Boyle Street, McCauley’s renewal plan needs to be changed, community members say

Residents and businesses in the Boyle Street and McCauley neighborhoods say the area’s planned renovation is a long time coming, but the proposed design may need some tweaking.

The two central Edmonton communities are next in line for Neighborhood Renewal – a program that rehabilitates roads and sidewalks, replaces streetlights and adds missing sidewalk links.

Yasushi Ohki, a McCauley Community League member who sits on the planning and development committee of the Edmonton Community League Federation, said he looks forward to the improvements.

“I’m super excited just because it’s now becoming a nice place to experience the street,” Ohki said in an interview on Tuesday.

The renewal area extends from Jasper Avenue to 111th Avenue and parts of 84th Street in the east to 100th Street in the west.

It does not include thoroughfares like 95th and 97th streets.

The plan emphasizes building designated lanes for active modes of transportation like bicycling and in-line skating.

“Having a nice surface for skateboarding or biking really makes a difference in these alternative modes of transportation,” Ohki said.

The design project, posted on the city’s websiteproposes to turn some two-way streets such as 107A Avenue and 92nd Street into one-way traffic, allowing designated bike lanes.

Ohki said some of the proposed one-way streets made no sense to him.

“These are the roads we take to access the main thoroughfare, so blocking them off as one-way streets really creates both frustration and confusion,” he said.

Vision of the city plan

Audra Jones, Neighborhoods Supervisor, Neighborhood Renewal Program Planning and Design, said the draft design is based on feedback gathered from residents and businesses.

It’s also designed with a number of city-building goals front and center, like the city plan and the safe mobility strategy, Jones said.

The city is collecting feedback through a variety of means, including an online survey available through March 12 and online community sessions through early March.

“We take that input into account, but we also have a mandate to bring our city plan and some of these strategic plans to life,” Jones said.

Feedback helps refine, she said.

“I wouldn’t view this as an opportunity for the community to vote on the various elements, but we welcome any feedback that each person can bring to the table,” Jones said.

Jones said his teams will compile feedback and release the final design this spring.

The city plan outlines the streets of Boyle Street McCauley included in the Neighborhood Renewal Plan. (City of Edmonton)

Little Italy straddles Boyle Street and McCauley. It’s a thriving area with local businesses, but has also struggled with social disorder and unsightly properties.

Teresa Spinelli, president of the Italian Center, said that with many city social agencies in the area, crime and social unrest are common.

Revitalizing the area, including revamping local lanes and parks, will help create a safer and more inviting environment, she said.

Spinelli said people who walk near Mary Burlie Park with children would be more comfortable if the park didn’t have hills, hidden spaces and bushes.

The city generates funds for neighborhood renewal by collecting 2% of the annual property tax. A city spokesperson said the cost of renewal projects ranges from $20 million to $55 million and the new infrastructure will be in place for 30 to 50 years.

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