Edmonton's New Downtown Plan

edmonton's new downtown plan The City of Edmonton unveiled a draft of its New Downtown Plan this week, an overhaul of the Downtown Redevelopment Plan that was first created back in 1997. There were information displays setup in various places downtown, including at the City Centre Farmer’s Market today.

I quite like the marketing for the plan. Dark, bold colors, and a clear message: “My Downtown Is…Sustainable. Dynamic. Well-designed. Liveable. Accessible. Moving Forward.”

The plan outlines seven strategic priorities:

  1. Spaces for People. More open spaces, including parks and plazas.
  2. Expand the Knowledge Base. Support the continued expansion of education institutions.
  3. Increase Cultural and Entertainment Options. New facilities and expansion of existing opportunities.
  4. Enrich Jasper Avenue. Restore the prominence of this street as Edmonton’s main street.
  5. Connect to the River Valley and Adjacent Neighbourhoods. Build walkable links and improve access to the Legislature and North Saskatchewan River.
  6. Pedestrians First. Connect downtown with richly landscaped, sustainable streets.
  7. More Amenities. Build a downtown that is rich in things for people to do and places to go.

According to the Edmonton Journal, 600 people have participated in the creation of the plan by filling out surveys, questionnaires, and attending public meetings over the last few years.

“Edmontonians have told us they envision a dynamic neighbourhood, with more amenities and cultural activities to attract, residents, businesses and students,” said Shafee Mohamed, senior planner for the Downtown Plan.

“We have tried to capture that vision in this plan.”

I live fairly close to downtown, on 122nd street and 104th avenue. For many years I had an office right in the core at 101st street and Jasper Avenue, and I continue to spend a lot of time downtown. Even though I think it has come a long way since 1998 when I moved back to Edmonton, I’m happy to see renewed interest in improving the downtown area. We still have a long way to go before we’re on par with cities elsewhere in Canada.

The city is collecting feedback on the plan now, and will make revisions before presenting it to council in November. You can help by filling out the survey, or by calling 780.496.6064 to leave your comments.

If you’d like more information, check out the Downtown Plan website, call 780.496.6225, or write to shafee.mohamed@edmonton.ca. You can also check out a public Open House on Tuesday, September 9th at the Winspear Centre. There will be brief presentations at 5, 6, and 7pm in addition to information displays.

I took a few photos of the information that was on display at the Farmer’s Market today, which you can see here.

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