News / Edmonton

Proposed changes to Jasper Avenue receive mixed reviews from public

City of Edmonton held a public engagement session on Thursday to introduce possible changes between 96 and 100 street

Shawn Wells examining the Jasper Avenue New Vision phase two designs at the city's public engagement session.

Kashmala Fida/Metro / Metro Web Upload

Shawn Wells examining the Jasper Avenue New Vision phase two designs at the city's public engagement session.

Edmonton has a 'new vision' for Jasper Avenue, but a Thursday open house showed Edmontonians are split on the changes.

The proposed changes to Jasper Avenue between 96 and 100 street are part of phase two of Jasper Avenue New Vision (JAVN).

JAVN was introduced in 2011 to tweak the streetscape of Jasper Avenue to improve the pedestrian experience, support businesses and attract visitors.

In a public engagement session held on Thursday, the city displayed their new plans around the Shaw Conference Centre, which includes expanding the sidewalks, narrowing roads (but keeping the four-lane traffic) and removing parking spots.

“The end goal of the project is to make Jasper Avenue (into) a main avenue that’s more walkable and pedestrian friendly,” said Jack Niepsuj, project engineer of transportation and design with the City of Edmonton.

The city completed phase one of the JAVN project in 2013 that included upgrades to 100 and 102 Street.

At the engagement session, some members of the public were not pleased about the removal of parking spots.

“I feel like a lot of the things they do to Jasper Avenue are a punishment to motorists,” said Shawn Wells who lives in South Edmonton and often drives downtown.

“I don’t like the amount of parking being taken away ... (or) how much the roads are going to be shrunk.”

Others like Ranon Soans were happy about the new changes.

“I’m really excited about prioritizing the pedestrian experience,” he said. “I think it’s a really good project and important for Edmonton.”

Sonak Patel, who works on Jasper Avenue, also approves of the city’s plans although he hopes the city will add more vegetation and consider scrambled intersections where pedestrians can cross in all directions.

"l acknowledge this is really early in design ... but I've walked down it a lot and I noticed sometimes you'll get stuck and many times I'd go off of Jasper, as it was faster to take 102 (Street) or the pedway."

The New Vision project is separate from Imagine Jasper as that project stretches from 109 to 124 Street covering the residential areas.

Whereas JAVN starts at 109 Street and goes east 'till 92 Street, where the avenue is dominated by more businesses.

Niepsuj says although the two projects are separate, they are coordinating to make Jasper Avenue more “consistent-looking”.

The project is primarily driven by rehabilitation work being done at the Shaw Conference Centre, some of which stretches underneath Jasper Avenue.

“If we have to dig up the road to fix the Shaw Conference Centre, we might as well put back what needs to be in the future,” Niepsuj said.

He said once the rehabilitation project is funded by council and the final plans for Jasper Avenue are approved, construction is planned for 2019.

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