Edmonton planning to bring back temporary shared streets in spring 2021 for physical distancing

The City of Edmonton said Saturday that it was planning to bring back temporary shared streets in spring 2021 to support physical distancing for pedestrians amid COVID-19.

The city said a “set of locations similar to 2020” will be implemented in the spring. Last year, some of the locations included Jasper Avenue, Saskatchewan Drive, 103 Avenue and 125 Street.

The lane closures and shared streets were set up particularly in high-density neighbourhoods as a way for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists to share the roads and safely spread out as more people got outside over the spring and summer months.

“Based on observed activities from last year, the list of locations will include a core set of routes brought back from 2020 with some routes being shifted to other areas of the city,” an emailed statement said.

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“We are currently beginning to strategically engage with some community stakeholder partners to fine-tune our approach and our finalized list of locations.”

Click to play video '‘Enough is enough’: Edmonton councillor shares dismay over social distancing road adjustments' ‘Enough is enough’: Edmonton councillor shares dismay over social distancing road adjustments

‘Enough is enough’: Edmonton councillor shares dismay over social distancing road adjustments – Apr 18, 2020

The City of Calgary announced this week that its Adaptive Roadways Program would begin again Saturday.

Read more: COVID-19 lane closures back in Calgary for second year

Edmonton city officials said Saturday that there was a “range” of feedback received on the project last year — including “appreciation of the extra space, a desire from some groups for space to be provided on a larger number of roadways,” as well as “concerned related to the cost and sign clutter.”

The 2020 program cost $119,442, the city said.

Read more: ‘Enough is enough’: Edmonton councillor shares dismay over social distancing road adjustments

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Officials are also looking at temporary patios and expanded outdoor retail spaces to help businesses operate through COVID-19.

On Saturday officials said that currently, traffic levels in Edmonton are about 19 per cent lower than pre-pandemic.

While no start date was provided for 2021, in 2020 the shared street program ran in Edmonton from May until October.

–With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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