the alley (left of the "D" on DOSC below) to be green like @Platinum107 suggested above.
  • Blue: already pedestrianized.
  • Orange: already sort of pedestrianized but poorly.
  • Green: should pedestrianized.
  • Red: shared road/woonerf zone.
I think this would retain vehicle access to every building while creating a solid downtown network! Happy to hear thoughts/feedback and to collaborate on mocking up something more visually appealing :)

1653949735766.png
 

retiredfire

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Actually, this is all quite misleading...
First, most of the parking currently accessed off of 102nd Avenue is not for general public use but rather for private developments (inhabitants of Apartment or Condo towers) and there access is easily accomplished via lane-ways (the common mode currently in use). A single lane along 102nd Avenue would certainly not help or improve auto accessibility. And with the LRT, bike lanes, and expanded sidewalks eating up most of the surface area there will be no room at all for street-side metered parking along the Avenue. The only vehicles that would wander along a single lane would be those where the driver is direction-ally lost.
And (to supersede your argument), for emergency vehicles, they, on the infrequent need to use the avenue, could command the bicycle lanes for limited duration -- in emergency mode there probably would be a desire to keep cyclists away from the emergency anyway.
Second, pedestrian ways that tie various other pedestrian-oriented features together are VERY successful when incorporated into a master scheme. Looking eastward Churchill connected to the Library, the Citadel, the Winspear Centre and the north facing plaza associated with the Federal Building would provide all benefit from additional pedestrian exposure, not to mention that the Churchill--Public Library knot becomes extremely dangerous when cars are mixed with pedestrians, especially when a major LRT station is added into that equation. Moving westward from Churchill Square, encouraging Edmonton City Centre -- in all its massiveness -- to open up to the street -- Urban Planning 101 -- would bode well for additional kiosks and pedestrian engagement along that 2-block stretch. At some point there will be a new hotel added to that mix with lobby lounges and gift shops facing the Avenue -- this will also have a major impact on 100a Street, making it a vital connection to Rice Howard Way. On the west side of 101 Street there is the continuation of City Centre which is about to undergo a major renovation and certainly will consider opening up to the sidewalk (very foolish if they don't!!); there is a retail base to encore tower; and the Boardwalk and Revillon would both spring to life if there was improved pedestrian access. And then we get to 104th Street, a few years back voted the number 1 pedestrian street in Canada -- a vital pedestrian connection here helps the whole street, including the retail connections in the Fox towers. At 105th Street the linear pedestrian way would tie Alex Decoteau Park into the linear line-up along the Avenue, and, further on, the soon-to-be-developed Warehouse District Park (needs a better name) and the re-imagining of 106th Street and 107th Street (tail ends). The next pedestrian tie-in occurs with new Norquest Quad and the associated LRT Station. Finally it could connect to the hoped for Grand Vista that is 108th Street -- the visual tie-in to the legislature Building and Grounds.
Third, this doesn't have to be end-to-end kiosks. This could be Edmonton's consummate linear park, where there is room for food trucks at nodal points where 102nd Avenue bumps into cross streets, where there are areas for rest and relaxation (yes planters and benches, which from now on I will refer to planbens), where there are dramatic fountains and water features, where there is sculptural art (including the connectivity afforded by "light" art along the entire stretch), where there are performance venues for musicians, acrobats and other entertainers, and, yes, where there are kiosks. This does need to go to outside consultants, however, with zero input from City Planning (other than a facilitating role). This linear park could partially be the hoped-for result that was the Warehouse District Park disappointment.
Chicken-and Egg be-damned, this is the Egg that could make downtown Edmonton hummmmmm. There is an Urban Design maxim for pedestrian streets that suggest they lose their oomph if they are longer than 12 normal sized City blocks -- these are all short City blocks. It then leaves the room for expansion of the the Concept eastward to include the Quarters. If this Pedestrian Linear Way is designed correctly, it will pull the entire downtown area together in a very positive way.

You must never have lived or worked in a building using a backlane to exit. They are not designed for two way traffic. If a car(garbage truck/delivery) are coming down the alley you have to change plans and go the other way. If a bussiness is recieving a delivery or someone is moving in the back alley is blocked. So 102ave being open still helps greatly.
 

barhonda

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Actually, this is all quite misleading...
A single lane along 102nd Avenue would certainly not help or improve auto accessibility. And with the LRT, bike lanes, and expanded sidewalks eating up most of the surface area there will be no room at all for street-side metered parking along the Avenue. The only vehicles that would wander along a single lane would be those where the driver is direction-ally lost.
For reference, how would a single lane along 102nd ave not help or improve auto accessibility? There is not a lot of room in the alley way. You add a dump truck collecting garbage in the morning, you essentially block off this entire alley. With 102 ave open, at least you can go the other way.

It's easy for people who don't live by here to say just close the street down. But you also have to take in consideration to people who are actually living here and not inconvenience them to the point where they will look elsewhere to live.

I am all for downtown vibrancy, and strongly believe that people who choose to live here contribute a lot to it. But I also have a job that requires me to commute and if I have to wait 15 minutes every day for this alley to clear up, I will be looking to live somewhere else.

back alley.jpg
 
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DutchBoy

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You must never have lived or worked in a building using a backlane to exit. They are not designed for two way traffic. If a car(garbage truck/delivery) are coming down the alley you have to change plans and go the other way. If a bussiness is recieving a delivery or someone is moving in the back alley is blocked. So 102ave being open still helps greatly.
I have, actually. I recognize there are changes it might demand. One Dutch city I lived in does commercial loading on weekday mornings before 9. They're allowed to use the front street bike/pedestrian areas for a limited window of time. That keeps other lanes free for drivers.

An ideal future city would also have fewer residents that insist on driving. We're definitely moving in that direction, and infrastructure changes will promote it further.

By the way, this was just approved in Urban Planning Committee and is now going to Council for a full vote:
P.S. There was talk of 102 Ave connecting to the new warehouse district park.
 

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