While Edmonton Trail has recently been developed with the new Bridgeland Cycle Track in Dec. 2016, the plans for the main street hardly stops there.
The development projects are part a master vision called the Main Street Initiative — which will include a total of 24 main streets. Established in 2014, the Main Street Initiative is a long-term growth plan that sets out to improve and redesign high volume streets to ensure keep-up with Calgary’s growing population.
Edmonton Trail is separated into two parts: the Bow River to 16th Avenue North, and 16th Avenue N.E. to 32nd Avenue N.E.
Through a three-phase process, the initiative identified 24 main corridors of the city that would contribute to growth from an economic and population standpoint. Each main street corridor has a municipal development plan goal, which it is expected to meet once its redevelopment is complete.
Even though Edmonton Trail is one of the main streets included in this initiative, its results to meet the Municipal Government Plan’s goal is significantly lower than required. The plan is part of the overall 60-year long-term growth plan for the city. Its goal aims to sustain the city’s overall development and growing population through investing in the transportation corridors and land use planning.
But the potential to develop the busy street into an urban avenue still remains unfulfilled. Kevin Barton, the lead planner of the Main Streets Initiative, says Edmonton Trail will become a significant transit corridor, especially with plans for the Green Line to be established underneath and on top of Centre Street to the west.
“It will only be like a block or two off the Green Line, but you’re still on a good street and it might be a little quieter off of Centre Street. I think the introduction of the LRT up there will have a demand and push more growth to happen,” says Barton.
Although Edmonton Trail is a part of the Main Street Initiative, it is not on the priority list for redevelopment. According to Barton, it is not expected to start until 2018.
During a city council meeting concerning the Main Street Initiative held on March 15, Greg Miller, a local resident and candidate for councillor of Ward 4, has expressed residents’ concerns about the traffic impact the Green Line may have on surrounding neighbourhoods and other main streets like Edmonton Trail.
“All of these [neighbourhoods] will be impacted by the outcome of the Green Line and the final plan. Let’s understand what the plans are for these streets sooner rather than later and use them to help inform the traffic plan as we refine the Green Line,” said Miller at the March 15 meeting.
Miller suggests the city “prioritize the main street work to include at minimum, 4th Street N.W. and ideally the segments south of Centre Street and Edmonton Trail.”
The reconstruction of Edmonton Trail will be approached similarly to what will be happening to Bowness Road, provided city council approves the land use plans.
After a series of workshops with business owners and residents of communities surrounding Bowness Road, there was a high demand for a more pedestrian-friendly and multi-use roadway. According to Barton, there was an overwhelming support for an increase in safety, comfort and enjoyability of the main streets.
“So sidewalks, how pedestrians interact with cars, bikes, buses and that safety at the street level. There was a real desire to have that improved on both the comfort side — so it feels enjoyable and comfortable to be in the space and also on the safety side — that when you cross the street, where you park or where you get off the bus, or where you bike and where you park your bike, you feel safe.”
In addition, Barton explains Main Streets Initiative’s plan to create a vibrant public realm with entertainment like restaurants, retail stores and theatres.
While local businesses like the trendy diners and restaurants exist on Edmonton Trail, Barton hopes that the plan can help support them grow and also encourage new businesses to open nearby.
“We’re definitely in the short-term looking to support and encourage the local businesses to grow. In the longer term as more people move to either living on a street like Edmonton Trail or moving to a neighbourhood right beside Edmonton Trail, there will be more and more demand for more commercial,” Barton says.
Since the Main Street Initiative project has just completed its third phase, there is no total estimated cost for the Main Street Initiative and Edmonton Trail’s redevelopment. The redevelopment of Edmonton Trail will be reviewed as early as November where the costs and future plans for the street will be assessed.
- By Kiah Lucero