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Councillors decide not to expand road access to southeast Edmonton community

Click to play video: 'City won’t step in to expand access to southeast Edmonton community' City won’t step in to expand access to southeast Edmonton community
WATCH ABOVE: The city will not be stepping in to expand access to a southeast Edmonton community. For over a year, people in Maple Crest have raised safety concerns because of the issue. Breanna Karstens-Smith explains – Apr 13, 2022

For more than a year, people living in the Maple Crest neighbourhood in southeast Edmonton have been voicing safety concerns about what they consider a lack of vehicular access in and out of the community.

Maple Road is the main route, though there are secondary routes that are not properly serviced.

Train tracks cross Maple Road near 8 Street.

In January 2021, emergency crews got stuck at the crossing while a vehicle burned just blocks away.

Read more: Maple Crest residents renew concerns about trains blocking emergency access to Edmonton area

That prompted the city to look at its options for creating more access to the community.

Those options include extending 23 Avenue into 34 Avenue and upgrading and paving Meridian Street and West Railway Street to 23 Avenue.

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The changes could have come with a price tag of up to $11 million.

Click to play video: 'Residents of Maple Crest concerned over lack of ways to get into neighbourhood' Residents of Maple Crest concerned over lack of ways to get into neighbourhood
Residents of Maple Crest concerned over lack of ways to get into neighbourhood – Jan 30, 2020

At an executive committee meeting Wednesday, councillors decided not to move forward with a new access route.

Ultimately, they decided it would be too costly and could be precedent setting as developers are responsible for constructing access routes.

“I’ve spoken with Councillor Knack as well and there are some other roads out in the northwest in the city as well which are in the same situation,” ward Sspomitapi councillor Jo-Anne Wright told Global News.

“And if we were to put in the infrastructure in advance of the development, it would be a cost to the taxpayer.”

Read more: Train collision with woman, 34, once again cuts off access to Maple Crest neighbourhood

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Wright says she has been assured by Dream, the developer, that it will finish construction on a new access route by the end of 2022.

“They have stepped up. Their reputation is on the line as well. And so they’ve committed also to do better communication to let residents know what the alternate routes are existing in the neighbourhood,” explained Wright.

With the decision Wednesday, the councillor says the issue now appears to be settled.

Moving forward, Wright wants the city to look at requiring developers to including transit in their planning so that ETS service is incorporated into designs.

Wright also says the city will be setting out goalposts with developers going forward so that there are clear dates for when access routes will need to be open.

Click to play video: 'Maple Crest residents renew concerns about trains blocking emergency access to Edmonton neighbourhood' Maple Crest residents renew concerns about trains blocking emergency access to Edmonton neighbourhood
Maple Crest residents renew concerns about trains blocking emergency access to Edmonton neighbourhood – Jan 14, 2021

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