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Suburban Development and Sprawl

EdmTrekker

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It's rare a London Drugs closes. I wonder what local changes have happened there ... Superstore moved into the area and can beat London Drugs on price ... is there other competition or factors at play?
 

Kurayba

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That store under-performed sales expectations from the day it opened. After opening, Windermere was still very new and poorly established, and as you say competition appearing as the area filled in certainly didn't help.

South Common is a much more lucrative location. Given the higher-than-average household income in the Terwillegar/Windermere area, it was thought that Windermere would match or exceed South Common, but it fell dramatically short.

Add in COVID pressures and likely increasing lease rates, then it became a good candidate for closure, to save costs.
 

jason403

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Yeah, our market will grow into it. Need more DT, high paying employers though and more limitations on cheap detached home construction in the burbs. As long as you can buy a brand new infill for under 700k, itll be hard to sell condos this small for 750k.
No offence to you, as I'd also hope that we could achieve more density. But demand is there for cheap houses in the suburbs, and not everyone can afford to have a single family detached house in central Edmonton. If Edmonton doesn't allow for development in the suburbs, it will simply shift to surrounding communities such as Leduc, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, etc. Getting the developers to pay a fair price for the land so the city isn't losing money on expansion is another story (so if that is your view on limitations on cheap detached homes, then I agree with you.)
 

Hugh Jazz

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No offence to you, as I'd also hope that we could achieve more density. But demand is there for cheap houses in the suburbs, and not everyone can afford to have a single family detached house in central Edmonton. If Edmonton doesn't allow for development in the suburbs, it will simply shift to surrounding communities such as Leduc, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, etc. Getting the developers to pay a fair price for the land so the city isn't losing money on expansion is another story (so if that is your view on limitations on cheap detached homes, then I agree with you.)
The cut backs on suburban development would have to be coupled with other strategies to avoid people simply buying in sherwood park, st albert, leduc, etc. Edmonton is still the economic and cultural heart of the region.

A good start would be to stop subsidizing commuting via car. That would immediately incentivize central living and de-incentivize moving further out. It's still way too easy and cheap to drive the half hour or 40 mins in from the suburbs to wherever the office or cultural event is being held, and all of the people and businesses who are located centrally are subsidizing it via their property taxes.
 

jason403

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The cut backs on suburban development would have to be coupled with other strategies to avoid people simply buying in sherwood park, st albert, leduc, etc. Edmonton is still the economic and cultural heart of the region.

A good start would be to stop subsidizing commuting via car. That would immediately incentivize central living and de-incentivize moving further out. It's still way too easy and cheap to drive the half hour or 40 mins in from the suburbs to wherever the office or cultural event is being held, and all of the people and businesses who are located centrally are subsidizing it via their property taxes.
But isn't that a luxury that we tend to enjoy as Edmontonians? Having short commute times is one of the best things about living in the city as compared to other major centres. I understand that your goal is to push people to public transit, and it would definitely work. Incentivizing central living also means people giving up single family homes to live in condos or row housing (so I don't see how this is better for most people).

However one of the best things about having a personal vehicle is the time it saves on commuting every day. Unless one lives within walking distance of an LRT station, and having a workplace/school that is on an LRT line, public transit just consumes too much time. Promoting a good road transportation network actually has a very significant impact on a majority of Edmontonians' quality of life.

I understand where you're coming from, but the war on cars just seems very impractical.
 

ChazYEG

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Incentivizing central living also means people giving up single family homes to live in condos or row housing (so I don't see how this is better for most people).

I don't see how living in oversized single family detached houses where you need to drive everywhere and a car is a must-have is better for most people.
I don't see how propagating a financially and ecologically unsustainable model of urban development is better for most people.
I don't see why shoving thousands of extra tonnes of GHG in the atmosphere is better for ANYONE.
I don't see how living in a financially insolvent city is better for anyone.
And yet, here we are.

However one of the best things about having a personal vehicle is the time it saves on commuting every day. Unless one lives within walking distance of an LRT station, and having a workplace/school that is on an LRT line, public transit just consumes too much time. Promoting a good road transportation network actually has a very significant impact on a majority of Edmontonians' quality of life.

Saving time is a relative concept. I miss the days in which I would take the train to work everyday and have 30, 40 minutes to catch up with any missed work from the previous day, or any important news, or even read a book, instead of being constantly worried with all of the stimuli of driving early in the morning, or late, after being tired from work. When I worked in the south side, it took me 20~25 minutes to drive to work and about 1hr to get there by bus and, were it not for the fact that I would have a very impractical 1km walk with no sidewalks, crossings, etc., which was uncomfortable between May and September, and downright dangerous throughout the rest of the year, I would've taken transit.
I resent the CoE and ETS for not making it possible for me and my wife to own a single car, mostly for pleasure.

The way you use your time is just as important as its availability. One thing that always comes to mind, when I think of this "dilemma" is the fact that, on average, Europeans have way more free time, are healthier, read more, spend more time in leisure than the average North American and, yet, they "waste" more time in public transit everyday. I wonder if the time issue is really a public transit problem, or if it is something buried deeper in our cultural background.

Also, your argument is kind of circular. If we don't have ridership, we don't invest in making in better and more accessible and, therefore, service is bad, slow and takes way too much time. It works both ways, though.

I understand where you're coming from, but the war on cars just seems very impractical.

You frankly lost any respect with the "war on cars" argument. No matter what we do in term of transit, active transportation, etc. The way our cities are built, cars will still be the prevalent force in our streets for decades, maybe centuries to come (if we survive as a species, that is) and this whole idea that there is a "war on cars" is preposterous. But if you wanna go there: we currently have lanes upon lanes upon lanes dedicated to cars, but threaten to take one or two and give them to pedestrians and cyclists and you'll see who's waging war on who.

The way you pose your arguments, it seems like people only use transit and active transportation because they can't afford cars and that, in your ideal world, everyone would drive and, therefore, they should be put in the bottom of the food chain and we should prioritize cars every single time because, of course, it is a huge disadvantage if the guy living further south than this city should've ever come takes 40 minutes to get downtown, instead of 30 so that the transit user can get there in 45 minutes, instead of two hours. Apparently, driver's time is much, much more precious than transit riders.

If there is a war on something, it's not on cars. It's on people and on the planet.

Get over yourself --'
 

Tommy2342

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Honestly, we need fewer cars in Edmonton. I'm not sure if it's currently permitted under the Municipal Government Act, but council needs to work with the upcoming NDP provincial government to put in congestion and toll charges if anyone wants to drive into downtown. That's the progressive approach that's working for many global cities. Then watch the development in the far suburbs grind to a halt, and developers will focus on downtown .
 

EtoV

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^^Exactly. War on Cars? Car manufactures and the O&G industry has spent the last 80 years lobbying against other transit methods, dismantling non-car infrastructure, and villainizing pedestrians/cyclists/transit users. They've had their industries subsidized more than any other. You can claim there's a war on cars, but I don't know why that's a concern when they have been winning handily since WW2, and that hasn't changed. What should be a concern is that they've won the war by so much that other modes aren't even possible to use in most places, people don't have other options even if they want them, and for some places it may be too late to ever be able to retrofit the low-density car-oriented design to allow for other modes.
 

EtoV

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Honestly, we need fewer cars in Edmonton. I'm not sure if it's currently permitted under the Municipal Government Act, but council needs to work with the upcoming NDP provincial government to put in congestion and toll charges if anyone wants to drive into downtown. That's the progressive approach that's working for many global cities. Then watch the development in the far suburbs grind to a halt, and developers will focus on downtown .

Unfortunately that's putting the cart before the horse. You can't implement measures like that before downtown is successful. Currently it's already a place many don't want to travel, a toll would ensure they never go at all.

It works in other places because Downtown or the City Centre is where everyone wants to be, but that's not the case in Edmonton right now. We already have trouble keeping business from leaving to the suburbs, and that would just push more out who don't want to deal with that. Especially in the current conversation around cars, the majority of Edmontonians need to travel by car due to decades of poor planning. People aren't going to choose to drive to the place that charges them to drive when they can get the same thing somewhere else for "free". For it to work you would need functional alternatives, and ETS is still far away from being convenient for most people.
 

Tommy2342

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Downtown after work heading south on 109 Street to the High Level bridge is already very congested. I can't imagine how it would be if we attract more companies to relocate downtown, and added thousands of well paying jobs. And let's not kid ourselves; most would likely drive to and from their office. Yes, the Valley Line will help once it opens, but it's just not going to work until government encourages people to take transit rather than drive. Hence, the road and congestion tolls to discourage it.
 

ChazYEG

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Downtown after work heading south on 109 Street to the High Level bridge is already very congested. I can't imagine how it would be if we attract more companies to relocate downtown, and added thousands of well paying jobs. And let's not kid ourselves; most would likely drive to and from their office. Yes, the Valley Line will help once it opens, but it's just not going to work until government encourages people to take transit rather than drive. Hence, the road and congestion tolls to discourage it.
I understand where you come from, but there are a few things to consider here:

1 - we cannot adopt severe measures like tolls base on very specific times of the day, in a single road.:
There is absolutely nowhere in Edmonton, at any given time, that has the level of congestion that justifies tollbooths. Worst case scenario you get what? 15 minutes of slow movement between 104 Ave and Calgary Trail/ Whyte Ave?

2 - There are ways to alleviate traffic without such drastic measures that are cheaper and would have much less public backlash.
It is not hard to make changes in some lanes, create some on-ways and end some left turns to discipline traffic, improve the flow and reduce travel times, all while not increasing road capacity or making it harder for people to get in or out of downtown.
Reducing the traffic coming from central, mature neighborhoods is also a very good way of improving on both sides of this equation. Being realistic, we can create good conditions for the guy in North Glenora, Westmount, Alberta Avenue, McKernan, etc... to drop their daily car commute fairly easily. Better bike infrastructure, more bus frequency, having a feeder-hub express bus model, especially to serve in the rush hours... These central neighborhoods are some of the densest and with the largest number of downtown commuters. If we take their cars out of the streets, we will have made huge progress.
Let's not kid ourselves: the people who chose to live in Allard, Summerside, Sherwood Park, etc, will never drop their cars, but we still want them to be able to come and go from downtown, especially for pleasure. If we toll the roads, we'll lose these people to the suburbs forever (and lots of business and entertainment too).
Tolls might be a good fit for the likes of London, NYC, São Paulo, Moscow, Tokyo, maybe LA and Chicago, where population density is insane, both inside and outside of downtown, but no Canadian city is at this point. Not even in the GTA or Vancouver.

3 - Some degree of extra congestion is also good for business
Congestion in downtown streets can be good for businesses in many ways. It can also be a good catalyst to further develop and densify the area.
Congested traffic moves slow, making sidewalks and bike paths safer. It also pushes people towards underground, or at least with exclusive ROW, transit (and blessed be Edmonton and our underground LRT in downtown). This, in general, will add more people walking around and moving by active transportation modes, which is inherently good for retail and hospitality.
Congested traffic also creates more demand for easy, convenient transportation and ease of mobility in general. To the original point of this whole debate, it makes downtown real estate more valuable, as it makes living close to work/entertainment more desirable. This, in turn, ends up spurring more developments, etc...
Obviously, there's a degree of congestion that becomes unbearable, and we need to prevent this from happening, but as an educated guess, Edmonton would have to triple its downtown population and workforce to even begin to worry about this.
 

Platinum107

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No offence to you, as I'd also hope that we could achieve more density. But demand is there for cheap houses in the suburbs, and not everyone can afford to have a single family detached house in central Edmonton. If Edmonton doesn't allow for development in the suburbs, it will simply shift to surrounding communities such as Leduc, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, etc. Getting the developers to pay a fair price for the land so the city isn't losing money on expansion is another story (so if that is your view on limitations on cheap detached homes, then I agree with you.)

Who said single family homes in central Edmonton? Plenty of ways to change the way a city grows without making a false dilemma between towers and houses. Some good examples:
Townhomes-1032x615.jpg
7254724.v.966c964a498edb2b0ee5672dcd79c65f.jpg
5287972.v.39755a09789f954c24f74219173ae2d4.jpg
dingdong4-png.336359

screenshot_20211123-171738_office-jpg.365051
inglewood-apartment-development.JPG


^^Almost all of those exist or will be built in central Edmonton

The idea of what a city should be needs to be asked and redefined in our North American context. I'm all for people having the option of a low-density suburban car-centric lifestyle and I think its a valid choice depending on profession, personal life goals, etc., but I believe that these places cannot be reliant on urban areas for their existence (as the situation is now).The construction of (most) suburban areas is heavily subsidized with roads, water systems, electricity, natural gas, schools, etc. from the local and provincial government to the point where almost all the private developers have to do it build the product (the houses) in order to make a profit. This is why houses are so "dirt cheap" in peripheral communities, and let me tell you @jason403 , maybe if you had to pay the true full price of the life you'd consider the "condos and townhomes".

But I could be wrong 🤷‍♂️
 

ChazYEG

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Who said single family homes in central Edmonton? Plenty of ways to change the way a city grows without making a false dilemma between towers and houses. Some good examples:
Townhomes-1032x615.jpg
7254724.v.966c964a498edb2b0ee5672dcd79c65f.jpg
5287972.v.39755a09789f954c24f74219173ae2d4.jpg
dingdong4-png.336359

screenshot_20211123-171738_office-jpg.365051
inglewood-apartment-development.JPG


^^Almost all of those exist or will be built in central Edmonton

The idea of what a city should be needs to be asked and redefined in our North American context. I'm all for people having the option of a low-density suburban car-centric lifestyle and I think its a valid choice depending on profession, personal life goals, etc., but I believe that these places cannot be reliant on urban areas for their existence (as the situation is now).The construction of (most) suburban areas is heavily subsidized with roads, water systems, electricity, natural gas, schools, etc. from the local and provincial government to the point where almost all the private developers have to do it build the product (the houses) in order to make a profit. This is why houses are so "dirt cheap" in peripheral communities, and let me tell you @jason403 , maybe if you had to pay the true full price of the life you'd consider the "condos and townhomes".

But I could be wrong 🤷‍♂️
I love you ❤️
 

jason403

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You people have fair points, and I do respect your opinions, so I do apologize if I came off as hostile. I don't deny that it could lead to a better city in years to come, however it likely isn't better for most Edmontonians currently. Encouraging public transit is fine, and I support public transit (as for some, it's more convenient and economical).

But why do you need to specifically discourage cars? I think it's that even you realize that most people will choose a car if they could. It's more comfortable, private, quicker, and allows for people to deal with variability and multiple locations to transit to. If you really believe that discouraging cars for more to take public transit, you could very well be correct.

I will admit, I thought this might be feasible as I lived in Oliver previously, and have a spouse who worked downtown. However, moving away from the core, and purchasing a single family home away from the core, opened my eyes a lot away from the perspective of a yuppie, and how the majority of Edmontonians actually live (especially those with families). I've also worked in Europe where I didn't own a car, and had been a user of a fantastic public transit system. I realize I may be projecting my own situation here, but I guess I question if the people who really want to get rid of cars could possibly living in a bit of a bubble themselves, and could possibly have a limited perspective (which is why their beliefs may be popular on a forum like this, however not so popular in a broader public opinion).
 

Hugh Jazz

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There are a lot of reasons to discourage private vehicle usage, but for me a lot of it comes down to the financial aspect of operating a city that is designed for cars. It's just not financially viable in the long term. It's incredibly expensive to build, maintain, and replace roads, and for some reason it hardly ever gets talked about. For example, the yellowhead freeway upgrades are going to cost over $1 billion, and what do we get for that? It's not even a new road, but instead a few new interchanges and the elimination of the traffic lights. And this kind of expansion/upgrading of roads will continue as long as we keep building the city in a way that encourages people to drive places.

As we build out into suburbia in a car-centric fashion, we build more roads, encourage more car commuting, and the cycle never ends. The problem is that as a city, we can't financially sustain this growth model long term. Eventually we won't be able to keep up, and the roads will fall into disrepair, or they'll start cutting other services to pay for fixing or upgrading the roads. If municipal roads were provincial responsibility, they'd just take on debt forever and fund it that way, but municipalities are very constrained in how they can raise revenue and in their ability to take on debt. So basically what I'm trying to say is that there will be a day of financial reckoning if we don't start to change how the city grows - of which how we get around is a key part.

Honestly I understand the attraction of commuting everywhere by car in Edmonton. It's so easy - the whole city was designed for it. Unfortunately, it's going to come back to bite us in the long term.
 

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