We recently attended ULI’s bridging the gap lunch and learn highlighting two initiatives seeking to find better ways to connect Downtown and Old Strathcona. Both areas see a ton of foot traffic with the recent growth of Downtown and the long-established popularity of Whyte Ave. Finding a way to creatively improve the connection of our core communities would potentially relieve some of the traffic stress on current river crossings and create new development opportunities as Edmontonians make use of some underutilized spaces.
Prairie Sky Gondola
The Prairie Sky Gondola will connect the neighbourhoods of Downtown, Rossdale, and Old Strathcona through a 3km route that could be completed in less than 10 minutes. Prairie Sky was the official selection of the 2018 Edmonton Project – a contest where Edmontonians submitted their ideas for a unique attraction in the city. Since winning the competition, the private company has identified a plan that serves both commuter and tourism traffic. They’ve met with City Council and proposed a phased approach to determine the project’s feasibility and will commit $75,000 to complete a simplified Preliminary Economic and Technical Assessment (PETA). And, they continue to engage the community promoting the initiative and answering questions around the city.
Connectivity is a principle that, if applied boldly and with consideration to details, contributes greatly to building cities.Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, Prairie Sky Chairperson
Expect to hear more about the Gondola line in the coming years especially as conversations around the river crossing at Rossdale begin to pick up. If you want to keep up to date with Prairie Sky’s progress, visit www.prairieskygondola.com and follow them on social media.
High Level Line
The High Level Line is a 4.3km route between MacEwan University and Whyte Ave at Gateway making for a scenic 45 minute walk or 10 minute bike ride. It’s a proposal that ties together diverse neighbourhoods in central Edmonton, and includes an interesting plan to connect Ezio Faraone Park and the Alberta Legislature Grounds into a sweeping park over 109 st. leading to a crossing above the High Level Bridge. The goal is to connect Downtown & Whyte Avenue and to develop a unique experience improving the way we enjoy our city. The line expects to transform the areas surrounding it enabling new uses of underutilized areas including retail & residential, dining, recreation, agriculture, and a better interaction with nature in Edmonton.
The High Level Line is a non-profit organization working towards implementing the improvements to an already existing pathway. They’re a group of engaged young professionals from architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, engineering who are engaged in improving their city. There’s a lot that can be done without substantial project work and the group sees the High Level Line being developed in three phases.
IT’S TRULY EXCITING TO IMAGINE THIS LINEAR PARK AS A GATHERING PLACE OVERLOOKING OUR BREATHTAKING VALLEY AND CONNECTING OUR CITY.May Don Iveson on High Level Line
The project was recently recognized for national design excellence by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA). Since its inception 18 months ago, the High Level Line team has been working to collect feedback on the project and turn this ambitious Edmonton dream into a reality. You can follow along by visiting www.highlevelline.com and connecting with them on social media