Edmonton's Imagine Jasper plan gets thumbs up from some residents
The plan would see the city install co-ordinated traffic lights so that pedestrians can keep walking and not wait to cross streets
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Rodney Gladue is a fast walker, so he’s stoked to see the city propose co-ordinated traffic lights specifically for pedestrians along west Jasper Avenue.
“Having to hit a red light and just look around seeing no cars for more than a minute isn’t the greatest,” Gladue, a resident in Oliver, said.
The city hosted an open house on Imagine Jasper Avenue Wednesday evening, a plan that would see full traffic lights at every intersection from 109 Street to 124 Street — an approach many other cities have long-ago added.
During rush hour, pedestrians walking an average speed along Jasper sidewalks won’t hit a red light because they would be timed more effectively.
“Obviously that will save time,” said Oliver resident Heather Nelson. “We need streets that prioritize pedestrians.”
But the plan calls for more than just timing lights — the city wants sidewalks three metres wide while including a 1.7-metre zone for trees, benches and bus stops.
Satya Gadidasu, the city’s senior traffic engineer, said widening would be made possible by converting the bus-only lane into sidewalks and “flex spaces,” which could be used for parking, loading zones, patios or festival space, depending on what the community needs.
Resident Richard Letourneau said his walks along the stretch are boring.
“Everything is just so bare,” he said. “I’d really like to see more trees and more room for shops to have a nice patio — it’ll keep things interesting.”
Gadidasu said the potential upgrades would also benefit vehicle traffic.
He said as long as drivers keep their speed to about 38 kilometres per hour, they would be able to hit all the green lights.
“Even though you’re driving slower, you’ll be able to get to your destination quicker by making all of the lights,” he said.
People can weigh in on the plan at Edmonton.ca/imaginejasperavenue. It’s expected to go to council next spring with an anticipated construction start in 2019.