City launches Norwood Boulevard study Goal is to create a sustainable and vibrant streetscape

A public meeting held by city staff on June 22 discussed the future of Norwood Boulevard from 109 to 82 Street.

Urban planners have never holistically studied this area identified as needing revitalization because it is crossed by several ward, neighbourhood, and plan boundaries.

“Nobody’s ever looked at Norwood Boulevard, both sides of the street, in one shot,” said Robert Lipka, principal planner and project leader.

The goal of Norwood Boulevard Corridor Study is to turn 111-112 Avenue into a sustainable, innovative, vibrant, and relevant streetscape. However, this means balancing the needs of the community, commuters, businesses, and visitors. City design guidelines and policies will also have to be met.

Lipka gave a short presentation, then answered questions from the crowd. “We weren’t expecting to see so many people out,” said Lipka.

City staff asked participants to complete a survey in order to contribute ideas on transportation, land use, and design. Brainstorming was done in small groups and ideas were shared on how a mixed land use streetscape could be created with multi-use buildings incorporating businesses and residences. Making the area more attractive and comfortable for pedestrians by adding street benches and corner landscaping was also mentioned.

The study is at an early stage of its development. Lipka explained: “we have no preconceived ideas.” Funding has only been obtained for a mobility study and a market analysis.

“We’re not going to rip up the road” reassured Lipka. “Right now we don’t have the money for that kind of work.” Consideration will be given to developing a transportation corridor between the new Kingsway/Royal Alex LRT station with the Stadium LRT station. Lipka said this is “an opportunity to link with Stadium LRT into a comprehensive corridor.”  

Lipka acknowledged Norwood Boulevard is “currently focused on movement, so it’s not a great peoplescape.”

Currently, little accommodation is made for pedestrians and cyclists, making it unpleasant for such traffic despite several heritage sites. Norwood Elementary School, located at the corner of 95 Street and Norwood Boulevard, raises a safety concern because children traverse an area where heavy traffic often goes by at high speeds.

Not everyone agrees the transportation focus should shift away from cars.

Richard Nichols discussed the impact on local business when he said “they don’t consider that you have to keep your commerce moving through the area.” Nichols was also concerned with impeding the flow of traffic when he said “they ruined 109 Street when they put the LRT through, and you have to wait for the train to go by at those crossings.”

Recommendations are scheduled to be made to city council in 2017.

Header Image: Principal planner and project leader Robert Lipka gives a short presentation. Credit: Supplied.

Contact Robert Lipka at robert.lipka@edmonton.ca or 780.442.0252 for more information.

 

Chantal Figeat

Chantal began professional writing while attending Carleton University. She enjoys the history of the Norwood area as well as the cultural diversity along Alberta Avenue.

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