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  • The Way We Move Forward

    Edmonton residents see public transit, and transportation generally, as real priorities for strong focus, future action and ongoing investment in this city. We’ve heard it in the results of our latest citizen satisfaction survey, and we couldn’t agree more.

    In 2010, the City’s Transportation department will complete three major projects: the South LRT extension to Southgate and Century Park stations, the widening of the Quesnell Bridge and construction of the 23 Avenue/Gateway Boulevard Interchange. These projects alone amount to over a $1billion commitment which will help us deliver on a number of strategic goals identified in our Transportation Master Plan – shifting transportation modes by increasing transit ridership, addressing high traffic volumes and improving Edmonton’s transportation infrastructure for decades to come.

    Planning for future LRT expansion continues to progress across Edmonton. The recent public hearing on recommended corridors for West and Southeast LRT, as well as planning studies for LRT routes elsewhere, have reinforced the need for informed decisions that provide Edmontonians with the clarity and direction they need to keep on building a more accessible, sustainable city. Without question, sound technical analysis and a thorough public process are crucial to ensuring that LRT expansion is done properly and with due diligence. However, I also believe that Edmonton must put its long-term LRT plans in place now in order to further define the overall network, co-ordinate public transit with future land use plans, secure financing, and identify construction priorities to connect people and places in a meaningful way. I think we’d all like to keep up the momentum and make LRT expansion, and well-integrated public transit, happen wisely and well.

    I’m encouraged that interest in more active transportation modes is increasing. The Transportation department has recommended an Active Transportation Policy and $22 million over three years for a Sidewalk Strategy and Bike Plan that will make Edmonton more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. This includes more multi-use trails and dedicated bike lanes on city roads, important steps towards realizing our goal of a completely integrated transportation system for our city. Not only is active transportation a healthy and sustainable way of getting around, it makes perfect sense from an environmental and economical point of view. The very fact that active transportation remains a priority for Edmontonians points to the progressive nature of our future vision for transportation.

    We took significant steps forward this year in terms of key pieces of transportation infrastructure as well. The work that continues on the Quesnell Bridge and the completion of the first phase of the 23 Ave/Gateway Blvd. Interchange will make moving people and goods around the city much more efficient. Having roads that are easy to navigate improves the quality of life for Edmontonians, and helps create a city that is friendly to businesses and residents alike.

    Transportation is more than just moving people and goods around Edmonton with a variety of modes; it is about building essential infrastructure that impacts our urban environment, making our city economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. We have to shift our thinking from having a city that primarily accommodates single passenger vehicles to a city that boasts an interconnected, multi-modal transportation system. The LRT, buses, bike lanes, pedestrian trails and the infrastructure necessary to support a system that brings all of these together will help shape the future of Edmonton and foster its growth as a world-class city in which to live, play and work.

    If we don’t act and plan immediately, I fear that we could lose the momentum from the tremendous progress the Transportation Department is making right now.

    -- Bob Boutilier

  • #2
    LRT Swamp

    I have concerns that Edmonton has dove into the LRT swamp without adequate understanding of the operating budget and ongoing replacement cost implications.

    After all, a $10 billion dollar central hub network will serve travel to downtown Edmonton, primarily, and will attract huge operating costs, which seems unsustainable, to use one of the buzz words. I say unsustainable because the downtown core simply does not have sufficient employees and services to draw the type of loads that will pay for much more mass transit.

    I don't know if downtown Edmonton will grow. No one does for sure. I suspect that most jobs will tend to follow people in the great suburbanization trends started in the early 20th century. I note, for example, most retail left downtown Edmonton long ago and huge box stores and power centers emerge near the outskirts of almost every segment, with almost everyone who uses them traveling by the evil car.

    As we pay for more and more operating costs for the ETS, I see a dreadful picture of other services suffering, including, incidentally, our critical road system, which currently provides about 97% of our total travel (I use passenger-kilometers and exclude heavy goods transport that public transit cannot help with). Given the huge growth in bedroom communities in Edmonton's CMA area, one has to make several unrealistic assumptions to change this dynamic.

    Dreams of a massive LRT system with links between every two distinct points may produce visions of sugar plums for some; I hope not you. I see a huge drain as I strongly suspect, given a 100 years of experience in North America, that we will never come close to the utopian dream of public transit playing a key role in anything other transportation into the CBD.

    Our CBD employee work force has grown at a slow rate, from 48,000 in 1961 to nearly 60,000 now. That translates into 12,000 over five decades--hardly the type of growth to bet the farm. Though we have an important problem to solve, concerning our downtown, most travel, as no doubt you realize, does not go to downtown, but serves travel within segments. In other words, much travel for each person belongs to a circle of about 7.5 km, and declines rather sharply for each additional kilometer.

    Recently a friend asked me to look at Beaumont, as if that town would provide information that would change my mind about some matters. I found a population of 10,800 with 3,000 people of its labor force traveling to Edmonton. Of this number about 550 travel to downtown Edmonton, and nearly 2,000 travel to South Edmonton, primarily SE Edmonton. Many people work in Beaumont itself, work at Nisku, work at the airport, and work in Leduc. Of course, students likely go to school in Beaumont.

    I hate painting such a negative scenario, as I do agree that public transportation should play a larger role. In the context of serving suburbs, whether inside or outside our boundary, I would like to see more feeder buses, somewhat like Toronto's GO bus system, bringing people to existing LRT stations, to both ease the loads on our roads, and help pay for the ongoing operating costs, which exist whether we have riders or not.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by WayneJ View Post
      After all, a $10 billion dollar central hub network will serve travel to downtown Edmonton, primarily, and will attract huge operating costs, which seems unsustainable, to use one of the buzz words. I say unsustainable because the downtown core simply does not have sufficient employees and services to draw the type of loads that will pay for much more mass transit.
      Downtown does have sufficient employees, services, and residential. Not only that, it will continue to grow and bring other high volume nodes such as the arena complex.

      Following this error, the whole premise of your post is invalid.

      To add, thinking that building roadways is sustainable is ridiculous. Roadways do not generate direct revenue, have huge operating costs, have an impact on the environment, require people to purchase more vehicles (which is also not very sustainable industry at the moment–google "bailout"), and gives access to employment only to those who are able and willing to drive.
      Last edited by grish; 03-12-2009, 07:13 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        For the current Edmonton situation, I somewhat agree with WayneJ's assessment, and if we continue status quo of allowing continued significant sprawl then the LRT plans will most likely not be feasible. However, given the message I keep hearing from council, some citizens, and thankfully; from Mr. Boutilier, about making Edmonton a more livable and "sustainable" city, both the transportation and living model paradigms have to radically change. The question is whether Edmonton is ready/willing to do this. If the recent municpal plan of dedicating only 25% of the growth within the "inner city" is any indication of our so called paradigm shift, we have a long way to go I'm afraid.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think there is merit in planning for the city we want, instead of presuming that we have no power to shape the future.
          http://www.twitter.com/ckls

          Comment


          • #6
            ^I agree somewhat with both views being expressed here. I think the reality in Edmonton is that many pepple travel to and from work, or make other trips, without ever passing through downtown. I would feel though that many of these people will use their vehicles for travel anyhow, since the suburbs are ripe with infrastructure to accommodate this type of travel.

            I think it is generally accepted good urban planning principle that a vibrant, diverse, and healthy "core" (ie. downtown and surrounding communities) is vital to the health of any city, given demographic shifts (ie. creative class and aging baby-boomers) in the next 20-30 years, where many more people will need to live centrally and have access to mass transit if we want to achieve any sustainablility goals. Already 60,000 Edmontonias travel to and from downtown for work each day. It is also the home to civic government, post-secondary institutions, and our cultural facilities (possibly including a future arena complex). It certainly does make sense to make downtown/core our LRT hub. In the future there may be room for other "hubs", but right now there isn't.

            I would also add that other forms of mass transit would work well in a city like Edmonton, specifically "trams", which is basically what the low-floor LRT would be. We have the road infrastructure in place for this type of transit, and it would be easy and possibly cost-effective to run.
            www.decl.org

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Green Grovenor View Post
              I think there is merit in planning for the city we want, instead of presuming that we have no power to shape the future.
              agree.
              www.decl.org

              Comment


              • #8
                Not sure what makes you think I have an invalid argument. You can check the statistics. In 50 years the downtown has grown by 12,000 employees. That translates into about 600 new employees per year. Edmonton for a variety of reasons lost its head offices to Calgary, lost air travel to Calgary, lost shopping to the suburbs, and even loses some provincial government to decentralization. In the meantime, Calgary's central business district has grown to more than twice that of Edmonton's and has a successful LRT system.

                I acknowledge your suggestion. Using some of the space downtown for condos, which might have gone toward business premises, etc. certainly will help a little. I suspect, however, if we use Oliver as a benchmark, many more people will commute from the central downtown than those that walk to work within the downtown. If someone lives downtown, then they can have a short commute only if a job exists downtown. I hope, as do planners (?), that providing accommodation downtown will encourage businesses to follow. Will Edmonton have that outcome, or will it follow the gentrification of San Francisco with the well-to-do commuting to high tech industries in San Jose. Or in Edmonton's case, senior citizens who often like busy downtown areas buying up prime property with the money their parents earned for them.

                People can banter about words such as "vibrant", "sustainable", "livable", etc. but those speaking them and more importantly those hearing them had better listen carefully and know the thoughts communicated. Nothing sustainable about spending $10 billion dollars for a system likely to provide less than 3% of the total travel needs (measured by total passenger-kilometers of Edmonton). Nothing sustainable by ever growing subsidies for public transit. Nothing vibrant about downtown cores of high rises. What makes something livable? Crowding into a central core does not make things livable. Getting rid of roads and cars does not make cities more livable. Likely my ideal of 3 acres near a city with a barbecue pit, and lawn toys does not match yours or the slippery tongue planner who uses such terms.

                Let us remember that 60,000 employees downtown represent about 1/6 of Edmonton's labor force. The very best systems in Canada, which have gone well beyond what some planners visualize for Edmonton (E.g. Toronto and Montreal), transport about 50% of the employees into the central business district by public transit. The rest arrive by car or on foot/bicycle. So the central hub LRT attempts to provide a small part of the transportation solution.

                Cities that become national and international financial centers and head office centers experience above average employment in the central business districts, but most cities experience progressively slower employment growth in the central business districts. Few cities in North America have more than 100,000 central business district employees; even some rather large cities do not exceed that number of central business district employees. Cities that have the most success with mass transit have high populations, clusters of high density, and large employment centers easily accessible by rail transit.

                In Edmonton and its surrounding area, the fastest growth occurs outside of Edmonton's boundaries (Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Beaumont, Leduc, etc.), or just inside the boundaries on available undeveloped land (Lewis Estate and south). Transportation solutions must acknowledge this reality. By the time Edmonton doubles in population, the number of cars will have also doubled. No central hub rail system will change that, though a central hub rail system might help mitigate congestion in the central business district. I have concerns about spending billions of dollars on rail transit, going into debt to do so, and leaving other parts of our infrastructure to deteriorate in a grand experiment with little evidence that it works. If something major does not happen, by that time, our central business district might have another 10,000 employees, or so, not something that sustains mass transit, and makes sure that it can pay for itself.

                A not well understood phenomenon occurs when people choose living accommodation. Of course, commuting to work plays a role, but that role does not manifest just as dreamers visualize. For example, one of the latest cordon studies done by the city reveals the following about inter segment travel wrt to the westend:

                Sector Central Northwest Northeast Southeast Southwest West West 11.0% 12.2% 3.2% 5.8% 4.5% 63.4%
                These results illustrate a weak relationship. People generally work close to where they live, but more important, they seek services and entertainment close to their home location. For example, about 60% of travel of west end residents happens within the west end itself. LRT will not help with this, and may even hinder it. Note the small percentages to the southeast and northeast, and the rather modest percentages to downtown and the Northwest, two of the major activity centers for the city.

                These sort of percentages play out in most other cities, whether in the Americas, Europe, or the the far east. Planners and dreamers have tried to change things, but unless people live in a totalitarian state, central planners and dreamers usually fail. Most people will gravitate to jobs close by, but a significant portion will work in unpredictable places depending upon the types of industries and types of skills.

                The multi-billion dollar central hub rail system will not help to get people not living on one of its routes, to work, to shopping, to entertainment, or even to church on time. These systems, will, however, earn more Hayes points for its empire builders, and perhaps help to win some elections for politicians.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Agree to what?

                  Originally posted by GreenSPACE View Post
                  Originally posted by Green Grovenor View Post
                  I think there is merit in planning for the city we want, instead of presuming that we have no power to shape the future.
                  agree.
                  The question revolves about vision. Some people think Edmonton should have higher density. How high? Others, such as myself, prefer neighbourhoods with density on the order of 2,500 people per square kilometre with the distributed services, and with some mass transportation into central hubs. I think both groups agree that cities should not become riddled with tangled freeways cutting through the centre of town. Some people unfortunately think that replacing a freeway with a train track or two meets some sort of acceptability criterion.

                  The poster child for urban sprawl, Los Angeles, has the highest urban density in North America! Believe it or not, even higher than New York City's urban area. So should we endeavour to become more like LA or New York? Both cities have reputations for huge congestion. Reason? Urban sprawl? High density? Or perhaps the sheer volume of people in the urban area trying to move back and forth? Manhattan, for example, has about 1.8 million residents, but during the day it has about 2.5 million employees. Talk about a pulsating borough that swells during the day and recedes at night.

                  Many people proclaim that high density cures woes of the modern urban areas. Claims such as low taxes, easier transportation, vibrant down towns punctuate the rhetoric. A smaller group, usually of a libertarian bent, produces statistical evidence to refute such claims. Still others do no analysis and simply like the freedom of cars and don't think about the future.

                  I know not, the best form. Sometimes I perform thought experiments. Suppose as if by magic, WEM did not exist. That would mean that 50,000 people per day would need to shop elsewhere, and 23,000 people would need to work elsewhere. Suppose elsewhere became central Edmonton, for after all, WEM helped to destroy the retail trade downtown. So now, a substantial portion of people living near WEM need to both work and shop downtown. Does that make things better or worse? In my mind not at all clear that moving the shopping downtown would lower the carbon footprint, collect more city taxes, and lower the City's transportation cost. Would it really make Edmonton more vibrant? What happens if systematically each and every suburban mall got removed and replaced by something downtown. Possible? Sensible? Economic? I think not.

                  So it boils down not to rigidly keeping the status quo, but rather to asking the tough question whether this or that transformational vision makes any sense. From an accounting perspective I wonder out loud if even attempting to move in the direction of higher density has the property of sustainability, as the city simply cannot afford the billions of dollars to move forward on transportation visions. The need for money for LRT and electrical energy alone will likely create serious bottlenecks, especially as electrical energy supply dwindles (All energy supplies have limits and shortages of one create greater demands for others.)

                  As I can cast my mind back to the 50's and remember streetcars out of the ying-yang queued up in traffic jams on Jasper Avenue. Toronto, BTW, has similar pictures. The ambitious can locate pictures in Edmonton's archives or on the internet. Does the peny-wise savings using surface rail compensate for the pound losses of LRT congestion? Visionaries should think about that. Maybe Edmonton has one of those premature problems. Perhaps Edmonton needs to grow some more, and develop a few of the dreaded problems before addressing problems that may or may not occur.

                  As a second example, from my own experience, I use Thorncliffe Park, (one of Canada's first TOD developments), which accounts for five years of my life. I lived in Thorncliffe Park in Toronto , and some of my friends lived in St. James Town. At the time Thorncliffe Park had about 14,000 people in a ring of high rises sitting in 1/16th a square mile. St. James Town had about 16,000 people with similar size and density.. Thorncliffe Park had a reasonable shopping mall, at least for grocery shopping. It performed well as about have its residents used public transit for the work commute: I would say “Great for public transit, especially in the rush hour, and great for the singles or new families with no children, with spare change to get away in the evenings” Thorncliffe Park had a immodest density of about 250,000 people per square mile- about 25 times that of Oliver. It had more concrete to satisfy a lifetime of craving. But it did have a TOD park in the middle!

                  In time the predictable happens. Tenants do not treat property as their own, landlords use their properties as a source of cash flow, and slowly the neighborhoods deteriorate with early renters moving to greener pastures, and the less fortunate taking up residence in the slowly deteriorating apartment buildings. (South Chicago in the 60's had miles upon miles of deteriorating 20 story apartment buildings--I wonder if they still exist.)

                  So, even as I ignore the predictable force driving the price of accommodation up, I find myself highly sceptical about the claims of the higher density, made by smart growth advocates. I note that renters normally accompany higher density and home ownership accompanies single detached homes. For sure, single detached homes require more space, but does that create a problem? Often that additional space provides room for children to play, and adults to enjoy the out-doors. In addition, these neighbourhoods give rise to strip malls and the occasional suburban mall, that create a local living atmosphere in which most travel consists of short hops. Often doctors, dentists, lawyers choose business locations to help meet the service requirements of neighbourhoods. Some neighbourhoods even acquire sport bars, and other neighbourhoods meeting places.

                  I do not presume we have no ability to shape the future. Instead I join the many people who think the people with their high density, smart growth, rhetoric and who use nebulous terms such as "liveability" and "vibrant" (whatever they mean by those terms) simply have the wrong vision. At least, I do not agree with that vision. In short the smart growth advocates IMO seem to have a nebulous goal with little justification other than making proclamations made by unknown individuals who have not done research that others accept, even after detailed investigations of the underlying data.

                  Unfortunately both the pro and con tend to use averages, and too often neither group looks into the suitability of averages. (E.g. using a population average over Edmonton's metropolitan area to calculate density makes no sense. Similarly, and average over Vancouver's area using its legal boundaries does not make sense.) One has to look at details such as geography, placement of natural parks, obstacles to transportation, etc. and not simple averages, even after taking care to use urban averages and not some of the more readily available averages.

                  Before accepting a goal of high density, I would like to hear a well articulated exposition of the functions performed by Edmonton, and how those functions contribute to the well being of its citizens. What strengths does Edmonton have, and what weaknesses? How much does this or that vision cost? How does function and form match up? Chalking up opposition to higher density and maintenance of the auto culture, does not necessarily present a Luddite mentality, but rather it tries to look at a future and how the City might negotiate a hundred years of growth (or even decline.)

                  Accepting the smart growth rhetoric can amount to one of the most dumb things the citizens of a city can do, especially when smart growth addicts try to cripple air transportation, auto transportation, use prime retail space for housing instead of commerce, and create crippling transportation visions without caring for the interim care and feeding of existing infrastructure.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So all this post above was about keeping a small undersized airport open in the midst of a downtown? Good grief.
                    A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WayneJ View Post
                      Originally posted by GreenSPACE View Post
                      Originally posted by Green Grovenor View Post
                      I think there is merit in planning for the city we want, instead of presuming that we have no power to shape the future.
                      agree.
                      The question revolves about vision. Some people think Edmonton should have higher density. How high? Others, such as myself, prefer neighbourhoods with density on the order of 2,500 people per square kilometre with the distributed services, and with some mass transportation into central hubs. I think both groups agree that cities should not become riddled with tangled freeways cutting through the centre of town. Some people unfortunately think that replacing a freeway with a train track or two meets some sort of acceptability criterion.

                      The poster child for urban sprawl, Los Angeles, has the highest urban density in North America! Believe it or not, even higher than New York City's urban area. So should we endeavour to become more like LA or New York? Both cities have reputations for huge congestion. Reason? Urban sprawl? High density? Or perhaps the sheer volume of people in the urban area trying to move back and forth? Manhattan, for example, has about 1.8 million residents, but during the day it has about 2.5 million employees. Talk about a pulsating borough that swells during the day and recedes at night.

                      Many people proclaim that high density cures woes of the modern urban areas. Claims such as low taxes, easier transportation, vibrant down towns punctuate the rhetoric. A smaller group, usually of a libertarian bent, produces statistical evidence to refute such claims. Still others do no analysis and simply like the freedom of cars and don't think about the future.

                      I know not, the best form. Sometimes I perform thought experiments. Suppose as if by magic, WEM did not exist. That would mean that 50,000 people per day would need to shop elsewhere, and 23,000 people would need to work elsewhere. Suppose elsewhere became central Edmonton, for after all, WEM helped to destroy the retail trade downtown. So now, a substantial portion of people living near WEM need to both work and shop downtown. Does that make things better or worse? In my mind not at all clear that moving the shopping downtown would lower the carbon footprint, collect more city taxes, and lower the City's transportation cost. Would it really make Edmonton more vibrant? What happens if systematically each and every suburban mall got removed and replaced by something downtown. Possible? Sensible? Economic? I think not.

                      So it boils down not to rigidly keeping the status quo, but rather to asking the tough question whether this or that transformational vision makes any sense. From an accounting perspective I wonder out loud if even attempting to move in the direction of higher density has the property of sustainability, as the city simply cannot afford the billions of dollars to move forward on transportation visions. The need for money for LRT and electrical energy alone will likely create serious bottlenecks, especially as electrical energy supply dwindles (All energy supplies have limits and shortages of one create greater demands for others.)

                      As I can cast my mind back to the 50's and remember streetcars out of the ying-yang queued up in traffic jams on Jasper Avenue. Toronto, BTW, has similar pictures. The ambitious can locate pictures in Edmonton's archives or on the internet. Does the peny-wise savings using surface rail compensate for the pound losses of LRT congestion? Visionaries should think about that. Maybe Edmonton has one of those premature problems. Perhaps Edmonton needs to grow some more, and develop a few of the dreaded problems before addressing problems that may or may not occur.

                      As a second example, from my own experience, I use Thorncliffe Park, (one of Canada's first TOD developments), which accounts for five years of my life. I lived in Thorncliffe Park in Toronto , and some of my friends lived in St. James Town. At the time Thorncliffe Park had about 14,000 people in a ring of high rises sitting in 1/16th a square mile. St. James Town had about 16,000 people with similar size and density.. Thorncliffe Park had a reasonable shopping mall, at least for grocery shopping. It performed well as about have its residents used public transit for the work commute: I would say “Great for public transit, especially in the rush hour, and great for the singles or new families with no children, with spare change to get away in the evenings” Thorncliffe Park had a immodest density of about 250,000 people per square mile- about 25 times that of Oliver. It had more concrete to satisfy a lifetime of craving. But it did have a TOD park in the middle!

                      In time the predictable happens. Tenants do not treat property as their own, landlords use their properties as a source of cash flow, and slowly the neighborhoods deteriorate with early renters moving to greener pastures, and the less fortunate taking up residence in the slowly deteriorating apartment buildings. (South Chicago in the 60's had miles upon miles of deteriorating 20 story apartment buildings--I wonder if they still exist.)

                      So, even as I ignore the predictable force driving the price of accommodation up, I find myself highly sceptical about the claims of the higher density, made by smart growth advocates. I note that renters normally accompany higher density and home ownership accompanies single detached homes. For sure, single detached homes require more space, but does that create a problem? Often that additional space provides room for children to play, and adults to enjoy the out-doors. In addition, these neighbourhoods give rise to strip malls and the occasional suburban mall, that create a local living atmosphere in which most travel consists of short hops. Often doctors, dentists, lawyers choose business locations to help meet the service requirements of neighbourhoods. Some neighbourhoods even acquire sport bars, and other neighbourhoods meeting places.

                      I do not presume we have no ability to shape the future. Instead I join the many people who think the people with their high density, smart growth, rhetoric and who use nebulous terms such as "liveability" and "vibrant" (whatever they mean by those terms) simply have the wrong vision. At least, I do not agree with that vision. In short the smart growth advocates IMO seem to have a nebulous goal with little justification other than making proclamations made by unknown individuals who have not done research that others accept, even after detailed investigations of the underlying data.

                      Unfortunately both the pro and con tend to use averages, and too often neither group looks into the suitability of averages. (E.g. using a population average over Edmonton's metropolitan area to calculate density makes no sense. Similarly, and average over Vancouver's area using its legal boundaries does not make sense.) One has to look at details such as geography, placement of natural parks, obstacles to transportation, etc. and not simple averages, even after taking care to use urban averages and not some of the more readily available averages.

                      Before accepting a goal of high density, I would like to hear a well articulated exposition of the functions performed by Edmonton, and how those functions contribute to the well being of its citizens. What strengths does Edmonton have, and what weaknesses? How much does this or that vision cost? How does function and form match up? Chalking up opposition to higher density and maintenance of the auto culture, does not necessarily present a Luddite mentality, but rather it tries to look at a future and how the City might negotiate a hundred years of growth (or even decline.)

                      Accepting the smart growth rhetoric can amount to one of the most dumb things the citizens of a city can do, especially when smart growth addicts try to cripple air transportation, auto transportation, use prime retail space for housing instead of commerce, and create crippling transportation visions without caring for the interim care and feeding of existing infrastructure.
                      an awful lot of text - again - to try and get around the fact that you are asking others to to accept your positions despite providing absolutley nothing but "a nebulous goal with little justification" based on "proclamations made by unknown individuals who have not done research that others accept, even after detailed investigations of the underlying data" yourself... WayneJ meet pot, pot meet kettle, kettle meet prerunr, prerunr meet John H?

                      one would think that someone with such a fertile imagination would have no problem envisioning an edmonton without a city centre airport (something imminently achievable without "crippling air transportation" in the least) instead of imagining wem magically going "poof" like puff the magic dragon...
                      Last edited by kcantor; 08-08-2010, 04:31 PM. Reason: typo
                      "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The reaction has set in. Outside the world of C2E, I hear a LOT of grumbling about the direction the city has taken. My own suspicion is that the Koziaks will take over.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ^ Must depend on your circles. In mine, I get the feeling of exactly the opposite.
                          Strathcona City Separatist

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wayne makes good points, and I agree with many of them. Not all density is good. Of course, the airport needs to go and his message was quickly lost as soon as his pro-airport lines came out.

                            One area I disagree with is the need to let a problem develop before we fix it. Well, as much as I love my autos (as do a few hundred thousand E-towners), as we grow in population, we won't be able to magically widen every road from two to four, and from four to six, and so on lanes. We have laid excellent groundwork for roadways in Edmonton. Finish the inner ring road and erect another couple bridges over the river, and we're looking pretty good, and can maintain and refit where necessary. But we need to to develop mass-transit alternatives to keep our good roads, well, good. If we fail to think about the future, we'll eventually have gridlock out of sheer growth. Nobody wants that.
                            "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Wayne, it's a pleasure to meet someone else who also questions the rhetoric.

                              There are a lot of people out there who think that Edmonton needs to be more like other cities in order to grow. Personally, I think they are still living in the 70's. They still believe the suburbs exist to feed workers into the downtown core. They do not take into account the last 30 years of deregulation and globalization. Edmonton's future as a business center is limited, given its relative location. But its future as a transportation hub is bright.

                              If we could stop looking at Calgary for 10 minutes, and look north, east, and west, and see ourselves in the center of that region, we'd be much better off.

                              But no, according to the rhetoric, we need 50 story office towers, an LRT to all corners, and one big airport, because that's what Calgary has. However, unless we can move Jasper and the Rocky Mountains 200 km east, we will never have everything Calgary has. So why are we even trying to compete on their terms?

                              Edmonton is located at a crossroads, always has been. We need to concentrate more on moving people and goods north, west, and east and less about moving them between the suburbs and downtown. We need to focus on developing transportation technology and not "pie in the sky" nanotech.

                              I am a "white collar" worker, but I accept that Edmonton is a "blue collar" town. My dream home is warehouse conversion downtown, but I can relate to those who want the 3 bedroom with a back yard and a school down the street. And I can relate to those whose Monday morning (or Sunday night) is a trip to Fort Mac. Driving an hour south to fly north makes no sense to me. Never has.

                              Consolidation of air service at YEG did not make sense to me in 92 nor in 95. My thought was simple; if you force people to head south on Highway 2 to get air service, you can't count on them stopping before Leduc. So I always supported the Namao option; embrace the north and the polar routes and create separation between YYC and Edmonton's airport. But that didn't happen, and I really, really hate to say "told you so".

                              I don't want to be saying "told you so" in 2025. YEG is a lame duck, LRT to the northwest and southeast is not much better. Neither will ever fly far. So fix the potholes in the existing roads, embrace and expand all the airports in the area, and finish the ring roads. Then we'll have the transportation infrastructure. Allow the "infill" of the space between Stony Plain, St. Albert, Fort Sask., Sherwood Park, Beaumont, Leduc, and Devon with single family homes and we might achieve the "critical mass" to make the Edmonton region something to behold.

                              Fixating on the downtown core is a short-sighted goal. We need to look at what makes Edmonton different, and play to that. I don't need cheap flights to Europe, the Lower 48, or Hawaii (subsidized by the Edmonton to Calgary and Vancouver traffic) to make Edmonton attractive. I want more Boston Pizzas, more Booster Juices, more Wardairs. I will not settle for trying to keep pace with Calgary. Been there, done that, I want more.
                              Trying to change the world, one mind at a time.

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