Car Free Whyte Avenue Pilot Project Proposal
July 22, 2015: Consultations for Car Free Whyte Avenue examined the concept of closing parts of the avenue for a few hours late at night when patrons leave late-night establishments on certain busy nights of the year.
The proposal envisioned a limited-scale pilot to test the concept.
The City explored public opinion on the Car Free Whyte Avenue concept in late 2014. On the question: “Would you support making a portion of Whyte Avenue ‘car free’ late at night on weekends,” results were:
Insight members’ survey: (919 responses), 46% highly support, 33% yes in theory but need more in information, 9% perhaps, 12% no.
Open link survey: (2,040 responses), 57% highly support, 20% yes in theory but need more information, 6% perhaps, 17% no.
Community League & Area Council Executives (66 respondents from 10 groups) 87.9% highly support, 12.1 % no
Open House comments: (147 attended, 353 comments recorded), 8% highly support, 40% yes in theory but need more in information, 2% perhaps, 29% no, 21% associated questions and comments.
Survey for Old Strathcona Business Association’s members: (7 responses of >650 members), 5 highly support, 1 yes in theory but need more information, 0 perhaps and 1 no.
Old Strathcona Business Association will take the lead, partnering with the City of Edmonton, if it chooses to do further exploration of the Car Free Whyte Avenue pilot proposal.
The association and other community stakeholders have a major stake in the ongoing vitality of this important district, and are well placed to help further explore this and other approaches to the safety and enjoyment of late-night patrons.
Edmonton Transit’s late-night bus service, due to be introduced this fall, will provide another option for late-night hospitality patrons and workers to get home safely.
The City of Edmonton continues to assist with closure of parts of Whyte Avenue for public safety and enjoyment reasons on certain special occasions, such as the 2015 Pride Parade and the Taking it to the Streets street party and concert.
About Car Free Whyte Avenue
Whyte Avenue is a busy hospitality destination. The mixed-use area has a high concentration of dining and entertainment businesses (restaurants, pubs, taverns, cafes, night clubs, theatres, etc.). There are approximately 10,000 licensed seats in the area. The large number of licensed seats means that there are usually more people on the sidewalk between midnight and 3am on a Friday or Saturday night than there are on a typical Saturday afternoon. Whyte Avenue is also a centre for festivals and events.
The concept of making a portion of Whyte Avenue “Car Free” was about allowing pedestrians to walk on the street for a few hours to help eliminate sidewalk crowding on selected Friday and Saturday nights.