Those walking down Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue will notice new amenities installed in the popular shopping area.
The Old Strathcona Business Association revealed its new “street furniture” infrastructure project designed to enhance the pedestrian experience.
Starting Friday, residents can use the parklets, bistro tables, benches and bike racks built in the neighbourhood. Additional public amenities will be installed throughout the month.
“People want more public amenities on Whyte Avenue. It’s the busiest walking tourist district in the city. We lack a lot of public amenities,” said Cherie Klassen, executive director of the Old Strathcona Business Association.
The project was funded by PrairiresCan through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund.
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Kris Armitage, owner of Knifewear Edmonton, said this will attract more people to swing by the shopping district and keep businesses booming.
“It’s just going to drive more traffic to our business, which is what we’re looking for,” he said.
“Having a place to hang out, have a coffee, wander through the shops — it just allows people to enjoy the area,” he added.
The designs were constructed with accessibility and the winter season in mind.
Plan seeks to make Whyte Avenue more pedestrian-friendly
Amos Kajner-Nonnekes, design director of Vignettes Design Series, said the final structures were inspired by the temporary structures placed outdoors in 2020 and 2021, as well as public consultations.
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“Some of the design elements we included are meant to make you feel warmer. This is all-natural cedar and hardwood. It gives that feeling of a little bit more warmth. It’s poppy and colourful, adding vibrancy to the Whyte Avenue experience,” he said.
Kajner-Nonnekes added that there were limitations to the project where a heating system or an enclosed space couldn’t be accommodated.
However, Armitage believes that won’t stop Edmontonians from using the amenities.
“People have this attitude of: ‘This isn’t going to stop me. We’re going to go out, play in Edmonton.’ We’re a winter city. We go outside when it’s cold. It doesn’t matter,” he said.
The amenities are installed permanently.
The business association said it hopes the new amenities will make the bustling neighbourhood more pedestrian-friendly.
The space is designed to be used year-round and with snow removal maintenance throughout the winter.
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