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Edmonton organizations working together to enhance downtown accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians

New infrastructure plan to be presented to city council in December

Five Edmonton organizations have joined forces to collaborate on a proposal aimed at enhancing the accessibility of certain areas within downtown for pedestrians and cyclists, according to a report from Global News.

The Downtown Pedestrianization Plan lays out a series of nine initiatives that, according to the groups, would enhance the overall downtown experience. Jason Syvixay of the Urban Development Institute Edmonton Metro emphasized their central question:“We centred our work around the big question: how do we create safe, accessible spaces that support everyone in our core?”

More sidewalks and bike lanes

Some of the proposed actions encompass the expansion of sidewalks, the strategic allocation of shared and open streets in retail zones, increased accessibility to transit entrances and the installation of additional cycling infrastructure.

This project was born out of discussions concerning the redevelopment of 102 Avenue, where four lanes of vehicular traffic were transformed into a one-way road to accommodate an LRT and bike lanes.

Longterm plans over temporary ones

Stephen Raitz of Paths for People pointed out that temporary road closures during summer street festivals offer valuable insights, though they come with navigation challenges. He hopes that their downtown pedestrianization plan can serve as a comprehensive framework. “Setting up a larger plan for stitching together some of the cool destinations we have with potentially either shared or open streets throughout the core to tie things together. But doing that in a more strategic and thoughtful sense,” he said.

Syvixay mentioned that the city is already making progress on some of the proposed actions, though he acknowledged that the efforts have been somewhat limited in scope and scale. Puneeta McBryan of the Downtown Business Association stressed that transitioning more downtown streets into pedestrian-friendly walkways will attract more businesses to the core.

The Downtown Pedestrianization Plan is scheduled to be presented to city hall during an upcoming Urban Council and Planning Committee meeting in December.