Implemented Urban Design Plans-Award of Excellence
Landscape Architect: EDA Collaborative Inc.
Project Owner: City of Edmonton
Location: The Ribbon of Steel corridor extends from 97 Avenue to Jasper Avenue between 109 and 110 streets. At each end, it connects with walkways on the High Level Bridge and through the Railtown community.
The Ribbon of Steel is a trail for walkers, cyclists, joggers and inline skaters along the former Canadian Pacific Rail lands north of the High Level Bridge. It has new landscaping, lighting, rest areas and interpretative features.
The goal of this project was the development of a multi-use trail within an abandoned railway corridor known as the Ribbon of Steel. The corridor was previously recognized as an important link between Edmonton’s downtown core, adjacent communities and the North Saskatchewan River Valley. The corridor passes through three communities and is surrounded by a variety of land uses including residential, commercial and vacant lands.
From an aesthetic perspective, the driving idea behind the multi-use corridor was the Ribbon of Steel name. This concept drew upon the historic significance of the CP rail spur and its contribution to downtown.
This theme created a unique and memorable character by encouraging the expansion of the High Level Streetcar rail line and the addition of interpretive features and art into the landscape. The corridor’s function extends beyond traditional cyclist and pedestrian needs to add the rail line necessary for streetcar operation.
For the majority of the corridor’s length, the streetcar rail line and multi-use trail function adjacent to one another, an homage to typical European scenes of pedestrian-oriented transit. Most importantly, the Ribbon of Steel’s enhancements promote increased physical activity and a strong link between the river valley and Jasper Avenue.
- A very interesting concept following the old rail line.
- The project connects various areas from Legislature building to the Jasper Avenue that are not connected at the street level.
- Although there are some issues related to the pedestrian links below street level and character and height of surrounding buildings, overall the project demonstrates some key urban design principles such as improving linkages and human scale design.