Budget 2021: We need immediate action on active transportation improvements

Tomorrow, as part of our supplementary budget adjustment this December, I will be proposing a budget amendment to allocate $4.75 million towards Active Transportation Improvements and construction for sidewalk improvements.

We know that to achieve the City Plan, we must prioritize high-impact, low-cost investments that can generate the best return on investment for Edmonton. Active transportation helps people move safely and inexpensively through our community.

We know that they are a critical investment that can help build a more affordable city for all ages, wages, and stages of life.

We must act now. Typically for a new council, an ask of this nature would wait until next year to be allocated in our four year capital plan, but if we don't allocate a portion of funding now, we will lose yet another year on planning and design: we know that we are in a climate emergency and we have to act now. This allows us to have sidewalks fixed and pathways build 12 months ahead of time.

The pandemic showed us that these sorts of active transportation improvements are a great hit. If we make improvements to safety and fix broken patches impairing strollers, bikes, or wheelchairs, we can restore the freedom of mobility and movement for even more Edmontonians.

The areas Identified by administration as priority improvements include:

  • Fort Road from approximately 127 Avenue to 153 Avenue
  • 127 Street from Yellowhead trail to 137 Avenue
  • 102 Avenue from 136 Street to 139 Street
  • 106 Street from Princess Elizabeth Avenue to 118 Avenue
  • 105 Avenue from 101 Street to 97 Street
  • Area Network from the area of Bonnie Doon, Strathearn, Holyrood and Idylwyld
  • Area Network for the neighbourhoods in and around the Northlands/Exhibition lands site

Construction for:

  • Multiple missing sidewalk links city-wide with completed designs.

I have a number of other amendments I'm navigating with my colleagues around accelerating action on City Plan: improving our parks and public spaces, planting more trees, supporting harm reduction and front line service for social agencies, and making public transit more affordable. I will share more tomorrow.

I welcome your feedback at [email protected].

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Challenging the U of A: Leading with purpose in housing and land use planning

City Council recently approved a rezoning across the street from the U of A and it got me thinking about all the underutilized or unused space on the U of A main campus.

The expression I often hear at city hall is “highest and best use of city land” – in other words, land that brings benefit to the community (eg, a park or public space) or land that generates revenue for the city to offset taxes and pay for services (Industrial, commercial, residential in that order) 

But what if the University of Alberta could generate revenue and mitigate the housing and climate crisis? The university already has the vehicle: the U of A Properties Trust, an arms length development corporation that pays dividends back into the U of A through innovative developments and land leases.

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