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The City of Edmonton is seeking public input on a plan to transform Old Strathcona into a community hub as part of efforts to revitalize the area. The proposed Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy includes recommendations such as adding more green space and bike paths, prioritizing pedestrians and transit on Whyte Avenue, and blocking off a portion of 83 Avenue to vehicles. City councillor Michael Janz emphasized the importance of creating spaces that can be enjoyed year-round, including fire pits and festival areas.

One concern raised by Janz is how closing off traffic in certain areas could impact local businesses, such as the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market and the Fringe Theatre. The Farmers’ Market is supportive of the plan to attract more foot traffic to the area but acknowledges that renovations would be required to accommodate the changes. This includes creating access for trucks and potentially removing a parking lot that the market currently leases from the city to provide free parking for customers.

Although the proposed plan may impact parking availability in the area, Janz reassured that there are still ample parking options with 3,500 parking stalls in the vicinity. He emphasized the need for better communication about parking options to encourage visitors to explore Old Strathcona. Janz also noted that the feasibility of the proposed changes is still uncertain, as funding and potential property sales would be needed to support the revitalization efforts.

Residents have until April 7 to share their feedback on the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy through an online survey before it is presented to city council in August. The city aims to create a more vibrant community hub in Old Strathcona by implementing recommendations that prioritize pedestrians, transit, and green spaces. The potential changes could enhance the area’s appeal and provide new opportunities for local businesses and residents alike. Ultimately, the revitalization efforts aim to make Old Strathcona a more attractive and accessible destination for visitors and residents of Edmonton.

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