Old Strathcona sidewalk expansion project returns

Whyte Avenue’s expanded sidewalk is returning this summer with added room for patios and pedestrians.

The successful sidewalk expansion project launched by the Old Strathcona Business Association is coming back again this year after overwhelming support. Cherie Klassen, Executive Director of OSBA, says the project is intended to give people the room to safely social distance.

“Something always kinda has to go, and at the end of the day we really see Whyte Avenue as a main street first, and a car travel lane second, and that’s also what the public has told us,” said Klassen.

While the majority of pedestrians told CTV News Edmonton they are in favour of the project, many are aware this will be less favourable amongst drivers.

“For the driving it is probably going to be worse but I think it’s great for the businesses to have that extra space for the patio,” said pedestrian Christy Williams.

To help avoid overcrowding on one side of the street, the sidewalk expansion will now include both the north and south side of the avenue.

For those commuting out of town like Sam Mccolman, the heavy traffic flow is to be expected.

“When I come to Whyte Ave I’m kind of ready for crazy traffic,” he said. “I come out here expecting to not find a parking spot.”

For some, the additional seating and walking space means greater support for local businesses.

“I think it’s great for Whyte Ave culture and entertainment. I think anything to get more foot traffic on Whyte Ave will be beneficial,” said pedestrian Sean Williams.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson