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Thread: High Level Line

  1. #1
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    Default High Level Line

    Website:
    https://www.highlevelline.com/

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmont...lley-1.4350604

    A local collective has a bold new vision for central Edmonton that includes a park that would connect downtown with Whyte Avenue.
    Architect Michael Zabinski, along with a group of young creative and design professionals, has been working on the High Level Line project for a year.
    Their proposal includes a four-kilometre park made up of pedestrian paths, a cycling network, and a streetcar to connect downtown to Whyte Avenue, putting a fresh, user-friendly spin on the neighbourhoods between them.
    "We are a city with two really awesome cultural centres, downtown and Whyte Avenue," said Zabinski.
    "And for the longest time, people have gone to Whyte or they go downtown. What's missing is the link between the two — the urban thread that makes central Edmonton one place and one destination, that connects the city's two centres and creates a dynamic experience between the two."
    The park would run from MacEwan University all the way to Whyte Avenue at 104th Street. The plan calls for a transformation of the North Saskatchewan River valley, and the neighbourhoods of Strathcona, Garneau, Grandin and Oliver.
    Looking south on top of the High Level Bridge.

    People would be able to walk, cycle or take the streetcar from one end to the other. It's an ambitious idea that would require a significant amount of new infrastructure, Zabinski said.
    "It's really about blending those three ways of moving, and creating an experience that doesn't sacrifice any one of them," he said.
    The High Level Line collective on Wednesday made public a portfolio of its designs, including park-lined pathways atop the High Level Bridge, an expanded Ezio Faraone Park, and a new multi-modal bridge at Jasper Avenue and 110th Street.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  2. #2

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    Parks are nice but I’d say adding more retail shopping, restaurants, etc. south of Jasper Ave along 109 Street should be a priority in tying together the downtown and Whyte Ave. The street car would be a fantastic way to complete a triangular loop bringing people back downtown from east Whyte or taking them there so they could shop their way west and north and back downtown on foot.
    Last edited by KC; 12-10-2017 at 07:04 AM.

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    Killer idea and design suggestions.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Killer idea and design suggestions.
    Hmm. That has the air of a backhanded compliment.

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    nah...I think IanO's being sincere. It is a neat idea.

    I'm curious as to the re-emergence of the 110 street bridge. Now the old CP bridge was a nightmare in the winter, so this would have to avoid pillars on the road. Also, is there an expectation that the streetcar would extend over it?

    As for the streetcars... they are novel, but they are also a novelty. They are long since retired, maintained as a tourist idea by volunteers. Expanding this to fit the vision of this idea would require a lot more maintenance, infrastructure, employees vs volunteers, insurance, etc.
    Tired of being taken advantage of .

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    nah...I think IanO's being sincere. It is a neat idea.

    I'm curious as to the re-emergence of the 110 street bridge. Now the old CP bridge was a nightmare in the winter, so this would have to avoid pillars on the road. Also, is there an expectation that the streetcar would extend over it?

    As for the streetcars... they are novel, but they are also a novelty. They are long since retired, maintained as a tourist idea by volunteers. Expanding this to fit the vision of this idea would require a lot more maintenance, infrastructure, employees vs volunteers, insurance, etc.
    If if created a vibrant, profitable area I’m sure some sort of arrangement could be made to fund any added costs.


    It was a real pity that a couple decades ago when all that land on the west side of 109 st between Jasper Ave and 104 Ave was vacant bare land there were good infrastructure upgrade options staring everyone in the face but instead all we got was the slapping down of more development.

    They could have integrated the transportation infrastructure (rail and road) by one, adding a diagonal link between 103rd Ave to 104 Ave to the west. This would have split road traffic and enhanced the viability of all the real estate along 103 Ave downtown. Two, the old bridge could have been replaced with an above grade rail bridge over Jasper and following the old rail lines north but then turning east near 103rd Ave. to later connect with the LRT (say at the new arena station so people could hop on a streetcar to the Leg. And on to Whyte Ave after visiting the Citadel, City Hall, Art Gallery, snd now RAM and arena...)

    Also 102 could possibly have been routed north as well, or punched through to connect with itself to eventually have an express route along 102 from 124 st right into the downtown.

    Like the west side along 109 St south of Jasper Ave now, vacant land creates long term traffic routing options that should be considered before just dropping buildings on the empty land.
    Last edited by KC; 12-10-2017 at 09:04 AM.

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    Great idea! The streetcar route would be a good addition to ETS services if it ran regularly, and the development of the upper level of the bridge would fix the mess that the cables made on the high level bridge sidewalks. The Jasper Av bridge would also provide a much better solution to crossing Jasper Av as a pedestrian or cyclist. We would still need to get MacEwan to take down the ugly fence to connect it up with 105 Av and the rest of the North side though: https://www.google.ca/maps/@53.54824...7i13312!8i6656

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    There is already a high level tram. I think to make it actually useful, just putting more greenery around it won't do much. It needs to further, right up into, say, Railtown, or a link at Corona or Grandin station. Or the build out of the LRT connector that was talked about. If this does that, then it its a good thing, but if it remains roughly where it is, a hidden gem, not much will change.
    Last edited by moahunter; 12-10-2017 at 09:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Killer idea and design suggestions.
    Hmm. That has the air of a backhanded compliment.
    100% support for this. That is perhaps the most critical linkage in our city and needs to be enhanced. I absolutely love it.
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    As much as I like the concept, the design does seem to have at least two potentially fatal flaws.

    I love the existing street car. What I most like about it are the unobstructed views from the top deck of the High Level Bridge.

    While the High Level Bridge rail deck could be wide enough to accommodate a multi-use trail and a street car, didn't the City just spend millions of dollars on suicide barriers for the High Level road deck? Wouldn't similar suicide barriers need to then be installed on the rail deck were it to open to pedestrians and cyclists thereby obstructing the existing unobstructed views from the street car?

    The second flaw is that the Strathcona Tunnel is barely wide enough to accommodate the existing street car let alone a multi-use trail as is envisaged in the proposal. How could a multi-use trail possibly be accommodated in the tunnel?

    I have emailed these questions to the proponents of this redesign but thought maybe someone on this board could also answer them.
    Last edited by East McCauley; 12-10-2017 at 09:40 AM. Reason: eliminate repetitive statement

  11. #11

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    Proper suicide barriers extending out at an angle from the lower deck could also protect the upper deck, the top of the barrier would be near the level of the upper deck and 6-8' out, so you wouldn't be able to easily jump over from the top deck.

    I wonder about the tunnel width too. It was designed for freight cars that are like to 10' wide and can be really long so they sweep corners - there will be some spare room with just a 8' wide streetcar, but I doubt it would be enough for a sae path - you would still need some space on the other side, plus ~6' for a minimum path, much wider if you want to accommodate bikes comfortably.

    I really like the treatments at jasper ave, and at the north end of the bridge, although that one would be extremely expensive.

    And while they say in the presentation that future LRT could be accommodated on the lower level, there's no way that would actually happen. If they do this proposal that's then end any plans for additional transit on HLB, just buses and a streetcar (of some kind) forever.
    There can only be one.

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    That level of detail is way to micro at the moment... this is very much a broad conceptual plan.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post

    If if created a vibrant, profitable area I’m sure some sort of arrangement could be made to fund any added costs.


    It was a real pity that a couple decades ago when(...).
    I'll snip the quote there because that is the only truth needed. The whole access from the south is pathetic, and a Walt Jr. doesn't do much else except give us a nice bridge with better load capacity. A couple decades ago...when there was the outcry for better airport access etc...and the urbanists were spouting off poppycock like "managed congestion" forcing people to transit...we should have done most if not all of what you suggest. At the very least...reserve a ROW.

    Too late now.
    Tired of being taken advantage of .

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    There is already a high level tram. I think to make it actually useful, just putting more greenery around it won't do much. It needs to further, right up into, say, Railtown, or a link at Corona or Grandin station. Or the build out of the LRT connector that was talked about. If this does that, then it its a good thing, but if it remains roughly where it is, a hidden gem, not much will change.
    There is a decent connection at Grandin Station. The problem is that it comes once every 40 minutes, there's no transfer and it travels at barely more than a walking pace. I have no problem with the heritage streetcar, but I would rather see it augmenting a usable streetcar (every to minutes and twice as fast) on this route.
    There can only be one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    As much as I like the concept, the design does seem to have at least two potentially fatal flaws.

    (...)

    The second flaw is that the Strathcona Tunnel is barely wide enough to accommodate the existing street car let alone a multi-use trail as is envisaged in the proposal. How could a multi-use trail possibly be accommodated in the tunnel?

    I have emailed these questions to the proponents of this redesign but thought maybe someone on this board could also answer them.
    It doesn't. That is why this very idea was shelved a few times before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Proper suicide barriers extending out at an angle from the lower deck could also protect the upper deck, the top of the barrier would be near the level of the upper deck and 6-8' out, so you wouldn't be able to easily jump over from the top deck.

    I wonder about the tunnel width too. It was designed for freight cars that are like to 10' wide and can be really long so they sweep corners - there will be some spare room with just a 8' wide streetcar, but I doubt it would be enough for a sae path - you would still need some space on the other side, plus ~6' for a minimum path, much wider if you want to accommodate bikes comfortably.

    I really like the treatments at jasper ave, and at the north end of the bridge, although that one would be extremely expensive.

    And while they say in the presentation that future LRT could be accommodated on the lower level, there's no way that would actually happen. If they do this proposal that's then end any plans for additional transit on HLB, just buses and a streetcar (of some kind) forever.
    Agreed...
    Tired of being taken advantage of .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    (...). I have no problem with the heritage streetcar, but I would rather see it augmenting a usable streetcar (every to minutes and twice as fast) on this route.
    It would have to be a modern streetcar. The heritage ones were taken out of service for a reason. Parts are no longer readily available, the technology is old and often inefficient, and if you are doing a high frequency route, you would want your rolling stock to be as ubiquitous as possible to save on procurement/maintenance/training costs.
    Tired of being taken advantage of .

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    There is already a high level tram. I think to make it actually useful, just putting more greenery around it won't do much. It needs to further, right up into, say, Railtown, or a link at Corona or Grandin station. Or the build out of the LRT connector that was talked about. If this does that, then it its a good thing, but if it remains roughly where it is, a hidden gem, not much will change.
    There is a decent connection at Grandin Station. The problem is that it comes once every 40 minutes, there's no transfer and it travels at barely more than a walking pace. I have no problem with the heritage streetcar, but I would rather see it augmenting a usable streetcar (every to minutes and twice as fast) on this route.
    I disagree a little bit - its a short walk (outside), and I've noticed people don't do walking, especially in winter. I know about the high level because I used to live a few blocks from it, but most people don't, and unless its genuinely connected into the transport network, that won't change.

  18. #18

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    The Siemen's low floor LRT Prototype the Edmonton Radial Railway Society used to run before sending it home to a museum in Germany fit through the Stathcona tunnel without issue. You could probably tack on a couple of extra cars to the Millwoods line order to increase the HL line frequency. I don't think you could increase the speed though, as that's mostly limited by traffic and pedestrian interaction.

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    ^Running a street car through the Strathcona tunnel is not the problem. Accommodating a multi-use trail and a street car in the tunnel is.

  20. #20

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    I'm also dubious about the existing tunnel... are they proposing to widen it?

    Also, it is quite long and would require 1-2 security guards to hinder crime and vandalism as well as closure after hours. Staffing costs money, says Captain Obvious.

    There aren't any good options at the intersection of 109 st. and Sask. Drive.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    There is already a high level tram. I think to make it actually useful, just putting more greenery around it won't do much. It needs to further, right up into, say, Railtown, or a link at Corona or Grandin station. Or the build out of the LRT connector that was talked about. If this does that, then it its a good thing, but if it remains roughly where it is, a hidden gem, not much will change.
    There is a decent connection at Grandin Station. The problem is that it comes once every 40 minutes, there's no transfer and it travels at barely more than a walking pace. I have no problem with the heritage streetcar, but I would rather see it augmenting a usable streetcar (every to minutes and twice as fast) on this route.
    I disagree a little bit - its a short walk (outside), and I've noticed people don't do walking, especially in winter. I know about the high level because I used to live a few blocks from it, but most people don't, and unless its genuinely connected into the transport network, that won't change.
    You can make the walk inside most of the way along the Legislature pedway from Grandin Station. Just take the stairwell labelled 109th street Westbound exit. I'll suggest to the city they should put signage for the street car on the sign Unfortunately, the mobility challenged will have to walk a bit longer from the Grandin exit at Monsignor William Irwin Park, as that's the closest entrance with escalators and elevators. Even then, its only 150 metres to the stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Google Maps
    Last edited by Ustauk; 12-10-2017 at 10:58 AM.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    ^Running a street car through the Strathcona tunnel is not the problem. Accommodating a multi-use trail and a street car in the tunnel is.
    I was more posting that in relation to the request to increase line frequency with modern stock, and wanted to point out we could use it on the line. I agree that, as you stated, the tunnel is way too narrow to accommodate both the streetcar and a bike/pedestrain trail. Would it be feasible to widen the tunnel?

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    There is already a high level tram. I think to make it actually useful, just putting more greenery around it won't do much. It needs to further, right up into, say, Railtown, or a link at Corona or Grandin station. Or the build out of the LRT connector that was talked about. If this does that, then it its a good thing, but if it remains roughly where it is, a hidden gem, not much will change.
    There is a decent connection at Grandin Station. The problem is that it comes once every 40 minutes, there's no transfer and it travels at barely more than a walking pace. I have no problem with the heritage streetcar, but I would rather see it augmenting a usable streetcar (every to minutes and twice as fast) on this route.
    I disagree a little bit - its a short walk (outside), and I've noticed people don't do walking, especially in winter. I know about the high level because I used to live a few blocks from it, but most people don't, and unless its genuinely connected into the transport network, that won't change.
    There's an entrance to the pedway that goes from grandin station to the Leg plaza literally right there, and then you walk underground. It couldn't be any more convenient with the two lines in their current locations.

    The station stair entrance is a little to far from the Streetcar to be a great waiting place, and that's the real problem - the 40 minute wait for a slow streetcar.
    There can only be one.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ustauk View Post
    The Siemen's low floor LRT Prototype the Edmonton Radial Railway Society used to run before sending it home to a museum in Germany fit through the Stathcona tunnel without issue. You could probably tack on a couple of extra cars to the Millwoods line order to increase the HL line frequency. I don't think you could increase the speed though, as that's mostly limited by traffic and pedestrian interaction.
    Speed is mostly limited by the quality of the tracks and the equipment they run, and the fact that it's supposed to be a scenic tour, not a trip. Their track maintenance is basically nil, which is fine for 10-15km/hr or whatever they top out at, but not good enough for even a local transit route. Yes, you would probably need some new traffic lights to go faster but 30-40km/hr would be safe away from the stations where they currently have no separation from pedestrians. That would be fast enough to make it a worthwhile transit connection.
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  25. #25

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    ^that would be faster than the average speed of the NY subway which is 17mph.

  26. #26

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    30-40 would be top speed on the streetcar, not average. Our LRT has a top operational speed of 70 but still averages under 40 thanks to stops. A 35km/hr streetcar might average 25 with fairly wide stop spacing like this, but that's enough to be competitive with a bike, or with driving at busy times.
    There can only be one.

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ustauk View Post
    The Siemen's low floor LRT Prototype the Edmonton Radial Railway Society used to run before sending it home to a museum in Germany fit through the Stathcona tunnel without issue. You could probably tack on a couple of extra cars to the Millwoods line order to increase the HL line frequency. I don't think you could increase the speed though, as that's mostly limited by traffic and pedestrian interaction.
    Speed is mostly limited by the quality of the tracks and the equipment they run, and the fact that it's supposed to be a scenic tour, not a trip. Their track maintenance is basically nil, which is fine for 10-15km/hr or whatever they top out at, but not good enough for even a local transit route. Yes, you would probably need some new traffic lights to go faster but 30-40km/hr would be safe away from the stations where they currently have no separation from pedestrians. That would be fast enough to make it a worthwhile transit connection.
    You could increase the speed if you were just using the street car for transit. With the High Level Line plan, however, you have the potential for bicycle and pedestrian interaction the whole way along. You'd have to keep the speed down to accommodate for that, anyways.

  28. #28

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    That's the question, I guess. It looks like these designers were planning on an excursion streetcar, not a transit streetcar. Their rail-based pop-up shops are a little off-the wall, but if they actually happen there would be switches at each siding location too, so that would also slow things down.

    If there's no separation at all, and people are expected to wander across the streetcar space when it's not there then you're right. If that only occurs in a few station locations and for the rest there is minimal separation, like a small boulevard or curb then 30-40 should be fine. After all, we seem to have no problem with sidewalks right next to 60km/hr motor traffic.
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    Don't want to throw cold water on this, (sigh), but it seems fraught with too many issues - one being that the province actually owns the rights to the top deck for potential high speed rail.

    Not that we'll ever see HSR in my lifetime.

    Rather, love to see extension and improvements to the existing shared path from Railtown to the bridge and across the existing lower deck paired with improvements (not sure how) to the crossing at Saskatchewan Drive.

    Now, that might leave money for a gondola crossing?
    ... gobsmacked

  30. #30

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    Hrm. I would rather see the top of the High Level used for an express LRT (120 km/h top speed) out to the airport. Terminus station between 98 and 99 Ave (easy access to Grandin station and pedways to Legislature), cut and cover for the stretch between Strathcona tunnel and Whyte with the portal just south of Whyte and east of 103 St. Follow the rails all the way to the airport and put any high speed rail station out there. Would also serve as a commuter line for Leduc since Leduc transit already runs buses to the airport.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by McBoo View Post
    Don't want to throw cold water on this, (sigh), but it seems fraught with too many issues - one being that the province actually owns the rights to the top deck for potential high speed rail.
    Hopefully its just volunteer effort that has been wasted on this then, not actual city dollars (although I believe the downtown circulator was also proposed for the high level). While HSR may or may not happen one day, the province has jealously guarded the right to do it, and has continually taken steps to secure ROW for it. Its unlikely they are going to give that up now.

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    Here we go with the HSR again. If HSR is run downtown to downtown, it would need to be fully grade separated in the city for safety reasons, and preferably underground for noise and visual reasons. That makes the upper deck of the high level a poor choice. It would also be very expensive, which makes a YEG - YYC route with ordinary LRT connections into both cities the only one that might actually have a chance of happening. Perhaps now is a good time to try to convince the province of this.

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ustauk View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    ^Running a street car through the Strathcona tunnel is not the problem. Accommodating a multi-use trail and a street car in the tunnel is.
    I was more posting that in relation to the request to increase line frequency with modern stock, and wanted to point out we could use it on the line. I agree that, as you stated, the tunnel is way too narrow to accommodate both the streetcar and a bike/pedestrain trail. Would it be feasible to widen the tunnel?
    Why not look at a more 21st Century idea of an automated people mover that is smaller scale and that can handle 10,000 passengers per day. One narrow enough and automated to have the vehicles timed to use a single track in the tunnel section while an opposite vehicle waits momentarily.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiniMetro




    It would be great if they had a restaurant or cafe in the middle of the bridge.
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  34. #34

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    ^21st century doesn't need the guide rails (1950's technology), if you want a small automated system, just buy tesla's and put autopilot on. Or a buy a bus and put autopilot in it. Or you can upgrade the track that's already there, and put LRT on it, which is already there (albeit at slow speeds).

  35. #35

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    Small-vehicle automated transit has no benefit on a route like this where the vehicles would need to platoon through the single-lane or single track sections anyway.

    Here's a possibility that I hadn't thought of before....

    What if you could double-stack the tunnel, and have Streetcar below and pedestrians/cyclists above? I know that's what skytrain does in Vancouver to allow for 2 skytrain tracks in an old single-track freight tunnel. Even low-floor LRT might be a bit taller than skytrain thanks to the pantograph and other stuff on the roof despite the lower floor, but the tunnel might be something like 18-20' high, it was built for heavy freight trains.
    There can only be one.

  36. #36

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    The point is that we should think out of the box. Either a aerial gondola from Whyte and 103rd directly north to Downtown or some simple automated peoplemover via the HLB.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  37. #37

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    ^ I've always championed the idea of a gondola from Jasper (current ETS station across the funicular) to where the Whyte Ave toilets are with a single stop at Rossdale/ Remax Field in between. Just never had the time to pitch it to council.

  38. #38

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    They probably could get one privately built and run if they put out a RFP. Even a privately built system would cost about $20 or $30 million.

    The only problem is that if the COE Administration does not want to support it, they will make the specifications so high and cost the proposal at $200 million just to kill the idea.

    Color me jaded but that's how they kill good ideas.
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    Looking at the drawings of the streetcar track, the tunnel under 109 Street may be too narrow for any kind of park.

    I think the city needs some kind of confirmation for LRT needs across the High Level Bridge.
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    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  41. #41

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    What's the point? It will just get walled-off with ugly suicide barriers like the rest of the bridge.

  42. #42

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    Agree with MrOilers on this one.


    I love the supplied image.



    A guy standing on the rail with the LRT bearing down on him and another who is about to be clipped by the side mirrors. No wires, no barriers, a sliver of vegetation and no piles of snow.

    Meanwhile the COE wants no part of a privately funded gondola that would give a mass transit alternative for crossing the river.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 18-07-2018 at 07:06 PM.
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    The event tonight will be fantastic and this is gaining a lot of momentum behind the scenes.
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  44. #44

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    IanO, can you explain the image above? Or is it pure fantasy?
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  45. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Agree with MrOilers on this one.


    I love the supplied image.



    A guy standing on the rail with the LRT bearing down on him and another who is about to be clipped by the side mirrors. No wires, no barriers, a sliver of vegetation and no piles of snow.

    Meanwhile the COE wants no part of a privately funded gondola that would give a mass transit alternative for crossing the river.
    You forgot the lack of suicide barriers... or maybe that’s why the guy is on the tracks... idk.

    I love the idea of the high level bridge being more than it is and I support it but the space above one of our buisiest roads with no wind protection and constant vibration will never be these serene park as depicted.

    Get us some wide sidewalks. And make it pleasant and safe to get across. That’s all I ask

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    ^ I agree. I would just like a more pleasant way to cross the river than sharing a narrow path with bicycles, miscellaneous posts and suicide barrier. I don't care about the gimmicks though some of those might be nice.

  47. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    IanO, can you explain the image above? Or is it pure fantasy?
    It's a rendering by the group involved.
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  48. #48

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    I understand that but it is fantasy. You cannot build it like shown.
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    It is meant to be a bit 'cartoony' as the idea is still in its infancy and no design done.
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  50. #50

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    What is that streetcar and is there a return track?

    a bit 'cartoony' costing $60M I bet. Rather spend money on a gondola but heck we even have a private interest considering that and the COE won't lift a finger

    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 20-07-2018 at 01:54 PM.
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    The idea is to run it all of the way to MacEwan.

    Gondola is a distinct and separate project that hopefully will work with this project to deliver us two new connections.
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  52. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    It is meant to be a bit 'cartoony' as the idea is still in its infancy and no design done.
    The cartoonish aspect seriously diminishes the credibility of this proposal. What's with the nonsensical thought bubbles? And I wonder if they asked shirtless roller-blading guitar guy if they could use his likeness?








    (Source: https://www.highlevelline.com/)

  53. #53
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    It is meant to be playful and fun, relax, as the folks involved are some of the most creative and skilled designers in the city.
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  54. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I understand that but it is fantasy. You cannot build it like shown.
    Speaking of fantasy building much of any type of walking trail on top should be a nonstarter as per what Bridge inspections have shown and that is basically that there has been deterioration of the HLB to the degree that adding weight bearing just seems like a bad idea. Deterioration of the girders is up to 50% in some parts of the bridge.

    Does it REALLY make sense to add any load to this structure?

    Why is this even a thread or a concept?
    Last edited by Replacement; 20-07-2018 at 03:31 PM.
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  55. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    It is meant to be playful and fun, relax, as the folks involved are some of the most creative and skilled designers in the city.
    Too many times the Councilors get sold on a pretty picture and then approve the concept which then becomes large and more expensive until the point of no return. Then all sorts of issues arise trying to modify an old bridge and the budget gets blownup and taxpayers are on the hook for a $60m project that was supposed to cost $8m.

    Want me to list some of them?
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  56. #56

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    Are we against the idea or council or both?
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    Again folks, calm down. This idea is very much in its infancy and would likely need to have multiple phases and partners.
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  58. #58

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    I am totally calm.

    Can you relax?

    From a veteran of several COE fiascos, such as the 23rd Ave interchange or the Old Fort Road TOD, we warned the COE on many occasions yet the projects went off a fiscal cliff.
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    This is a privately led project at the moment by a society who have no design or budget ask or scope for that matter. It is an amazing idea that needs to be worked through.
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  60. #60

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    Was this not the same for the gondola that the COE panned and derided?
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  61. #61

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    Can anybody imagine what a windstorm event would be doing to a nice fancy HLB bridge deck today if it were there? Anything planted would be flying around. Anything not heavy or nailed down would be too.

    The "High" level bridge has new symbolism with this concept.

    How about its just a bad idea for this bridge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Was this not the same for the gondola that the COE panned and derided?
    The gondola is being led by a private group, with a feasibility study requested by the COE through ETS.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Can anybody imagine what a windstorm event would be doing to a nice fancy HLB bridge deck today if it were there? Anything planted would be flying around. Anything not heavy or nailed down would be too.

    The "High" level bridge has new symbolism with this concept.

    How about its just a bad idea for this bridge.
    That's ridiculous.
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  64. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Was this not the same for the gondola that the COE panned and derided?
    Panned and derided?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Does it REALLY make sense to add any load to this structure?

    Why is this even a thread or a concept?
    The bridge basically needs to be rebuilt from the ground up in the next 20-30 years, whether it continues to be used as it currently is, or if it's use is expanded. See the thread where the report was discussed and quoted. It may well make perfectly good sense to add this park to the HLB when it's being rehabilitated. Or perhaps it will make more sense to build an entirely new bridge structure to handle 2 way car traffic, a new LRT line, and/or the park. Or perhaps the new bridge worries about transportation, while the old bridge is left only to serve as a park and/or multi-use path. Or maybe none of that makes sense and we simply slap a new coat of paint on the HLB and nurse it through another few decades.

    Regardless of what turns out, the whole point of this is to discuss it and plan for the future.
    Last edited by Marcel Petrin; 20-07-2018 at 06:44 PM.

  66. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Can anybody imagine what a windstorm event would be doing to a nice fancy HLB bridge deck today if it were there? Anything planted would be flying around. Anything not heavy or nailed down would be too.

    The "High" level bridge has new symbolism with this concept.

    How about its just a bad idea for this bridge.
    Trees are planted on high rise buildings.
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  67. #67

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    I love how every transportation related proposal wants to make use of the top deck on the HLB: High speed rail, Central LRT, Highline...

    Makes sense when people see it basically under utilized and being the only bridge in Edmonton that stays above the valley as opposed to being in the valley.

    I love this idea, but leave the poor bridge alone. At the current bare maintenance levels, HLB will last 30 years tops before a full replacement is needed - whether that be one-by-one replacement of all existing members or simply a new bridge.

    In the short term, other than an MOU on design inclusion for the said future bridge, I don't see anything happening.

    Though structurally, if we had to go through with this project, adding a simple ped path along with a bike path won't add too much to the dead loads. Just keep any livery, shrubs and greenery off the bridge...the less water presence the better.

  68. #68
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    As part of a much larger picture and way to better connect central Edmonton.


    @ianoyeg
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  69. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by GenWhy? View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Can anybody imagine what a windstorm event would be doing to a nice fancy HLB bridge deck today if it were there? Anything planted would be flying around. Anything not heavy or nailed down would be too.

    The "High" level bridge has new symbolism with this concept.

    How about its just a bad idea for this bridge.
    Trees are planted on high rise buildings.
    I know, but sheer windstorm events are increasing in intensity and frequency. Not sure how much of a good idea it is. But high rises are a bit different than the HLB. Many wind sheer events can take place with most force exerted around ground level. So that the HLB could experience winds emanating from the banks and that have the same elevation essentially as the bridge top.

    I agree with what B.ike stated today. Although knowing the city if they just put a path in they would want the trees and landscaping too.


    Why not just put a cyclist or another multiple use path up above. Bare bones.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  70. #70

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    I'll support just about anything that makes more use of the upper deck of the high level bridge, and sooner is better than later. The bridge has at best 30-50 year life span left, lets make use of it. It will never be used for HSR, very doubtful for LRT... Most of this idea has a lot of merit. This would become a very busy pedestrian/cyclist commute route for sure. I don't think the limited running of the high level street car is making good enough use of this upper deck, it has a lot more potential. Not sure how you get around the suicide potential though without ruining much of the appeal

  71. #71

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    A potential solution is just canning the HLB street car and instead using the same Middle ROW for the trail. I.e. build it right where the tracks are. This would eliminate need for suicide fencing as from the middle you can't fall farther then onto the road, paths immediately below. Could be wrong with that but I don't think a jumper would entirely clear the level below if they tried to jump from the top. You would require quite a push off or even a running jump to clear the lower area.

    There would however need to be a standard safety railing or fence. standard height.
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  72. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    As part of a much larger picture and way to better connect central Edmonton.


    @ianoyeg
    The idea of better connectivity is sound but I do wish the images put forward in support of this idea were a little less abstract. As they exist today they provide little additional value than that provided by random postings on Reddit.

    In the meantime there are a number of interim, smaller-scale projects that would help tremendously:

    • Better separation of bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the HLB.
    • Better connections between the HLB to existing pathways (especially at the south end).
    • Some kind of connection between the south end of the HLB and the under-construction bike lanes on 83rd Avenue.
    • Better connections at the top and bottom of the funicular.
    • Finish landscaping and pathway connections around the Walterdale Bridge (surely this is almost done by now?).
    • Repair of the many deteriorated river valley paths


    These would seem to be achievable without costing huge amounts of dollars and without taking a generation.

  73. #73
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    The idea is to keep them abstract enough to not limit the project and work with stakeholders, partners, designers to refine them.
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  74. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GenWhy? View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Can anybody imagine what a windstorm event would be doing to a nice fancy HLB bridge deck today if it were there? Anything planted would be flying around. Anything not heavy or nailed down would be too.

    The "High" level bridge has new symbolism with this concept.

    How about its just a bad idea for this bridge.
    Trees are planted on high rise buildings.
    I know, but sheer windstorm events are increasing in intensity and frequency. Not sure how much of a good idea it is. But high rises are a bit different than the HLB. Many wind sheer events can take place with most force exerted around ground level. So that the HLB could experience winds emanating from the banks and that have the same elevation essentially as the bridge top.

    I agree with what B.ike stated today. Although knowing the city if they just put a path in they would want the trees and landscaping too.


    Why not just put a cyclist or another multiple use path up above. Bare bones.
    I agree

    Look at this novel concept that works well...




    Deck the HLB and paint a couple of lines down the middle for the bicycle lane...
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 24-07-2018 at 09:01 PM.
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  75. #75
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    You really hold on to things, don't you.
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  76. #76

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    Didn’t someone propose something similar a couple years ago for the old bridge they just tore out?



    Here:

    Walterdale pedestrian bridge and open air market — Make Something Edmonton_

    https://www.makesomethingedmonton.ca...en-air-market/
    Last edited by KC; 25-07-2018 at 01:59 AM.

  77. #77
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    Not really similar, but another unique idea. My experience with the Winnipeg bridge restaurant is that it would not be sustainable.

  78. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldrsx View Post
    Not really similar, but another unique idea. My experience with the Winnipeg bridge restaurant is that it would not be sustainable.
    Isn't it? Its a wonderful spot, location, view, and very unique experience. Was busy a few years ago last time we were in Winnipeg.
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  79. #79
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    They have gone through 4 concepts and owners... I spoke with the current owner last fall.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manit...nger-1.3250387

  80. #80

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    The thing is, they killed that idea based on servicing costs without considering lower cost options. Like skipping the full-service restaurant and leaving a promenade/ picnic area or putting the kitchen and washrooms on the kinsmen shore with a dining area only on the bridge.

    Whatever, though. That it would go was already a done deal, since an old, cheap multi-span bridge right next to the new single-span arch makes the new oversized bridge look stupid.
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  81. #81

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    I've got to agree to a degree with the critics - the impractical renderings don't do the project any favours. Keep it simpler is better, things like the entire re-do of ezio farone park and decking over 109st are impractical while bridge access from the line to either of Ezio Farone Park or the Leg grounds would be much more manageable.
    Same with the rail-based food trucks. Cool idea but very impractical.


    If this thing is going to have any kind of momentum they will need to scale back or at least promote a more manageable phase 1.
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    High Level Line appears to be a nice discussion project to help stoke the thought process for what to do in 20-25 years when the High Level Bridge will need to be replaced/demolished.

    When you incorporate the Central Circulator LRT into the discussion you start to realize the existing rail alignment from the tunnel on 109 Street south of the bridge to 104 Avenue by MacEwan makes too much sense.

    So how about it? Why not a six-lane bi-direction car bridge with an LRT and active transportation deck on top that allows a commercial atmosphere? or the reverse, cars on top active transportation and LRT on the bottom?

  83. #83

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    Add a few planters down the middle and make access for a few food trucks to drive on the deck. Also provisions for snow removal. The support structure is certainly strong enough. The streetcar is quaint but infrequent and impractical.
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  84. #84

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    High level will certainly need significant restoration work but it's not so far gone as that, and the central circulator remains a monumentally stupid idea.

    The High Level Line only shows a fairly narrow top deck park& path, the 30' or so that's actually available now and could be easily be utilized now, with no significant structural work provided the construction uses lightweight materials. most of their really ambitious and impractical ideas are for elsewhere along the corridor, the only problem on the bridge itself is that they have the streetcar tracks and the multi-use paths meandering for no reason other than to fit some furniture in.
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  85. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    I've got to agree to a degree with the critics - the impractical renderings don't do the project any favours. Keep it simpler is better, things like the entire re-do of ezio farone park and decking over 109st are impractical while bridge access from the line to either of Ezio Farone Park or the Leg grounds would be much more manageable.
    Same with the rail-based food trucks. Cool idea but very impractical.


    If this thing is going to have any kind of momentum they will need to scale back or at least promote a more manageable phase 1.
    I think one of the problems is the idea seems piggbacked on some of the former rail to park walk way concepts that have occurred in Chicago and NY. One more time of Edmonton envisioning Big city practice. but without realizing no shortage of green spaces and parkland in the Edmonton river valley already. The reality being that a park like corridor atop HLB is just redundant amenity. We have parks all over the area. No shortage thereof. Just build a pathway. we could use more of that.
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  86. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldrsx View Post
    They have gone through 4 concepts and owners... I spoke with the current owner last fall.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manit...nger-1.3250387
    Thank you.

    Weird that people in Winnipeg are not loving this. The restaurant I went to was kind of expensive but unique view and vantage point. One of the odder things in the article is they are thinking of a shuttle to bus people to the restaurant in Winter. for a winter city I'm wondering how much Winnipeg is currently embracing Winter. Winter would be one of the best times to visit the location and its not open a lot offseason. That seemingly being one of the problems is how can you make a go of it as a part time operation.
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  87. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    I think one of the problems is the idea seems piggbacked on some of the former rail to park walk way concepts that have occurred in Chicago and NY. One more time of Edmonton envisioning Big city practice. but without realizing no shortage of green spaces and parkland in the Edmonton river valley already. The reality being that a park like corridor atop HLB is just redundant amenity. We have parks all over the area. No shortage thereof. Just build a pathway. we could use more of that.
    A high-line like park on top would be a good thing, and it would be different from anything else we have. It was extremely expensive though, without the surrounding density it's just not worth spending that kind of money here. That's not a knock against having more than just simple pathways on top, but it's reality.

    A simple 3m bikeway on one side of the streetcar track with a boardwalk on the other would be good. if the structure can handle a few cantilevers with seating then even better, but not at all necessary.
    There can only be one.

  88. #88

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    The entire trolly system used to be cantilevered over the edge. I’d def can support a few benches and viewing areas.

  89. #89

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    What we don't know is whether it would support anything further than that. With the Streetcar in the middle the bike path and a separate walking path on the other side would take up the space where the streetcars used to be.
    There can only be one.

  90. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    The entire trolly system used to be cantilevered over the edge. I’d def can support a few benches and viewing areas.
    And swing sets

  91. #91

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    Vehicular traffic needs to have better flows to reduce volume which would then allow easier planning for these walkways, trams etc.

    97th St southbound shouldn't stop at the river. It should bridge over the river and down to Scona/99th street. Yes you would have to get rid of that one building at the intersection, or go around it and over Grierson. This would relieve volume going up and down the Grierson and Bellamy hills as well as 105 Ave on the north side. It would also reduce the southbound traffic going over the high-level bridge for those going through to the south end via 99 Street. The 97th St to 99th St bridge would massively increase flow with less zigzagging just to cross the river.

    Whyte Ave also needs help, but it can't be widened. Either make it one-way and make either the Ave north or south of it one-way in the other direction, or sandwich it in between 2 multilane one-way streets and make all of Whyte Ave pedestrian and cycling only. Wouldn't it be nice to walk down there and not be barraged with roaring sports cars, trucks and Harleys that are just doing laps up and down the strip eyeing up uni students and showing off? Allowing busses-only could also be an option.

    Once those messes are cleared up, it opens up much more for the projects, and Whyte Ave just turned into a much better and easier place to be in. You could then connect it in many ways to bike and walking paths that can even cross the high-level.

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    ^ Like.
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  93. #93

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    Improved vehicle flows don't reduce traffic volumes, only shift and increase them. 97st is another narrow street that would not be improved by more traffic in Chinatown. Or at all, but north of 118 Ave it's already pretty much ruined. If you actually looked at the plan it doesn't take anything away from existing general traffic lanes except to bridge over them in a few places.

    As you note, the roaring Harleys and trucks aren't an issue of people with somewhere to go, they are there because that's where the people are. Nuisance drivers need to be ticketed and nuisance vehicles taken off the road.
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  94. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Improved vehicle flows don't reduce traffic volumes, only shift and increase them. 97st is another narrow street that would not be improved by more traffic in Chinatown. Or at all, but north of 118 Ave it's already pretty much ruined. If you actually looked at the plan it doesn't take anything away from existing general traffic lanes except to bridge over them in a few places.

    As you note, the roaring Harleys and trucks aren't an issue of people with somewhere to go, they are there because that's where the people are. Nuisance drivers need to be ticketed and nuisance vehicles taken off the road.
    Yes it reduces it in areas, not in the entire city...

    Adding the bridge adds an extra, more efficient artery, thereby reducing the volume that passes via the current possible routes that are much less efficient. A large chunk of the volume would be spread over to the new bridge. The better flow also reduces the volume from the backed up traffic just sitting and trying to get through one of these bottlenecks.

    Ever try to go south across the highlevel bridge starting from the corner or Jasper and 109St at rush hour? That's pretty much where the stop and go traffic lineup starts. This is volume that wouldn't be there if the better flowing path was across a 97th street bridge, and much more of the traffic flow could be handled there.

  95. #95
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    And where would that traffic flow magically go to once it's across the river? 99th, Calgary Trail, and 109th are all at capacity at rush hour and have huge bottlenecking issues only a couple blocks South of the river. Spending a couple billion dollars on a massive bridge that somehow goes over or around Hall D, over the mess of roads below it, and across the river only shifts the problem. Traffic will just back up on to the fancy new bridge unless you blast a freeway through Whyte.

  96. #96

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    It doesn't shift, it spreads. And it would also alleviate volume on 97 Ave near the river since the new bridge could also tie into Connors road and 98 Ave eastbound for everyone going east coming from downtown. 99th, Calgary Trail and 109th at least still flow better than all the routes on the north side of the river. The bottlenecks are AT the river and north of it, not south of it. Those routes north of and over the river are well over capacity. When you only have 3 major routes across the river, adding an extra large artery across the river will help a lot with everything. It also helps to keep traffic that is just passing through downtown going between north and south sides because it gives them a more direct, higher capacity route to take.

    Ignoring the problem won't fix it. And if the traffic just bottlenecks further south like on Calgary trail between 34 Ave and Whitemud, that's a completely different problem, and it doesn't mean that adding a 97th street bridge didn't solve an existing problem. You need to work your way from the inside out to make changes and add capacity.

  97. #97

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    No, the bottleneck is south of the river where the free-flow lanes on the bridge run into traffic lights. 2 southbound lanes on 109 plus 2 lanes on Sask drive toward Calgary trail aren't enough to take all that the high level bridge could pour through - that's why the bridge itself is usually backed up in the evening rush.

    You're defining non-free-flowing cars as the problem. I think rationally the problems are:
    1) Accommodating more People into downtown - which is being addressed by more LRT and yes by non-motorized traffic routes that can handle many more people per hour than a lane of cars can.
    2) Traffic Congestion - Either more really expensive infrastructure, or fewer cars. I'll take fewer cars, there's no room for more cars downtown at rush hours.
    There can only be one.

  98. #98

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    Yes but of all 3 arteries going south in the Whyte Ave area, 109th St is the worst. Calgary trail flows nice until you get near the Whitemud, and 99th St is the least congested. If there were a better way to get to 99th St south, a lot of that traffic from 109th would spread over to 99th. You can clearly see a large chunk of all Jasper traffic heads towards the high level bridge like bugs to a light. I've even driven down Jasper from 97th street to 109th street to cross at the high-level bridge...

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    My shirts look like that sometimes when I put too much mustard on my hot dog.
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

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