The city has unveiled its latest plan to revamp Jasper Avenue, one that sees the addition of medians and the removal of bus lanes.
The updated plan was unveiled at an open house on Saturday and incorporated feedback from the last open house that the city held in November.
Satya Gadidasu, project lead for Imagine Jasper, said several changes have been made.
The city is now planning a median at 124 Street with a pedestrian crossing on the north side of Jasper Avenue. It also incorporated medians with green space between 117 Street and 121 Street after feedback from residents.
“The other major change in terms of cyclists is at the 110 Street crossing. We proposed segregated space for cyclists compared to what we did previously. Previously, we proposed cyclists share the space with the pedestrians,” Gadidasu said.
The design also includes a three-metre wide sidewalk, 1.75-metre furnishing zone along with a 2.5-metre wide flex space. The furnishing zone will allow for trees, benches and street lights while the flex zone will allow for parking spaces and summer patios.
Signals are being proposed for every intersection along Jasper Avenue, and almost all designated left turning lanes will be eliminated where there are medians. Buses will also stop in the vehicle lane as opposed to a pull-out area; the city said reallocating the space from the bus lanes was necessary to create the wider pedestrian walkways.
Rosalyn Estoque said she is favour of more pedestrian-friendly Jasper Avenue.
“I absolutely love how they’re widening the pedestrian sidewalks and how they’re really catering to a more walkable environment,” she said.
“I definitely do love the implementation of having more medians. I do think they should have it all along the avenue. It does create just some nicer space.”
Carrie Hunting lives in Oliver and said the new design is aesthetically pleasing.
“I love the green space. I love easy access to the local businesses. I’m out walking and bicycling regularly. I find that Edmonton is quite vibrant and I think this will attract more people to get outdoors,” she said.
Hunting is concerned about how the flex space will be separated from vehicle traffic and the pedestrian walkways.
“I think the flex space is a good idea but as long as what they use to delineate the border of the flex space will make a difference in whether or not it’s attractive,” she said.
However, some long-time residents of downtown Edmonton take issue with the updated design.
John Holmes lives at 100 Avenue and 120 Street and uses Jasper Avenue daily.
“Currently you can walk downtown on Jasper Avenue easily three abreast. This proposal would see the sidewalk increase to the point where you can drive a tractor trailer down the sidewalk. That’s simply unnecessary,” he said, adding he is not a fan of the trees in the median.
Holmes disagrees that the new design will attract more people to Jasper Avenue.
“It’s got all the services already. The traffic is not going to increase substantially because you make the sidewalk twice as wide and take away a bus lane,” he said.
A demonstration of the preferred design will be temporarily installed this summer on Jasper Avenue from 109 Street to 114 Street.
A report is due to council in the spring and construction is expected to start in 2019. It is slated to take three years to complete.