Happy 1-year Anniversary of $100 Million Active Transportation Funding! No substantive updates from Admin yet…

One year ago today, on December 16, 2022, Edmonton City Council approved the 2023-2026 Capital and Operating Budget. This decision included a historic step forward for Edmonton when it comes to our transportation system.

We invested $100 million in expanding our active transportation network. This did not come out of the blue. Edmonton had taken several incremental steps forward over the last decade. Improvements to the City neighborhood and renewal processes have resulted in expanded bike lanes and shared use paths across the city. The City has picked up steam on improving missing links and fixing dangerous crosswalks in key locations. Though we’re not a huge fan of massive roadway investments like the Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion Highway expansion or the Terwilliger Drive, these projects have also supported building out comparatively cheap, but expansive active transportation corridors. 

When Edmonton City Council decided to invest $100 million to implement the Bike Plan, it was naturally the next big step we could take as a community to further improve transportation options for Edmontonians. Even though this $100 million is less than half of what is needed to ensure we build a complete network of mobility lanes across Edmonton for cyclists, scooters, and other active modes, it keeps up our momentum when it comes to building a more sustainable and liveable city. At the last supplemental budget in November 2023, City Council committed to retaining this funding.

On a married couple’s 1st wedding anniversary, paper is the traditional gift.

When it comes to the first anniversary of the $100 Million funding for active transportation, City Administration has gotten Edmontonians less than paper. They’ve given Edmontonians next to nothing.

We have heard next to no formal updates about how this funding is being allocated, what projects are being prioritized, and when shovels will hit the ground.

Paths for People has not just stood still though.

  • We have regularly connected with different members of City Administration to check in on how progress is coming on Bike Plan Implementation.
  • We have been told that the initial stages of design are primarily internal, but that the City will eventually come forward with some public engagement or communications.
  • We also understand that the project scope for this funding is unique for City Administration and that it may take time to reorient internal resourcing to focus on implementation.

Regardless, we are greatly concerned that it’s been practically radio silence for a whole year when it comes to the $100 Million.  

We have not gotten a “here’s when you can expect to get engaged,” or any meaningful update of where City Administration is within the design process. Our relationship with City Administration is normally quite strong, and we understand that City Administration is not obligated to provide these kind of updates. But, it makes for a more effective and thoughtful process when we see open lines of communication between City Administration, community organizations like ourselves, and the public writ large. 

Paths for People strives to be an organization that can work with the City and push them to build a better transportation system for all Edmontonians.

  • In the last year alone, we have had dozens of productive conversations with different City staff and departments.
  • We have gotten engaged with snow clearing, downtown pedestrianization, arterial roadway renewal, zoning bylaw updates, intersection signalization, and much, much more.
  • We are thankful for the many members of City Administration who commit to regular and productive engagement with our organization and the public.

Paths for People tries our best to be productive and positive in these kinds of engagement opportunities. Our mindset is to try to work with people, not against them. We appreciate the opportunity to regularly engage with and contribute to City Administration’s processes. We feel like our feedback is often considered and implemented. We value the opportunity to get our members involved in building our city.

Whenever we do hear from City Administration regarding these projects, they can be sure that we will be very eager to participate in this process. We can help communicate these changes to Edmontonians and/or get Edmontonians engaged in the Bike Plan implementation process.

In the new year, we look forward to hearing substantive updates from City Administration on this funding. We’re excited to get our members actively involved in the next big step we can take when it comes to improving our transportation system.