As cities around the world enter a new renaissance in urban planning by making them pedestrian-friendly, they face huge challenges in what to do with roadways which are no longer needed. Edmonton has found a fun way to revamp an unnecessary roadway and it’s as simple as child’s play. For a pilot project for this summer, the alley on the North West corner of 104 St and Whyte Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic and made a pedestrian plaza. Decorated with purple and pink polka dots, the plaza is playful, and includes tic-tac-toe squares and a hopscotch from the Whyte Avenue entrance to draw pedestrians into the space.
The CITYlab initiative was a collaboration with the Old Strathcona Business Association, the Old Strathcona Foundation, and the City of Edmonton. CITYlab has taken public spaces in Edmonton by storm this year. One of their projects include a rainbow crosswalks during the Edmonton Pride Festival.
Another major project was DIYcity which scattered 24-hour projects throughout the city. For DIYcity, a retro dance party was held in a parking space on 104 Street, and a pop-up cabaret took place at the McIntyre Park gazebo. See the parking space disco picture by Kevin Tuong in the video.
Although the pedestrian plaza is the latest painted alley to hit the streets, Edmonton On The Edge worked with the Edmonton Arts Council to create the Alley of Light back in August 2011. That was created by local artists Robert Harpin and Karen Campos. Note that this Alley of Light should not be confused with the Alley of Light park on the west side of 104 Street where IllumiNITE festival occurred. This topographical mural in the Alley of Light was instead on the east side of 104 Street.
With that, here’s the Yegventures video to show off the lastest Pedestrian Plaza. As you see, it was already put to good use. If you happen to visit the the alley, share your experience. It will be open to the public until the end of summer.