A new report shows Edmontonians are attracted to the city’s downtown because of its restaurants, walkability and overall lifestyle as the area continues to undergo a considerable transformation.
The Downtown Business Association’s Mapping Growth: A Comparative Look at Downtown’s Transformation looked at Edmontonians’ opinions and behaviours towards downtown as the area has developed over the past several years.
The survey found the two primary reasons people live downtown are walkability (59 per cent) and lifestyle of downtown (56 per cent).
The majority of downtown residents said they would recommend working (74 per cent), eating (82 per cent) and experiencing the entertainment (73 per cent) in the area. However, just under half (48 per cent) of respondents said they would recommend living in downtown.
Watch below: A new report suggests parking is a problem issue for downtown Edmonton. Kent Morrison reports.
When it came to the reason people visit downtown, the survey showed dining was the most popular response (64 per cent), while attending festivals and social events (46 per cent) and attending live performances and concerts (38 per cent) rounded out the top three reasons.
Forty-nine per cent of respondents said they would make more purchases downtown if there was a greater variety of goods and services, while 42 per cent said they would do the same if cheaper parking was available.
“There are so many small little parking lots, big parkades. Even on event nights, you wouldn’t believe they are under capacity, and that’s because people want to park closer to where they are,” report author Nupur Thakor said.
“If we adapt to these changes and people understand it’s okay to walk a few blocks if you have to, then there is tons of parking available.”
The DBA survey also found Edmontonians feel safer in downtown than they did when the association conducted similar research in 2010. Sixty-three per cent of downtown residents and 59 per cent of downtown employees who responded to the survey said they feel safe downtown in the evening.
Those numbers are considerably higher than seven years earlier when 39 per cent 32 per cent respectively gave a similar response.
The report also showed that 84 per cent of respondents said they would visit the new Royal Alberta Museum once it opened, 74 per cent said Rogers Place has helped revitalize downtown, while 40 per cent said a variety of housing options are available downtown.
The survey was conducted online between June 19 and July 9, 2017, with responses from people who live and work downtown as well as people who don’t.