Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Walkable Edmonton developing walkability strategy

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Walkable Edmonton developing walkability strategy

    —Stakeholder sessions begin spring 2008 to discuss what can be done to make Edmonton a more walkable city

    As the City of Edmonton looks to the future desired by its citizens through the public consultations related to the Envision Edmonton, Transportation Master Plan Update and Focus Edmonton – City Plan projects, the concepts of healthy, livable, environmentally progressive communities emerge as a vision of the kind of city that Edmontonians would like to live in. Citizens are also expressing concerns about our current and future environment, our health, the design of our communities, transportation, and safety and are asking for change.

    Edmonton’s City Council has recently voted in favour of a number of new developments that incorporate walkable design features. They have endorsed the Smart Choices, the city’s smart growth initiative, which has identified walkability as one of its key ideas. A number of projects and initiatives of the City of Edmonton and others are working to give life to the concept.

    Is walkability an idea whose time has come in Edmonton? What is holding us back? While it seems there is substantial philosophic support and direction there certainly seems to be a number of barriers that could be addressed:
    • The bulk of Edmonton, aside from a few pockets, was designed with the movement of automobiles as the highest priority and this continues to be the main decision driver in most development. Can consideration for pedestrians and other forms of active transportation be moved higher on the planning ladder?
    • We’re a winter city…not Vancouver, so what can be done to enhance walkability year round?
    • A recent StatsCan study indicated 79% of Edmontonians rely on their cars to get to work. Many Edmontonians aspire to live in suburban, un-walkable neighbourhoods, in spite of growing awareness of the health consequences. What social marketing can be done to get them to consider other modes of travel or community designs?
    • There are big gaps in our regulatory framework (zoning bylaw etc.) between what would facilitate innovative urban planning and zoning and what can be achieved under the current regulations and standards. What can be done in the short term to facilitate the kind of desired development in new and infill projects?
    • While some of our mature neighbourhoods are very walkable in many ways (Chinatown for instance), safety issues prevent residents & visitors from fully enjoying them. We can build trails and sidewalks, but how can we ensure citizens feel safe in using them?
    • Accidents involving pedestrians are not decreasing, even given that Edmonton has the highest per capita number of traffic control devices in Canada. Parents are afraid to let their children walk or bike to school. What can be done to educate drivers and pedestrians to create a safer environment for those choosing active modes of travel? What appropriate infrastructure changes can be made to make pedestrians travel safer?
    • While we give lip service to universal accessibility, Edmonton is still a challenging place to try and get around in a wheelchair, a scooter or even with a child in a stroller. What steps can be taken to accommodate accessibility for all?
    • While more thought is being given to quality urban design and the animation of our streetscapes, much remains that could be done. What can we do to design and manage our public spaces to be magnets for pedestrians?
    Walkable Edmonton is a collaborative of City Departments and outside partners such as Capital Health. We are currently working on a project to develop a comprehensive walkability strategy for Edmonton. In order to present a clear picture of the work involved in giving life to walkability in Edmonton to City Council, and to have a clear plan on how to proceed with that work, the Walkable Edmonton Committee has hired Stantec Consulting. Stantec will be working in partnership with Glatting Jackson and the Project for Public Spaces to undertake the work of the project.

    The project team will identify best practices that are relevant to Edmonton as a winter city, work with stakeholders to identify gaps/barriers in research, programs, policy, funding or standards and develop a 3-5 strategy of work to address the gaps. Work on developing the strategy will begin with stakeholder consultation in the spring of 2008. The strategy will be complete by the fall of 2008.

    The walkability strategy will build on the work of the recent Sidewalk Strategy and in companionship with the Bicycle Transportation Plan Update the walkability strategy should be a big step in improving active transportation in Edmonton.

    For information on the Walkability Strategy, go to the project website.

    -- Ian Hosler

  • #2
    making this city more walkable is something that can turn us from good to great.

    Theres only really 2 areas I would say in this city that really meet this criterea and that's Oilver-downtown and Old Strathcona.
    A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

    Comment


    • #3
      ^agreed...and we really should expand that reach for both walkers and cyclists.


      Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

      Comment


      • #4
        Making this city more walkable means keeping the Jewish Community Centre as an urban service area rather than turning it into houses when it is sold.
        City Centre Airport is to the sky as False Creek is to the ocean.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have to applaud any effort to get people and their feet moving.

          I really think that we have to look at design here. Some places lend themselves naturally to walking and others just do not.

          You need somewhere to walk to , that is a reasonable distance and meets a need. A corner store , a coffee shop, a bakery , a pub , a library etc. This promotes regular walking and a social outing. All sorts of studies show that this affinity is important .

          I think that it needs to start close to home , where you live . If we had more imaginative planning in the neigborhoods to allow them to function as a community. Ie Higher densities , more small business , walking would flow naturally.

          Comment


          • #6
            i kinda wish that it wasnt against the law to ride your bike on the sidewalks. i think bike riding should be allowed. maybe bike riders must have some sort of bell or noise maker. bike riding in the street is awful in almost every street in edmonton and causes massive hassles to the point that it make bike riding not favourable.

            I think changing this would help "walk/bikerideability"
            be offended! figure out why later...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hull534 View Post
              I have to applaud any effort to get people and their feet moving.

              I really think that we have to look at design here. Some places lend themselves naturally to walking and others just do not.

              You need somewhere to walk to , that is a reasonable distance and meets a need. A corner store , a coffee shop, a bakery , a pub , a library etc. This promotes regular walking and a social outing. All sorts of studies show that this affinity is important .

              I think that it needs to start close to home , where you live . If we had more imaginative planning in the neigborhoods to allow them to function as a community. Ie Higher densities , more small business , walking would flow naturally.
              I walk everyday without any of those things because I live in a great neighbourhood with parks and places to take the dog. I've come to see more and more that you can't really socially-engineer people into being pedestrians; they will walk when they have a reason themselves.
              City Centre Airport is to the sky as False Creek is to the ocean.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by richardW View Post
                i kinda wish that it wasnt against the law to ride your bike on the sidewalks. i think bike riding should be allowed. maybe bike riders must have some sort of bell or noise maker. bike riding in the street is awful in almost every street in edmonton and causes massive hassles to the point that it make bike riding not favourable.

                I think changing this would help "walk/bikerideability"
                it would be great if more people actually used what the city considers bike paths.

                Here's a map to them - http://www.edmonton.ca/RoadsTraffic/...%20Map_web.pdf

                Also, what ticks me off is when theres a multi-use trail that parallels a busy road, and where do the bikers go? They still remain on the road. What's the point of building this multi-use trail?
                A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The interesting thing to me is that our mature neighborhoods, that were built before there was good traffic planning, are often more walkable because of this reason. If you have four way stops scattered everywhere in a Grid, it is maddening to drive through (having to stop and start everywhere), with lots of potential for little fender benders at all these intersections, but it sure does slow the traffic down, and make if very family friendly to walk around.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by richardW View Post
                    i kinda wish that it wasnt against the law to ride your bike on the sidewalks. i think bike riding should be allowed. maybe bike riders must have some sort of bell or noise maker. bike riding in the street is awful in almost every street in edmonton and causes massive hassles to the point that it make bike riding not favourable.

                    I think changing this would help "walk/bikerideability"
                    Cyclists and pedestrians don't mix well; allowing cycling on the sidewalk would not be conducive to walkability.

                    I do believe that cyclists are required to have a bell, but I might be mistaken about that.

                    I've biked through a fair bit of the city, and while some roads seem more "aggressive" than others (read: drivers on that road tend to be less friendly to cyclists), the vast majority of drivers are fairly courteous and understand and follow the rules.

                    ...having said that, it's the rare j-----s that drives through your lane like you're not even there that ruins your day.
                    Strathcona City Separatist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It seems to me that there are two distinct interpretations of the word "walkable."

                      There's the urbanist version which is something like:

                      Locating residential and commercial areas in close proximity to reduce car dependency and promote walking as residents' primary mode of transportation.

                      And then there's lux's and moa's version which is:

                      A safe place to walk the dog and the kids.

                      By the former definition, almost none of the city is walkable. And by the later definition almost all of it is.

                      Depending who you talk to, "walkable" describes two completely opposite views of city life. I hope that the city recognizes that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There are also places where walking is impractical and unpleasant. I'd put those multiuse paths along suburban arterials in that catagory. No one walks to anywhere there because there is no where to go and noone walks a dog there or goes for a stroll because the minimally landscaped medians, poorly maintained back fences and steady stream of cars going 65 are not really enjoyable.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by newfangled View Post
                          It seems to me that there are two distinct interpretations of the word "walkable."

                          There's the urbanist version which is something like:

                          Locating residential and commercial areas in close proximity to reduce car dependency and promote walking as residents' primary mode of transportation.

                          And then there's lux's and moa's version which is:

                          A safe place to walk the dog and the kids.

                          By the former definition, almost none of the city is walkable. And by the later definition almost all of it is.

                          Depending who you talk to, "walkable" describes two completely opposite views of city life. I hope that the city recognizes that.
                          I think the differences are that some people are realistic, and some people are not. If we stick a high rise tower in the middle of a suburban community, will the people in the high rise drive:

                          a) More than existing residents,
                          b) Less than existing residents?

                          I'm betting the answer is a, and I'm pretty sure of that, because I live next to a high rise, and have lived in one. When an underground parkade is easier to access than an LRT or the front door - the parkade is where people head. By contrast, a high rise, surrounded very closely by interesting and lively destinations (bars, restaurants, cafes, etc.), like our downtown will be when we get more people living in it, will get people walking around. There is enough immediate attraction to get people to leave the car at bay.

                          I think its a bit naive to think that sticking a few corner stores in existing communities (bringing the commercial to the people), will be sustainable. Will the little shops:

                          a) Become empty and derelict because they cannot compete with box stores, or
                          b) Thrive and take customers away from box stores?

                          I'm confident enough to say it will be a, and no-amount of social engineering to turn back time will fix that, like it or not. Niche stores/commercial have a place, and will work at some high property value locations, but won't succeed everywhere (as per much of SPR and Fort Road).

                          The new urbanite ideal is IMO fatally flawed, for it fails to account for reality, which is that people want box stores, but people don't want to live in the middle of them. People have different needs at different times in their lives, which is why our neighborhoods should not all try to cater to everyone, and why a walk-ability solution for downtown, or Oliver, may not work in Summerside, or Riverbend. We don't have to pretend that every neighborhood is a small little hick town with a full life life-cycle, where people spend half their lives complaining about the disrespect shown by noisy kids/young adults of today - we are better than that. I'd rather we try to be a big city, with stark diversity in lifestyle choices, reflected in contrast in neighborhood types. Different destinations to experience different things, rather than a homogeneous collection of little two bit towns stuck together. When I go downtown - I want downtown to be different. When I go North, I want it to be different from West, or East, or South. When I visit a mature neighborhood in the West, I want it to look different from a new neighborhood in the West. Lets make unique successful pockets that make our city interesting, not equivalent ones.

                          That's not to say we can't plan, or make things more walkable - we can. A suburban single / multi family neighborhood, where it is difficult to drive fast, and the view is interesting (i.e. not all garage doors), will get people walking about more than a single family neighborhood designed primarily for traffic flow / traffic safety (i.e. reduced intersections). Parts of Terwilliger are far more walkable than parts of Riverbend IMO, even though parts of Riverbend are far older, with more mature trees, etc.

                          Using the same thought process, we should be thinking about ways to make people in high rises walk more, perhaps through commercial or similar, before they can reach their car. In that respect, I sort of appreciate that my office building does not have built in underground parking, because it makes me walk each day. Maybe that's the way it should be downtown? I realize that is heresy to many, based on previous above grade Parkade horrors that have been built in the city, but I do think making people walk from the Parkade to the workplace (even if through a pedway) would give downtown commercial a better boost than isolating people in each new building or complex that we build.
                          Last edited by moahunter; 02-05-2008, 01:28 PM. Reason: gathering diverse thoughts into a random whole

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, I'm not opposed to a "new urbanite" vision with a few provisos.

                            In my neighbourhood, I can walk to my dentist, post box, gym (unless they succeed in tearing it down for "luxury" riverbank living with stucco, chipboard and IPEX columns), a convenience chain store that I use but could be replaced and I'd be fine. I can walk to my community league. I can walk to a pub\restaurant, and a chiropractor or something.

                            I can also walk my dog to the park.

                            I think this makes my neighbourhood highly walkable, but it only scores 15% on the walkability index. This makes me think the walkability index is goofy.

                            Anyhow, there are difficulties that I see along with moahunter. I DO walk to the dentist. I do go to the gym. I mostly ignore the convenience store. I've attended events at the community league. I would never let a chiropractor near me. And the pub is a "sports" bar and that just isn't my thing although it is well beloved in my neighbourhood so I should probably get over myself and give it a try.

                            See? It is good but I really want a pub without the sports. So I don't get what I want because my walkable neighbourhood only supports one. I could walk through a ravine to wolf willow - they have a similar little centre there - but no pub whatsoever. The idea of an evening walk - a nice dinner and a slow walk home through a beautiful ravine really appeals to me.

                            So I do get the walkability thing. But people come on here and they talk about walkability meaning I'd have to subdivide my house 7 ways. Yes; those are the numbers quoted. And in no way would that be worth it. Instead of walking through a ravine hoping for a pub at the other end, I would just drive the heck away from my condo-infested neighbourhood to enjoy some space.

                            So, first of all I dispute that our neighbourhoods are not already walkable - I do it all the time. Second of all, I dispute the vision - it is skin-crawlingly bad.

                            By the way, check out Marda Loop in Calgary if you want to see what Stoney Plain Road can become - and they do it all without an LRT through the middle of it...
                            City Centre Airport is to the sky as False Creek is to the ocean.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lux View Post
                              So, first of all I dispute that our neighbourhoods are not already walkable - I do it all the time.
                              I know what you're saying Lux, but I'd consider you (and your neighborhood) to be exceptions to the statistical norm.

                              There are no doubt pockets of walkability in Edmonton, I should know as I live in one.... that being said, there are huge improvements to be made, especially when it comes to developing new communities.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X