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Keep 102 Ave closed to vehicles

tkoe_

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^ I'm not sure what this means. When you say "we" cannot support what's inside those buildings, are you referring to the city? I am not really sure what the cost implications are for closing 102 avenue, but the landscaping/street sweeping, etc. will have to occur whether the road is opened to cars or not. I also don't know how closure of the avenue will impact contributions to the EDBA, but taxes will certainly continue to be due regardless.

I'd suggest having a slice of that expanded pie and reconsidering!
 

ChazYEG

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We cannot/can barely support what's inside and abutting those buildings... so now spread those dollars thinner, outside and ones that dont have to pay tax or a contribution to the EDBA?

Sure we can expand that pie and that's vital for something like this, but for about 100 reasons this set up is simply not the place (right now).
Ian, the point is that of we don't do it now, it'll never be done, because this is a chicken and egg situation here... Without doing this, there will never be any incentive to changing the street in terms of retail and hospitality, but without changing the retail scenario, there's no point in closing the street.

I frankly believe that even from a purely mathematical and probabilistic point of view, the cost is immensely lower if we keep it pedestrian only now, than wait. Worst case scenario, it's cheaper and less disruptive to convert it back to a typical road, but it increases the likelihood of the other changes coming, so the potential payoffs are a lot higher than the other strategy.

Not sure if they already taught Bayesian Statistics and Game Theory when you graduated in Econ, but if they did, I'd suggest a refresher, and you'll see that from a very rational point of view, it makes more sense to keep it closed to vehicles
 

God

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It’s also been closed to vehicles for a while now. I’d argue allowing vehicle traffic again is the only thing that would be changing. Simply allowing pedestrians to access the area isn’t really a change at all as they would be walking there anyway. Not allowing vehicles to pass is what we’ve already done for a long time here and I haven’t seemed to see any large enough negatives in order to look at opening the lane as a large enough positive. Things how they are at the moment are crap but adding cyclists, pedestrians, and an lrt down the middle has to be quite a positive change for that area. Think about it, for the last few years it’s been rubble, construction and noise. No matter how you see things. Pedestrians, cyclists and the lrt are a very positive change here. All we are simply doing is not changing anything else by continuing to do what we have already been doing for the last few years. The changes happening are overall positive, which is quite the change here. There’s not a lot of overall positive changes that happen around here too often.
 

archited

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^^^^ Amen! You have restored the faith and most of us are with you. I suspect, however, that you will have to keep working on brother 'O... whenever the writing is on the wall, he tends to look at the floor.
 

fungus_eater

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Guys, lets keep in mind that we are essentially arguing about whether or not we should open back up a very tiny portion of a downtown street to car traffic.

Even if the street did open back up to car traffic, only "upward of 600 vehicles would be diverted during peak periods." once this opens (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/city-edmonton-downtown-avenue-pedestrians-1.6462047), which is a very few number of vehicles and so not really an important traffic corridor in terms of numbers. (Even prior to LRT construction, only 1884 drivers turned towards 102 ave within 24 hours in 2017 according to this: https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/the-pus...avenue-making-it-a-place-for-people-1.5683354, and that's when the 102 had 4-5 lanes of car traffic, the demand would probably be significantly less if it opens today as right now it would be one-way, one-lane traffic)

And plus, this street has been closed to traffic for quite a while already. Businesses should have already found a work around by now to find alternative routes and probably have already adjusted. So I don't see why it is such a bad idea to experiment and pedestrianize this one tiny traffic lane and see what would result. This is probably the only prime time where experiments like this can happen. Even if the streetscape did improve and more shopfronts facing the street open, more people walking along the street etc in a few years time, how many businesses and people do you think would be in favour of pedestrianizing it by then? It would most likely face more backlash than it would today.They would argue that pedestrianizing it would hurt businesses, it was a vital traffic corridor, would increase traffic congestion etc. etc. and many other excuses...

Before we let the cat out of the bag, we should support pedestrianizing it and see what happens.
 

JNO1

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I am on the fence on this. I think the much more important issue in terms of this street is what happens with CC East, CC west, Manulife and the BMO site. If the owners of these properties work together and with the COE to redevelop these properties and turn the “face” of each property to the street (rather than their arse ends as is currently the case) then we could have something special here. But the properties, as they currently exist, are a series of brutalist 2-3 story bunkers that are about as pedestrian UNfriendly as you can get.Add in some cafes, pubs and restaurants with outdoor patios, shops that open to the Avenue, attractive design and sidewalk amenities and we may have something. Closing the street to vehicles would then be the cherry on top of the sundae. But closing the street by itself without any changes to the existing bunkers will do very little in my opinion. Some pictures of the current “urban oasis” taken last week.
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IanO

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Bingo.

I'd love for someone with photoshop or design training to map out a few plans for where CRUs could be and where opportunities exist to create spaces that could potentially respond to the massive influx of pedestrians that will use this idyllic stretch.
 

itom987

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The was an old saying from the '90s that said you could shoot a cannon ball down a sidewalk and not hit anybody.
Today you could have a flash flood going down 102 St. and nobody would get wet.

I don't have high hopes for this project.
 

archited

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But closing the street by itself without any changes to the existing bunkers will do very little in my opinion
That is the incentive-creating aspect of improving the street -- it is the very idea that will move tenants within buildings to want to open their businesses to the street, landowners be-damned. Retailers and restaurateurs want people; people are going to be dumped on the street (102 Ave.) via LRT... if the street is improved, then the lingering masses will show the way. It is the same no matter where the finger gets pointed -- e.g. when the alley between Gateway and 104th was improved in Old Strathcona, the owners of the Strath hotel building were immediately incentivized to open up to the new "pedestrian way". They go hand-in-glove. Keep 102 Avenue as a useless, single-lane, one-way, vehicle street and that stretch of 102nd Avenue will have no-to-little incentive to open up to the street -- if that happens, welcome to Deadmonton!
 

CplKlinger

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This debate shows exactly why I think thr pilot is so important. It's just a pilot, if it flops we're just stuck with it for a year — but we'd still gain a lot of valuable insights about what worked and what didn't. If we can't even try unique ideas like this, then we'll never have any innovative ideas succeed that can really improve life here. We'll never truly know how this will go unless we try, so why not do it in a way that doesn't marry us to the concept for life? We don't know that a moving handful of vehicles are the best use of this road, we're just not familiar with any other usages. So let's fix that with this pilot, so that we can actually compare the two concepts with actual data and feedback!
 

itom987

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There is no need to experiment, we have access to the results from millions of trials that have been done in cities all over the world, and the answers have always been the same.
I guarantee that you will not get favourable outcomes unless you add programming which is just another fancy word for 'life support'.
A healthy street is a street that doesn't need programming to be healthy. Whyte Ave., and Jasper Ave. are Edmonton's best examples.
 
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itom987

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Archited, the 'build it and they will come' approach has failed many times. 118 Ave. (sports themed street renewal), 96 St. (pedestrian only street conversion), Stony Plain Road renewal etc. The only successful 'build it and they will come approach' has been 124th street, and that took a very long time. All those streets that have tried to improve already had better pedestrian friendly bones than 102 Ave. to begin with (minus 96 St.).
 

itom987

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102 Ave. already has its sidewalk infrastructure improved for christ sake! Let's see how that goes for year before making it pedestrian only. That will give you enough time to convince all property owners to get on board with pedestrianization.
 

archited

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^^^^ How pessimistic!!! First of all "programming" is not a fancy word for "life support". Second, just because the City's anemic efforts at street-facing "oh-look-what-we-have-done" efforts -- especially Alberta Avenue -- have failed doesn't mean that the fault lies in the notion of change -- rather it means that the City Planning functionaries have no f***ing idea what they are doing (and that is what has been proved over and over again in the failures that you cite!). Third, none of the streets that you have given as examples have LRT stations as a component of their structural being. If the proper consultants are hired, 102nd Avenue could be a gem. First, I would place the bike lanes next to the LRT right-of-way and extend the sidewalk out to meet the new bike-lane location. If I was in charge of the City (happily I am not), I would first fire the whole Planning Department and then rehire those who were willing to be simple guardians of Planning standards as written in bylaw form. Where 102nd Avenue is concerned, I would hire outside consultants -- without budget constraints and without the mundane pre-programming that the City institutes in all of its Planning efforts. When a concept plan was developed by the expert outside consultants, I would then bring in all of the adjacent landowners and get them to buy into the concept, both figuratively and factually. Nothing is impossible -- we just have to overcome mindsets such as the one you exhibit... I have a sneaking suspicion that you may actually work for the City (your colors are showing).
 

itom987

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I've been on forums like this one long enough that it makes it appear like I work for the city, but I never have! Perhaps I should charge a fee before giving advice! Alberta Avenue and 124th street both got the support of the business community. What was built was intended to individualize the street, it was the business community that made 124th street a success. In Alberta Avenue's case it failed because the street theme was sports and the business community didn't do anything to live up to that theme (no sports bars, sports stores, events etc.). They should have went with a neutral theme like 124th street. You don't see LRT stations becoming pedestrian friendly zones, they only encourage transit oriented development; which in turn, encourages pedestrian friendly streets. Not the other way!

Edmonton already did hire outside consultants for Blatchford, they came up with a fantastic plan that the city butchered to oblivion. The city needs to LISTEN to the valuable advice that is offered by consultants, and those consultants don't have to be from outside. There are many long-time forumers (15 years +) such as myself that have plenty of experience.

I'm glad you agree that we need to get the landowners to buy into the concept before moving forward, that should be the first thing to do. I don't have a closed mindset, just experience that tells me not to go down certain paths!
 
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