The City of Edmonton is creating an Open Space and Public Realm Strategy for the Whyte Avenue corridor between 99 St and 109 St. The strategy provides a future vision for the public lands in the area. These public lands include the road right of way and sidewalks on Whyte Avenue and the expansive gravel parking lot along the east side of Gateway Boulevard. The final recommendations of the strategy will be implemented by 2030, as Whyte Avenue undergoes reconstruction and renewal. Currently, the City is engaging on potential options for the strategy’s implementation.
We’re excited about the options presented for the corridor! As one of Edmonton’s most lively areas already, we think it has huge potential to raise the bar for what a people-focused urban space in Edmonton looks like. It reflects community aspirations we discovered back in 2021, after polling hundreds of community members along the corridor in response to temporary space re-allocations along Whyte Avenue.
We’re excited about the options presented for the corridor! As one of Edmonton’s most lively areas already, we think it has huge potential to raise the bar for what a people-focused urban space in Edmonton looks like. Nearly doubling the amount of sidewalk space along Whyte will create more space for opportunities for opportunities like patios and sidewalk sales. It will also calm vehicle traffic moving along the corridor, which will make for a more enjoyable experience for residents and visitors. Research has found that changes like these encourage people to linger longer along Whyte and support local businesses and community organizations.
The focus on integrating mass transit will make Whyte Avenue an easier destination to get to.
- Walking, biking, and taking transit will become the most attractive options.
- This incentivizes people to use these options which move people more efficiently along the corridor.
- Efficient transportation is key as Whyte Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Edmonton.
- Making these efficient modes the obvious choice for people moving though this corridor allows us to re-allocate the public space along the corridor to best support community objectives and economic activity.
Moving into the next phase, we understand the design will need to be fine-tuned to ensure commercial activities are supported, such as loading zones and pick-up/drop-off areas. It is also essential that accessible parking is available in the vicinity and other accessibility considerations are met. However, while elements like loading zones and pick-up and drop-off areas may be important to place at key locations along the corridor, we need to ensure that these smaller vehicle access amenities don’t compromise the whole vision for Whyte Avenue.
To achieve the goals set out in the City Plan, Whyte Avenue will need to become a denser area of our city that is well-serviced by various transportation options. Whyte Avenue is already a destination in and of itself, and by better utilizing the land, we can enhance the area and create more recreational and economic activity. It cannot not be a place where gravel parking lots, like the one east of Gateway Boulevard, go under-utilized most days of the week. It will not be a place that provides parking directly in front of every destination. In fact, for major events like the Fringe, most attendees already arrive via transit or active transportation.
This opportunity is once-in-a-generation to transform Whyte Avenue to a place that focuses on providing people-oriented public spaces first. This is the best way to take advantage of the public lands that we collectively own, and shape them in a way that supports community and business vitality.
What can you do next? Get engaged! There were over 700 people who responded in the last round of engagement. The more public support there is for a vibrant, walkable corridor, the more likely it will get built. We encourage members to share positive feedback on the strategy options, as they represent a major step forward in what Edmonton can become.