Construction Updates Ward 2

Every summer, construction projects around the City get going with new and renewed infrastructure. Some of the biggest projects are well on their way within Ward 2, including the Yellowhead Freeway conversion, Blatchford, Northwest LRT, and neighbourhood renewal. It’s fair to say we have a lot to be excited about.

Crews are working hard to prepare the roads surrounding Yellowhead for its freeway conversion. To safely accommodate traffic through the construction area much of 128 Avenue and 125A Avenue has been reduced to westbound traffic. This will allow the City to reconfigure the roads and remove traffic signals along the Yellowhead with the first light removal being at 89 Street. None of the projects this summer should affect your daily commute on the Yellowhead as they are projects that will help to better accommodate any displaced traffic as a result of temporary or permanent road changes. Public engagement for the 97 Street to St Albert Trail section will begin later this year. If you would like up to date information, be sure to sign up at edmonton.ca/yellowhead.

Exciting things are also happening in Blatchford. Four builders were selected to construct the first homes: Carbon Busters, Encore Master Builder, Mutti Homes and Ocheller by RedBrick.  The roads are already complete and construction will start very soon on the first homes, which will be townhouses. While the houses are being sold and built, construction crews are completing the first linear park and all of its features. This linear park runs the length of the first stage of development and will feature heritage art pieces, play areas, community gardens, an event area, and more amenities that will make Blatchford an amazing place to raise a family.  See Blatchford edmonton.ca for details.

Construction on the first phase of the District Energy Sharing System is almost complete with crews putting the finishing touches on the first Energy Centre, which will house the system’s key equipment and connect to one of Canada’s largest geoexchange fields found under the pond. 

The City recently released the preliminary design for the NW LRT extension into Blatchford. It includes two LRT stops right within the heart of the community. Custom-designed wider sidewalks with pedestrian-scale lighting and street furniture, separated bike lanes, and pedestrian-only streets are some of the amenities residents will enjoy. These will help connect people to the LRT and make commutes around the City easy and enjoyable. To see a flyover of the preliminary design and learn more about the NW LRT visit www.edmonton.ca/nwlrt.

It’s an exciting time in Ward 2 and in our City. I know construction delays can be a nuisance, but please give construction crews and other workers lots of room to work when you are driving around them.

Safety on Public Transit, taxis and ride sharing

Since I have been elected to Council one of my main areas of focus has been safety for everyone including the vulnerable, children and women. As part of the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls we completed a scoping study that identified public transportation as an area that women felt the most vulnerable. Public transit, taxis and ride-sharing services are a site for risk of sexual violence.

Over the past few years we have been working on increasing security at public transit by utilizing good urban design principles, and earlier this year we began 24/7 security at many transit stations. I am happy with some of the progress we have made with public transit but will continue to push for even more safety.

I heard from women during the Uber debate that safety is one of the concerns they had. They felt it was important that Criminal record checks were in place before someone could be licensed and the same standard applies to all drivers including taxi cabs.

Currently the bylaws in place keep new applicants with convictions from getting their vehicle for hire license. However, already licensed individuals (with convictions that have occurred since they were first granted their licence) are successfully appealing their licence rejection because of the lack of clarity in the bylaw. As an unintended consequence this action has eroded public trust and safety. The idea that anyone that has been convicted of crime is allowed to drive the public concerns me, and as a City we have a responsibility to only license those who we feel confident will keep our citizens safe.

On March 6th this item is coming to Community and Public Services Committee for debate. My priority is public safety and will work to have clarity of rules and expectations. Let me know your thoughts or come and speak to this issue at Committee. You can register to speak at committee or public hearing here.