The City of Edmonton’s project to renew the collector on 132nd Avenue is nearing completion for the season.
However, the efforts have not been disregarded.
The renewal project has garnered the interest of Canada’s urban planning community due to its goal of finding a harmonious equilibrium among pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
The renewal is a five-year project that spans three wards between Fort Road and 127th Street to better align with city initiatives such as the speed limit reduction, Vision Zero and the Edmonton Bike Plan.
The construction began in the early spring and is now nearing completion for this year.
The task includes expanding the transportation network extensively by reducing the width of roads and incorporating separate lanes for bicycles, constructing new sidewalks, curbs, and gutters.
The construction of Edmonton’s 132 Ave Renewal is currently underway. I cannot emphasize enough the significance of this project for both the city and Canada as a whole. The design is reaching levels comparable to those in the Netherlands. [Link to tweet: pic.twitter.com/ZnaPwHXFce]
The project received recognition following its mention on social media by Matt Pinder, an engineer from Ottawa.
That post — on X, formerly Twitter — has over 1,500 likes and has sparked discussion on how innovative urban planning can be.
Ryan Kirstiuk, director of neighbourhoods planning and design with the city, said the stretch of road was due for an overhaul with a history dating back to before the First World War.
A collector road facilitates the movement of traffic from residential streets to major roads, which serve as links to highways.
“In the interview, Kirstiuk mentioned that the corridor is actually designed with four lanes, making it considerably spacious. It exceeds the standard dimensions of a typical collector road,”
The project spans a distance of 7.3 kilometers and links nine different neighborhoods together: Kensington, Calder, Rosslyn, Lauderdale, Glengarry, Killarney, Delwood, Balwin, and Belvedere.
“What makes it truly exceptional is that depending on your mode of transportation, whether walking, biking, or driving, there is a designated space for each activity along the corridor.”
The project’s ultimate plan incorporates a circular intersection at the crossing of 132nd Avenue and 90th Street, providing distinct areas for various modes of transportation such as driving, biking, and walking.
Speed and safety
He additionally mentioned that following the implementation of a citywide speed limit of 40 km/h, the extensive road construction led to an increase in occurrences of speeding.
Kirstiuk stated that one of the main reasons for renewing this is to modify the road design in order to align with the residential environment and encourage responsible and safer driving.
Constructing a more slender roadway will enable the preservation of parking areas.
Kirstiuk mentioned that we have the capability to implement bike lanes or active transportation along the entire stretch of 132nd Ave.
“You can imagine basically a very wide road in the past, will now be a much calmer road with better amenities and infrastructure for people who bike, walk or roll.”
Kirstiuk mentioned that by incorporating broader sidewalks and bike lanes, there will be increased accessibility for individuals visiting schools, churches, and daycares.
Ward Anirniq Coun. Erin Rutherford is on the city’s Urban Planning Committee, and her ward also encompasses part of the project.
Rutherford stated that she has received diverse feedback since the initiation of community engagement in 2020.
Rutherford mentioned that there are varying opinions regarding the design that people are observing – some are dissatisfied while others are eagerly anticipating it.
Residents expressed concerns about the reduction of two lanes in each direction to a single lane in each direction, as noted by her.
“And that is intentional. 132nd Ave, is really meant to be a residential road, not an arterial, and it’s not taking on the traffic volumes that you would expect for that size of a road,” Rutherford said.
However, she emphasized the importance of promoting a wide range of transportation options.
I had a meeting with a retirement home, and I was pleasantly surprised by their enthusiasm for this project. They are particularly excited about the shared use paths and bike lane, as it will make it easier for them to access stores and areas along 127th Street that are currently difficult to navigate on the existing sidewalks.
“We have the potential to be creators of new ideas and solutions.”
Stephen Raitz serves as a member of the board for Paths For People, a organization located in Edmonton that promotes year-round transportation that is both safe and accessible.
Raitz emphasized the significance of considering the vulnerability of various users when discussing the balance among them.
“When you are behind the wheel, you are relatively secure inside a protective metal enclosure and have the ability to travel at a higher speed. However, when you are on foot or riding a bicycle, your level of vulnerability significantly increases.”
It is essential to rearrange road lanes in order to utilize the public right of way more efficiently, considering the vulnerability at hand.
Raitz mentioned that Edmonton has the ability and is currently taking the lead in this situation.
“We have the potential to be pioneers and take the lead in constructing safer and more habitable streets across North America.”