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Frustration mounts over pilot project on Edmonton’s Victoria Promenade

Click to play video: 'Frustration mounts over pilot project on Edmonton’s Victoria Promenade'
Frustration mounts over pilot project on Edmonton’s Victoria Promenade
WATCH ABOVE: Edmontonians living around the Victoria Promenade are growing increasingly frustrated with a pilot project along the stretch of road. As Nicole Stillger explains, residents are calling the area unsafe and say there was little consultation before the work went ahead – Oct 12, 2022

It’s been a frustrating summer for many residents who live along the Victoria Promenade along the north side of Edmonton’s river valley.

“I think the city, with the good intention of making it more accessible and more friendly for everyone, has in fact, done the opposite,” said area resident Stacey Kuehn.

As part of a pilot project along the popular road, the city added a new bike lane on the north side of the road, taking away the street parking.

“Along with the shock of it — questions started coming up about OK, this is not safe — where was the consultation?” Kuehn said.

“It’s not a ton of parking, but it’s considerable. There are buildings on this strip that don’t have any visitor parking.”

Click to play video: 'Victoria Promenade pilot project problematic for some area residents'
Victoria Promenade pilot project problematic for some area residents

Residents noted the lack of parking is a major issue for people with accessibility issues and there’s nowhere convenient for homecare or food delivery services to park.

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Emergency vehicles are also now forced to stop in the street.

“When the fire truck and ambulance are parked there, it holds all the traffic up on 100 Ave.,” area resident Bob Walker said.

“Right from day one it’s been a huge disruption in the neighbourhood.”

Many residents believe consultation for the project was nowhere near good enough.

“It’s frustrating when you’ve lived here all these years and unbeknownst to anybody, they come and change the whole dynamic of what’s happening in the area.”

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There’s a petition going around with hundreds of signatures to have the pilot removed.

“What we really want to see is just real engagement, really listening to the feedback of the residents and working with us to put together a better plan,” Kuehn said.

“We’re all very pro-bike lane. We want this area to be used and beautiful and accessible to everyone but at the moment, that’s just not the case.”

In a statement, the city said it conducted “a number of activities to gather feedback and engage with Edmontonians, including:

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  • Gathered feedback on four proposed options for the installation of the pilot project on Victoria Promenade, the goal being to understand the lived experience of the people who travel and live there (March, April 2022).
  • Survey posted on Engaged Edmonton, promoted via signs posted along Victoria Promenade (647 responses)
  • Two online public engagement sessions (17 people attended)
    • Oliver residents accounted for 55 per cent of survey responses, the city said
    • 112 respondents said they live along Victoria Promenade between 116 Street and 121 Street

The city said it reviewed feedback from public engagement, recommendations from city policy and technical requirements before installing the design that’s currently on the street.

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Ward O-day’min Coun. Anne Stevenson said the concerns are valid and she encourages the feedback.

“There are people who do appreciate the infrastructure but definitely, overwhelmingly, (there are) folks that have concerns,” Stevenson explained.

She said the intent of the pilot is to act as an engagement process

“For me, what this is really demonstrated is that we need to have more effective outreach in higher density areas so residents aren’t caught off guard — that they’re fully informed,” Stevenson said.

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Stevenson noted she’ll be meeting with city staff in the coming weeks to pin down the metrics of the pilot’s success.

No decisions on the project will be made until after winter.

City staff have set up engagement sessions to hear feedback, which are happening Oct. 15 and Oct. 21. There is also an online survey available.

In order to determine the pilot project’s success and “inform next steps,” the city said it will consider insights shared through public engagement, as well as vehicle speed data, and vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian counts.

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