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  • High Level Line

    Website:
    https://www.highlevelline.com/

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...lley-1.4350604

    A local collective has a bold new vision for central Edmonton that includes a park that would connect downtown with Whyte Avenue.
    Architect Michael Zabinski, along with a group of young creative and design professionals, has been working on the High Level Line project for a year.
    Their proposal includes a four-kilometre park made up of pedestrian paths, a cycling network, and a streetcar to connect downtown to Whyte Avenue, putting a fresh, user-friendly spin on the neighbourhoods between them.
    "We are a city with two really awesome cultural centres, downtown and Whyte Avenue," said Zabinski.
    "And for the longest time, people have gone to Whyte or they go downtown. What's missing is the link between the two — the urban thread that makes central Edmonton one place and one destination, that connects the city's two centres and creates a dynamic experience between the two."
    The park would run from MacEwan University all the way to Whyte Avenue at 104th Street. The plan calls for a transformation of the North Saskatchewan River valley, and the neighbourhoods of Strathcona, Garneau, Grandin and Oliver.
    Looking south on top of the High Level Bridge.

    People would be able to walk, cycle or take the streetcar from one end to the other. It's an ambitious idea that would require a significant amount of new infrastructure, Zabinski said.
    "It's really about blending those three ways of moving, and creating an experience that doesn't sacrifice any one of them," he said.
    The High Level Line collective on Wednesday made public a portfolio of its designs, including park-lined pathways atop the High Level Bridge, an expanded Ezio Faraone Park, and a new multi-modal bridge at Jasper Avenue and 110th Street.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  • #2
    Parks are nice but I’d say adding more retail shopping, restaurants, etc. south of Jasper Ave along 109 Street should be a priority in tying together the downtown and Whyte Ave. The street car would be a fantastic way to complete a triangular loop bringing people back downtown from east Whyte or taking them there so they could shop their way west and north and back downtown on foot.
    Last edited by KC; 12-10-2017, 07:04 AM.

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    • #3
      Killer idea and design suggestions.


      Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by IanO View Post
        Killer idea and design suggestions.
        Hmm. That has the air of a backhanded compliment.

        Comment


        • #5
          nah...I think IanO's being sincere. It is a neat idea.

          I'm curious as to the re-emergence of the 110 street bridge. Now the old CP bridge was a nightmare in the winter, so this would have to avoid pillars on the road. Also, is there an expectation that the streetcar would extend over it?

          As for the streetcars... they are novel, but they are also a novelty. They are long since retired, maintained as a tourist idea by volunteers. Expanding this to fit the vision of this idea would require a lot more maintenance, infrastructure, employees vs volunteers, insurance, etc.
          President and CEO - Airshow.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RichardS View Post
            nah...I think IanO's being sincere. It is a neat idea.

            I'm curious as to the re-emergence of the 110 street bridge. Now the old CP bridge was a nightmare in the winter, so this would have to avoid pillars on the road. Also, is there an expectation that the streetcar would extend over it?

            As for the streetcars... they are novel, but they are also a novelty. They are long since retired, maintained as a tourist idea by volunteers. Expanding this to fit the vision of this idea would require a lot more maintenance, infrastructure, employees vs volunteers, insurance, etc.
            If if created a vibrant, profitable area I’m sure some sort of arrangement could be made to fund any added costs.


            It was a real pity that a couple decades ago when all that land on the west side of 109 st between Jasper Ave and 104 Ave was vacant bare land there were good infrastructure upgrade options staring everyone in the face but instead all we got was the slapping down of more development.

            They could have integrated the transportation infrastructure (rail and road) by one, adding a diagonal link between 103rd Ave to 104 Ave to the west. This would have split road traffic and enhanced the viability of all the real estate along 103 Ave downtown. Two, the old bridge could have been replaced with an above grade rail bridge over Jasper and following the old rail lines north but then turning east near 103rd Ave. to later connect with the LRT (say at the new arena station so people could hop on a streetcar to the Leg. And on to Whyte Ave after visiting the Citadel, City Hall, Art Gallery, snd now RAM and arena...)

            Also 102 could possibly have been routed north as well, or punched through to connect with itself to eventually have an express route along 102 from 124 st right into the downtown.

            Like the west side along 109 St south of Jasper Ave now, vacant land creates long term traffic routing options that should be considered before just dropping buildings on the empty land.
            Last edited by KC; 12-10-2017, 09:04 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Great idea! The streetcar route would be a good addition to ETS services if it ran regularly, and the development of the upper level of the bridge would fix the mess that the cables made on the high level bridge sidewalks. The Jasper Av bridge would also provide a much better solution to crossing Jasper Av as a pedestrian or cyclist. We would still need to get MacEwan to take down the ugly fence to connect it up with 105 Av and the rest of the North side though: https://www.google.ca/maps/@53.54824...7i13312!8i6656

              Comment


              • #8
                There is already a high level tram. I think to make it actually useful, just putting more greenery around it won't do much. It needs to further, right up into, say, Railtown, or a link at Corona or Grandin station. Or the build out of the LRT connector that was talked about. If this does that, then it its a good thing, but if it remains roughly where it is, a hidden gem, not much will change.
                Last edited by moahunter; 12-10-2017, 09:24 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KC View Post
                  Originally posted by IanO View Post
                  Killer idea and design suggestions.
                  Hmm. That has the air of a backhanded compliment.
                  100% support for this. That is perhaps the most critical linkage in our city and needs to be enhanced. I absolutely love it.


                  Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As much as I like the concept, the design does seem to have at least two potentially fatal flaws.

                    I love the existing street car. What I most like about it are the unobstructed views from the top deck of the High Level Bridge.

                    While the High Level Bridge rail deck could be wide enough to accommodate a multi-use trail and a street car, didn't the City just spend millions of dollars on suicide barriers for the High Level road deck? Wouldn't similar suicide barriers need to then be installed on the rail deck were it to open to pedestrians and cyclists thereby obstructing the existing unobstructed views from the street car?

                    The second flaw is that the Strathcona Tunnel is barely wide enough to accommodate the existing street car let alone a multi-use trail as is envisaged in the proposal. How could a multi-use trail possibly be accommodated in the tunnel?

                    I have emailed these questions to the proponents of this redesign but thought maybe someone on this board could also answer them.
                    Last edited by East McCauley; 12-10-2017, 09:40 AM. Reason: eliminate repetitive statement

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Proper suicide barriers extending out at an angle from the lower deck could also protect the upper deck, the top of the barrier would be near the level of the upper deck and 6-8' out, so you wouldn't be able to easily jump over from the top deck.

                      I wonder about the tunnel width too. It was designed for freight cars that are like to 10' wide and can be really long so they sweep corners - there will be some spare room with just a 8' wide streetcar, but I doubt it would be enough for a sae path - you would still need some space on the other side, plus ~6' for a minimum path, much wider if you want to accommodate bikes comfortably.

                      I really like the treatments at jasper ave, and at the north end of the bridge, although that one would be extremely expensive.

                      And while they say in the presentation that future LRT could be accommodated on the lower level, there's no way that would actually happen. If they do this proposal that's then end any plans for additional transit on HLB, just buses and a streetcar (of some kind) forever.
                      There can only be one.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That level of detail is way to micro at the moment... this is very much a broad conceptual plan.


                        Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KC View Post

                          If if created a vibrant, profitable area I’m sure some sort of arrangement could be made to fund any added costs.


                          It was a real pity that a couple decades ago when(...).
                          I'll snip the quote there because that is the only truth needed. The whole access from the south is pathetic, and a Walt Jr. doesn't do much else except give us a nice bridge with better load capacity. A couple decades ago...when there was the outcry for better airport access etc...and the urbanists were spouting off poppycock like "managed congestion" forcing people to transit...we should have done most if not all of what you suggest. At the very least...reserve a ROW.

                          Too late now.
                          President and CEO - Airshow.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by moahunter View Post
                            There is already a high level tram. I think to make it actually useful, just putting more greenery around it won't do much. It needs to further, right up into, say, Railtown, or a link at Corona or Grandin station. Or the build out of the LRT connector that was talked about. If this does that, then it its a good thing, but if it remains roughly where it is, a hidden gem, not much will change.
                            There is a decent connection at Grandin Station. The problem is that it comes once every 40 minutes, there's no transfer and it travels at barely more than a walking pace. I have no problem with the heritage streetcar, but I would rather see it augmenting a usable streetcar (every to minutes and twice as fast) on this route.
                            There can only be one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by East McCauley View Post
                              As much as I like the concept, the design does seem to have at least two potentially fatal flaws.

                              (...)

                              The second flaw is that the Strathcona Tunnel is barely wide enough to accommodate the existing street car let alone a multi-use trail as is envisaged in the proposal. How could a multi-use trail possibly be accommodated in the tunnel?

                              I have emailed these questions to the proponents of this redesign but thought maybe someone on this board could also answer them.
                              It doesn't. That is why this very idea was shelved a few times before.

                              Originally posted by Highlander II View Post
                              Proper suicide barriers extending out at an angle from the lower deck could also protect the upper deck, the top of the barrier would be near the level of the upper deck and 6-8' out, so you wouldn't be able to easily jump over from the top deck.

                              I wonder about the tunnel width too. It was designed for freight cars that are like to 10' wide and can be really long so they sweep corners - there will be some spare room with just a 8' wide streetcar, but I doubt it would be enough for a sae path - you would still need some space on the other side, plus ~6' for a minimum path, much wider if you want to accommodate bikes comfortably.

                              I really like the treatments at jasper ave, and at the north end of the bridge, although that one would be extremely expensive.

                              And while they say in the presentation that future LRT could be accommodated on the lower level, there's no way that would actually happen. If they do this proposal that's then end any plans for additional transit on HLB, just buses and a streetcar (of some kind) forever.
                              Agreed...
                              President and CEO - Airshow.

                              Comment

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