It’s been a year since the City’s open house invited us to help dramatically makeover the west side of Jasper Ave. Another round of public engagement is in the works before the 18-month planning process, branded as Imagine Jasper Avenue, concludes with a finalized concept plan, tentatively in February 2017. Once approved, construction will take some years to start, says Edmonton chief planner Peter Ohm.
The project’s true purpose is to reconstruct Jasper’s road base, but under immense pressure from Oliver residents, council asked the transportation department to rebuild it as a “complete street”—one that will not exist entirely for the benefit of motorists, but also for pedestrians, cyclists and residents as a whole.
The project’s $19 million budget is approved, but it’ll only cover the roadway replacement. Streetscape work will require additional funding from the next capital budget once the concept plan is complete.
“Jasper Ave. is Oliver’s living room,” says Ohm. In the City’s most recent survey residents have made their top priorities clear: more sidewalk cafes and patios, street trees and landscaping, broader sidewalks for better movement and mingling, and more support of nighttime activities with better lighting.
“Certainly the question has to be asked, Where do we get the room for that if not from the traffic lanes?” says Ohm. “The answers will be coming.” In other words, they don’t know yet. But he acknowledges that sacrifices to car commuters will have to be made to find the right balance for the project as a whole.
TOP ANSWERS FROM A CITY SURVEY
What do people like most about Jasper Ave.?
1. Connects the community
2. Represents Edmonton’s history
3. Close to the River Valley
What do people dislike about Jasper Ave.?
1. Not visually appealing
2. Sidewalks too narrow
3. Doesn’t connect well to destinations off the avenue