Momentum stalls in push to revitalize Edmonton street: ‘It’s in so much disrepair’

Click to play video 'Wait for action continues after push to revitalize section of Edmonton’s 101 Avenue' Wait for action continues after push to revitalize section of Edmonton’s 101 Avenue
WATCH ABOVE: It's a stretch of road in Edmonton that many feel is begging for change. Vinesh Pratap looks at the enthusiasm to revitalize a section of 101 Avenue and why some people are still waiting for the city to take action – Mar 11, 2018

“It’s not walkable at all.”

CoraLee Lechelt is proud to call Terrace Heights home, but she’s blunt in her assessment of the 101 Avenue corridor through her community.

“If you look at the sidewalk, it’s in so much disrepair and so close to the fast-moving traffic,” Lechelt said.

Lechelt and her community colleague Angela Mao recently met with Global News on the avenue, a couple of blocks east of 75 Street.

The avenue is slated for arterial road renewal, and community leaders believe it’s time to also totally redo the corridor.

“We’d hate to see them just spend the money just repaving it, when they could make it so much better,” Mao explained.

“We’re concerned that we’re not going to be able to get city council’s attention now.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Raymond Block takes shape on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue

The grassroots work started about two years ago. There were several open houses; hundreds showed up to each.

Soon, city planners were on board and in May 2017, a draft 101 Avenue Corridor Study was released.

The community’s vision includes traffic-calming measures and bike lanes; all along a transit corridor with new mixed-use developments — buildings with both commercial and residential space.

“This neighbourhood is actually more open to density than some other ones would be,” Mao said.

Ten months after the draft report was released, community leaders feel momentum has stalled.

“I don’t want to see the work lost.”

“The thing now is how to figure out how to make sure that it continues to move forward,” Ward 8 councillor Ben Henderson said.

READ MORE: Edmonton council approves plan for development next to Commonwealth Stadium

Henderson has asked staff to report back with an update on the plans.

“We do far too many of these planning exercises that just then go on a shelf and gather dust and then we wonder why people are cynical about them.”

Story continues below advertisement

Area residents like Mao and Lechelt eagerly await to hear what city staff have to say. They want to revitalize their community, but know they can’t do it alone.

“If this doesn’t work, I’m not sure the city’s actually putting their money where their mouth is,” Lechelt said.