The Experience Jasper Avenue Design Demo is an opportunity to try out the new plan and design for the avenue that was developed during the Imagine Jasper Avenue project. Learn more about the demo in the FAQs based on feedback and questions we have heard from Edmontonians.
Is Experience Jasper Avenue a beautification project?
This is not a beautification project. The Experience Jasper Avenue Design Demonstration is a chance for Edmontonians to try out the new plan and design for the avenue that was developed during the Imagine Jasper Avenue project which ran from September 2015 to March 2017.
A combination of public, business and stakeholder feedback, City policies and procedures, and technical studies and standards were used to develop the new design. This engagement process took place over two years, ending in the spring 2017. The Design Demonstration will end on October 31 (weather permitting) and the results from the project will help refine the final design before construction, scheduled to begin in 2019.
Why didn’t you water the trees on Jasper Avenue?
The trees in place as part of the design demo were watered and inspected daily. The appearance of the trees was largely due to this year's summer storms and the harsh urban conditions along the avenue, rather than a lack of watering. ‘Increasing the green’ was one of the main points of feedback during the Imagine Jasper Avenue project and became one of the project’s Guiding Principles. The trees were removed in September and added to the City's urban forestry inventory for rehabilitation and will be planted around the city or donated to community projects. The future reconstruction of the avenue will include permanent underground infrastructure which will support the trees and ensure they thrive long term.
Why was the right turn lane re-opened at the 109 Street intersection?
The future traffic model showed that a separate right turn lane at 109 Street was not necessary due to future full signal upgrades. However, as these changes could not be fully implemented with the design demo, the queues and wait times at the intersection were larger than anticipated. There were also issues for buses that need to proceed through the intersection and pull over at the east side stop. Safety of pedestrians at this intersection will be monitored to help determine what other methods of reducing the conflict between vehicles and pedestrians can be achieved with reconstruction of the avenue.
Why did you take away parking on Jasper Avenue?
The space for on-street parking is designated as flex space in the proposed design and is only blocked off in some areas as part of the design demonstration to showcase other examples of how the space could be used. In the future, the flex space will be available on every block and can be used for a variety of uses, in different seasons, such as patios and bike corrals. The flex space will default to 24 hour parking when not in use. On-street parking is important to businesses and people coming to Jasper Avenue by car, which also supports the avenue’s role as a destination. Opportunities to increase parking availability on the side streets through angle parking is also being reviewed to make up for parking that may be lost through public space improvements along Jasper Avenue.
Why did you remove the peak hour bus lanes?
Reallocating the lanes was necessary to achieve the vision and principles established in the planning stage. Through traffic analysis and working with Edmonton Transit System (ETS), it was determined the lanes could be reallocated to increase pedestrian space and still allow the avenue to function as a transportation link for vehicle or bus operations.
How are the changes impacting vehicle and transit travel times along Jasper Avenue?
Traffic analysis during the planning phase revealed a potential increase of three to four minutes to overall travel times from 109 Street to 124 Street. Preliminary monitoring data from the design demonstration indicates that the delays to traffic are under a minute. When the demonstration is complete the traffic and pedestrian monitoring findings will be presented to Council in early 2018.
Were vehicle commuters involved in the planning process?
Yes. In addition to the four public events held as part of Imagine Jasper Avenue, online surveys/comment forms for each phase of the project were made available online at edmonton.ca/ImagineJasperAvenue and questions about the project were included on some of the Edmonton Insight Community mixed topic surveys. As well, requests to opt-in to Imagine Jasper Avenue specific surveys were sent to Edmonton Insight Community members. In the online survey for phase three of the project, 63% of respondents identified themselves as vehicle commuters.
What is the point of the picnic and ping pong tables in the roadway?
The picnic tables and parklets, like the ping pong table, are temporarily in place to encourage pedestrians and community members to use the space allocated as flex space. The final design of the avenue will have built in, permanent furnished spaces as well as areas that can be used by the community in the flex space. The picnic tables themselves are not a part of the final design. 3D renderings of the preferred concept design can be seen on the project page.
How are you monitoring the changes? No one is using the picnic tables.
Impacts to traffic are being monitored by travel time studies, intersection counts and a queue length study at 109 Street and Jasper Avenue. An independent research company is surveying users of the avenue through on-street and telephone surveys to understand how the changes are influencing user experience. The use of available street furniture is expected to increase with the ongoing redevelopment of the avenue.
What will happen in the winter? How will the avenue be maintained?
The current design demonstration is planned to be removed at the end of October 2017. This is because the temporary measures cannot be maintained in the winter in the same way as the final bricks and mortar that will be built in 2019. Jasper Avenue was designated a Main Street in 2015. This means not only that it needs to be planned, designed and reconstructed to a higher standard, but also that it should be maintained and operated to a higher standard as well. Snow will be cleared from Jasper Avenue within 24 hours after a snowfall event, rather than being stored on the street for extended periods of time. This will require additional budget and resources which will be included in the overall budget considerations for this project.
Why is there no on-street cycling route?
As a main street, Jasper Avenue has a pedestrian priority and acts as a destination and link. Adding an on-street cycling route would negatively impact the amount of available pedestrian space and link function of the avenue. As well, during phase two of consultation, this element was given a very low priority by the public in relation to other streetscape elements. There is a parallel cycling route along 100 Avenue, and a high quality cycle track on 102 Avenue. North-south connection improvements to these routes are proposed at 121 Street and 110 Street. Other connections that could be improved are being reviewed as part of the future bike grid study. End-of-trip cycling facilities, such as bike parking, will be provided on the avenue.
Why are you proposing a left turn lane at every intersection from 118 Street to 109 Street?
This portion of Jasper Avenue has a higher volume of daily vehicles than the remaining segment to the west. In order for the Avenue to function as a transportation link - a priority for the public as determined through phase two of consultation and a requirement of the Main Streets Guideline - the left turn lane was maintained. This requirement was also confirmed through traffic analysis. Additionally, the east portion of Jasper Avenue has the highest potential for commercial and residential redevelopment, the left-turn lane will accommodate future growth and access to these areas.
What other changes will be implemented with the future design?
Full signals will be added at all intersections to allow for the avenue to be timed for pedestrians, and also facilitates safely crossing the avenue from all sides. This is something the City was not able to do in the Experience Jasper Avenue Design Demonstration. These upgraded signaling systems will “break up” groups of traffic during peak periods, reducing operating speeds and overall traffic congestion. Pedestrian-activated signals are recommended at 122 Street and 124 Street, due to reduced turning and crossing demand. Between 117 Street and 121 Street, a treed median has been proposed to create a more community-focused atmosphere, as this segment of the avenue is more residential with lower traffic volumes than the east side.
What is the cost of the design demonstration?
The cost of the Design Demonstration is approximately $550K which includes costs for construction, materials, programming, events, communication and engagement, monitoring maintenance and removals. The design demonstration will help the project team with valuable input from the public and the data collected will be used to inform the final design prior to construction. The findings from the design demonstration will help justify the multi-millions needed to reconstruct the avenue by ensuring any design issues can be resolved before they become permanent.