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Great Ideas for A Greater Edmonton Do you have an idea that you feel could help enhance Edmonton's image, profile or reputation? Small or large, dramatic or subtle, we want to hear from you! Community projects, solutions to problems, ideas about improvements to Edmonton, or neat new directions for the area, post them all here.


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Old 21-04-2012, 03:53 PM   #1
Shipster84
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Default I'm all for a great LRT system, but...

Edmonton's central roadways can be a bit of a rats nest at times. It's tough to consider widening a major thoroughfare, if its running past your front doorstep. Still, a comprehensive LRT system needs to coexist alongside a fluid system of arterial roadways.

Imagine driving your car, trying to get from Whyte Avenue to Grant MacEwan (downtown). If you're a seasoned Edmonton driver (which I suspect many are), you can imagine the challenges that await you on your chosen route.

While I'd hate to mar the beauty of the river valley with one more bridge, or jade residents along Scona Road NW by widening the streets, somethings gotta give. What are some suggestions to mitigate the negative consequences for a better central road system? Anyone?
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Old 21-04-2012, 05:09 PM   #2
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Change your lifestyle to not have to drive. Not for everyone, but works for me.
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Old 21-04-2012, 06:09 PM   #3
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Edmonton doesn't have bad traffic. You can get around this city very easily compared to others.
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Old 21-04-2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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Absolutely! Edmonton doesn't have bad traffic.
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Old 21-04-2012, 08:35 PM   #5
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Please define the "better central road system" so that I can understand what mitigation is required. Are you looking for 6+ lanes on Scona Road all the way back to either Whitemud or (preferably) Henday? Removal of the River Valley Road intersection @ Walterdale Bridge? Re-work of 98th Avenue? Some sort of thruway through the downtown to 104 Avenue? Paving the top deck of High Level Bridge? Simply placing a bridge across the river somewhere, or even widening a short section of roadway (without widening any of the other contributing pieces) won't improve the road system, and won't speed up your sample trip. If you need information to plan your improvements, start with Edmonton's road flow maps.

Since the primary negative impact of these measures would be a large capital outlay, I guess a mitigation strategy would be to increase the industrial/commercial tax base to pay for all of this construction and permit the City to borrow even more than they currently do. I suspect city transportation planners would have higher priority uses of such funds, though, than making it easier to get from Whyte Ave to Grant MacEwan. Beyond the cost, mitigating expropriation of land or even the threat of expropriation is very difficult - just as the PC Party Monday night how hard it is. Environmental impacts often can be mitigated. Depends what you're proposing....

FWIW - I did make that trip at 4:40 PM Friday (yesterday). 9 minutes. I was annoyed it took so long. But since that inner-city trip can take twice as long in similar-sized cities, I am not looking to improve that situation. It seems a reasonable amount of time, even if it didn't while I was sitting behind the wheel. I assume your trip occurs in the morning when it might take significantly longer. As ChrisD said, there's a good chance it takes even longer in other similar cities. Doesn't make you feel any better about the drive, but it should limit the scope of proposed improvements to the road system.

Sorry I wasn't helpful. Come up with a proposal to improve the road system, and maybe someone wiser can address your concern on how to make it palatable.
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Old 21-04-2012, 11:13 PM   #6
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Thanks FlyFlyAway! All good ideas. Agreed: 9 minutes is way too long for any commute in this city...

I appreciate your response. You were super helpful.
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Old 22-04-2012, 07:46 AM   #7
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Absolutely! Edmonton doesn't have bad traffic.


"Tom Peters, the author of In Search of Excellence, talks about going into an organization where a number of problems existed. When he attempted to get the organization's leadership to address the problems, he got the defensive response, "But we're no worse than anyone else!"

"Peters cites this sarcastically as a great vision for an organization: "Acme Widgets: We're No Worse Than Anyone Else!"...

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/...m/pt4ch18.html
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Old 22-04-2012, 08:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shipster84 View Post
Absolutely! Edmonton doesn't have bad traffic.


"Tom Peters, the author of In Search of Excellence, talks about going into an organization where a number of problems existed. When he attempted to get the organization's leadership to address the problems, he got the defensive response, "But we're no worse than anyone else!"

"Peters cites this sarcastically as a great vision for an organization: "Acme Widgets: We're No Worse Than Anyone Else!"...

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/...m/pt4ch18.html
Indeed. This seems to be the accepted response on this forum!

Panhandler problem?! "Just look at other cities ...!"
Traffic problem?! "Not as bad as some cities ...!"

We sat smugly as Edmonton was the first city of its size in North America to have an LRT, but other cities have caught up and surpassed us in LRT and subway transit.

We can't afford to be complacent; we must always look to improve ourselves.

Having said that, Edmonton is STILL a great place to live.
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Old 22-04-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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^^Is there some other metric, objective, or subjective comparison you'd prefer to see used to demonstrate that Edmonton has made a reasonable investment in addressing the issue at hand? I want to form my opinion around what a reasonable person, a reasonable government, would accomplish. How do you suggest I do that?

For me - and I'm guessing for others - comparing the impact on our residents to the impact on residents in other, similar cities allows me to give it a realistic "pain" ranking. Is my headache a 3? An 8? Why is that important? So I can prioritize the minimal amount of money, time, effort, and capacity for change available to Edmonton into the projects that address the biggest pain points. So I can (hopefully) measure the progress I've made, rather than pointing to some single or isolated improvement and declare success. So I have a starting point on how to address the issue, something that has worked elsewhere where I can ask whether their approach could work (or work as well) here.

A choice of continuous improvement by itself, with no context, tends to be a choice for no priorities and little improvement on the things that matter most. (BTW: I'm a huge continuous improvement fan. But improvement does require resources, and commitment, and those are in limited supply.)

Maybe this approach turns all cities into homogeneous urban facades - every city racing to look like every other city. Or that we chase after an ideal (or even an average) that doesn't matter to our citizens. These are legitimate concerns about always looking outside our borders. But at least it provides some perspective on our challenges.

Interesting that when the snowplowing issue raised it head, people had no problem comparing our "woeful" results to those of other cities. Why wasn't "let's do better next year" the best answer for that issue?

Feel free to take this to PM since it's off-topic....

In a vain attempt to contribute something useful here, my top ten list of comparisons cities (in no particular order)

Tucson: second city in state, revolves around government (air force) and education, resource-based economy (copper), typical southwest suburban metro area similar to ours
Salt Lake City: similar size, similar desire to be "world-class"
Tulsa: Industrial oil patch city that wants to be more but doesn't seem to know how. Chose American Airlines to be its diversification engine
Birmingham: All the things not to do in Edmonton....
Hartford: A small city with a former identity, searching for a new one. Much closer political outlook to Edmonton than other cities.
Raleigh: Recent boomtown - how do you manage growth? Very similar outlook on life to Edmonton, plus or minus tobacco and guns.
Omaha: Plains "major" city for its little region; similar regional (non-)cooperation challenges
Nashville: "When I grow up, I want to be like..." I'd choose Portland, but the comparisons are overused and, quite honestly, I don't believe the average Edmontonian wants a city anything like Portland. Sorry to say.... Now if only I could find things I liked about Nashville.

Since my travels take me mostly around North America, I don't know enough about cities like Adelaide (AUS), Wellington (NZL), Lille or Toulouse, (FRA), Porto (POR), Aachen (GER), or maybe a Kazan (RUS). But I'd like to take Adelaide and Bristol (UK) to round out my top ten, and do some research on how they address their challenges. For example, Adelaide seems to approach their new stadium about the same way we approach our new arena...and they're a sports nation!
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Old 22-04-2012, 11:49 AM   #10
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We should be making that commute by car longer by prioritizing transit and active transportation.
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Old 22-04-2012, 01:13 PM   #11
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^Who said the OP's drive was a commute? I know my drive wasn't. Would you suggest the City should make that drive for commercial vehicles longer? That drive for tourists longer? That drive for designated drivers longer?

I hear you about prioritizing transit and active transportation for commuters in many parts of our city, and generally agree. That may or may not preclude improving our central road transportation system. Depends what someone proposes. Depends if someone is complaining about the drive at 8 AM or 8 PM.
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Old 22-04-2012, 05:05 PM   #12
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We should be making that commute by car longer by prioritizing transit and active transportation.
It seems that one arm of City government has been doing that for 30 years, while another allows developers to build single family detached houses in far flung suburbs that are located in such remote areas that nobody would possibly want to take transit, even if they could.

Perhaps its time for City of Edmonton department heads to talk to each other and stop working at odds with each other.

Do we want transit oriented development or do we want automobile oriented development?
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Old 22-04-2012, 09:09 PM   #13
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There are certain roads in this city that need improvement/changes to facilitate automobile traffic. If these different roads are properly configured and the proper interchanges are built then I think traffic overall will be just fine in this city. First and foremost Yellowhead trail needs to be properly modified. As for north/south roadways there just needs to be better access through the river valley in the central region. As it has been discussed over and over and over and over I feel that the hairpin has to be changed and the brigdge has to be (and will be) changed to better accomodate traffic flows. Other than that there can be some minor tweeks here and there but as I'm not afraid to say that I'm a major advocate of LRT expansion as it is being proposed and as a matter of fact much more than has even been discussed. I see too often too many cars travelling down the road with only the driver in the car. I can only imagine what the roads were like if only vehicles with more than 1 person and transport vehicles were only on the roads here in Edmonton, it would probably be fairly quiet and peaceful of a drive.
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Old 23-04-2012, 08:51 AM   #14
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Edmonton doesn't have bad traffic. You can get around this city very easily compared to others.
Exactly.

But as to LRT/good road system, obviously we need to have both working efficiently. Problem is that until recently we have had (for good reason to some extent) an imbalance in this strategy (not to mention bike/pedestrain).
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Old 23-04-2012, 10:23 AM   #15
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We should be making that commute by car longer by prioritizing transit and active transportation.
We should break something that works in an effort promote something that doesn't? That doesn't make sense. Build out the LRT so it works, and leave the working road system in place.
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Old 23-04-2012, 11:42 AM   #16
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Absolutely. We can prioritize other modes over the private car where it makes sense, or downsize overbuilt roads where they aren't needed, but bad traffic is not a good thing, and does not improve quality of life for anyone.
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Old 23-04-2012, 12:59 PM   #17
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Indeed. This seems to be the accepted response on this forum!

Panhandler problem?! "Just look at other cities ...!"
Yeah anyone that comes up with that excuse should go to Australia and see how much panhandling is done in any of the big cities there. It is virtually unheard of. The people of Australia look down upon it, they will not support it, and it is not tolerated. It was absolutely great and it has a huge benefit to increasing urban appeal. Unfortunately people in North America do not have it in them to deal with the issue and many not only condone the lifestyle but actively support it.

It should be illegal, and giving money to panhandlers should be illegal. There are far too many people out there panhandling with aggresive tactics that are nothing more then extortion and unless the activity of panhandling is outright stopped then that it going to continue. The economic costs of large panhandling problems in major cities such as Edmonton are huge. People who have the say in where head offices are located and where money is spent on development DO have subjective viewpoints on the places that are considered and things like panhandling stick out like a sore thumb on the city and give a very sour impression of it.
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Old 23-04-2012, 01:01 PM   #18
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We don't have to make it illegal... just stop giving money.
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Old 23-04-2012, 06:27 PM   #19
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We don't have to make it illegal... just stop giving money.
If it were that simple. There are unfortunately people who do give money and they will continue to give money as long as they are able and as long as people keep begging them for change just to get the people to move on or so they can feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
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