A greener, pedestrian-friendly main street takes shape
The west end of Jasper Avenue is getting a new look, with a major overhaul planned over the next three years, resulting in what the community hopes is a vibrant design that is friendly and functional for all users.
The Imagine Jasper Avenue project is focusing on revitalizing the Oliver segment of Jasper Avenue, from 109 Street to 114 Street, with remaining phases up to 124 Street to follow.
The goal will be on commuter- and pedestrian-friendly design. Upgrades to the street will include seating, bus shelters and soil cells for new trees. Jasper Avenue will also be made narrower, lowering crossing distances across the street, as well as across side streets.
“There has been a lot of work to make sure the design is the main street for a community.”Derek Macdonald, co-chair of the Oliver Community League Civics Committee
“There has been a lot of work to make sure the design is the main street for a community,” said Derek Macdonald, co-chair of the Oliver Community League Civics Committee. “[Imagine Jasper Avenue] does a really good job of the prioritization of pedestrian safety, making sure crosswalks don’t feel as scary as they do now.”
The intersection at 110 Street will also get an upgrade, with a high-visibility bike lane to improve safety and a traffic signal with a dedicated phase for cyclists.
The project has been in development since 2015, and the Oliver Community League has been working closely with the city to ensure the west side of Jasper Avenue is more than just a transportation corridor into downtown.
The project has the support of councillors including Ward 6 Councillor Scott McKeen, whose ward encompasses both the Downtown and Oliver communities.
“Jasper Avenue is Edmonton’s main street—it is not just a commuter route into the downtown,” said McKeen. “To my mind, it needs to reflect main-street grandeur. The project will narrow the street, widen the sidewalks, upgrade the street lights and furniture and bring a healthy tree canopy to support it as a strolling boulevard.
“Oliver is Edmonton’s most population-dense and least car- oriented neighbourhood. It deserves a great walking, dining, shopping street running through its midst.”
Phase One of the Imagine Jasper Avenue project is expected to wrap up in 2022, with an approved project budget of $26 million. The rest of Imagine Jasper Avenue, out to 124 Street, will entail two more phases, with budgets to be examined by City Council in the future.
Macdonald said the Oliver Community League will be advocating to include those next phases relatively quickly.
“I think it’s important to accelerate this process to do all of these phases in a timely manner. We don’t want it to extend over a decade. If that happens, phase one infrastructure could be years older than the new stuff being put in. The whole point is to create a consistent look and feel,” he said. The east end of Jasper Avenue, in Downtown, is also being revitalized, from 92 Street to 109 Street, as part of the Jasper Avenue New Vision project, with anticipated completion in 2022.