Walkable Edmonton

Stories

People are embracing walkable lives in Edmonton.


The neighbourhood has really unfolded.

We discovered after we moved in that the Drift Food Truck people run the restaurant in there (Shamrock Curling Club). We go at least once a week. It seems like everyone in the whole neighbourhood with kids meet at the curling rink on Friday nights and the kids just run wild, and we eat Drift and drink craft beer. That's unexpected!

And they have Edmonton's littlest folk fest. Just over in the park, they organize a tiny folk fest. Set-up a stage and we do it all potluck. There's music all day and night - and it's right there!

We have the desire to be close to the ravine but also a desire to be central. Whyte Ave is right there and the bike lanes connect, so we can get all the way to the Farmers' Market without going on streets. Tyler is an extremely committed transit user. Some days it's the LRT, somedays it's buses, some days it's biking. With the funicular, it's allowed us to use the ravine to get downtown.

Tai + Tyler (with their kids Ada + Leo) – King Edward Park

From an immigrant's perspective, many people think that having a car is a sign of economic prosperity. Once you've settled in Canada, get the descent job, the next step you have to strive for is to get a car—because taking the transit system is part of a negative experience adjusting to Canada. Convincing people that walkability is a good thing to integrate into your life, having a positive experience for people arriving to Canada is really important.

I immigrated here 11 years ago. I take transit most of the time, for coming to work. I live in Rio Terrace, a mature neighbourhood. Purchasing our house, being close to transit was a very big consideration. I hop on the Number 4, go to the LRT station and come over here and get off at Central Station. That's my daily commute.

Being able to walk to a lot of places to get some of your errands done is super important.
There's a Filipino convenience store just a 15-minute walk away, so if I'm craving for certain snacks, it's really easy to go to.

GISELLE - RIO TERRACE

Coming from Montreal, I was so used to being so close to everything.

I found the Pogo Car Share website, downloaded the zone, I found where all the LRT stations were and wrote them on that piece of paper. Then started by rent search based on that.

That was how I wanted to live—in a place where I could have access to public transit, car share. They just made a bike path on my street here, so I bike as often as I can. I walk to yoga, the grocery store, to the pharmacy. Everything is here.

Even if it's just a drop in the bucket— considering all the F-150s that you see driving around—I want to be able to live that way.

I wasn't sure it was going to be possible in Edmonton, to be honest, but it is.

It's not only possible, it's happening.

KIM – Queen Alexandra

I don’t own a car. I don’t even have a drivers’ license.

I live downtown. I’m been downtown for the better part of six years. Six years-ish.

There’s so much to access—literally anything. All the things I value in my day-to-day experience. Walkability for me is to be able to go about and successfully do the things I need to do in a day, using only my own two feet.

You can really build an awesome little community of like-minded people. It’s hard not to walk down the street on any given day and meet someone I know.

DAN – Downtown

We’ve been here two years now.

We started in a condo downtown, in Oliver. Then we moved to South Terwillegar, and spent five years there.

There wasn’t much to walk to around there. There wasn’t even a park close enough to walk to.

We were too used to walking everywhere.

We couldn’t do the suburbs anymore.
It wasn’t for us.

Now, we made it so work, home and daycare are this little five minute triangle.

Salima & Jabir (with their daughter Abby) – Old Strathcona

We've (Candas and her partner, Timothy) lived in Boyle Street and in this house for 15 years. As a writer, editor and performer, we were living on variable incomes - so we were looking in the affordable areas.

We wanted something where there were trees on the street, a yard we could garden in and a house where we could spread out all of our artistic activities. Where could we live how we wanted to live and afford it and be able to walk downtown, walk to the Italian Centre, Chinatown, walk to the river valley.

Where else can you do that?!

This is an ultimately walkable neighbourhood. I'm not a big person, I'm not a skilled martial artist and I'm getting on in age, but I can walk everywhere in this neighbourhood at any time of day or night.

The reputation of this community is not only inaccurate, it's kind of annoying. There's nothing but richness to be found by having such a lot of different people.

People are missing out.

CANDAS (with pup, Bouffon) - Boyle Street

"We like to go walking and get lost.

If I have the opportunity to walk, I'm gonna walk it. I walk five kilometres every day. 2.5 to work, 2.5 coming back. Every morning, every evening.”

- Samia

"I do the same, unless I cheat and there's a Pogo outside our apartment in the morning.

We like to walk around and explore. So many different nooks and crannies and stores, heritage buildings with old signs and architecture. It's definitely a different pace than driving.

We moved here January 2016. I'm from Connecticut and she's originally from Mexico.

I think Alberta will always be a car place, just by virtue of the size and density. But I think Edmonton is taking the lead on making these places come alive. People can just read, interact, bike, walk their dog, eat.

Every day, since Samia works on 102 Street and I work on 105, she'll come and meet me. We meet and walk home everyday after work.”

- David

Two Residents – Oliver

Being involved in the arts community, the theatre community --- it’s a really great area to be in. There’s always something going on. All the festivals. It’s all here.

I feel like a lot of theatre artists live around in this area for that reason.

Ainsley (& her dog Jezebel) – Old Strathcona

My place is like one block away from the ravine. You go into the ravine, it's like you're completely off downtown.

Where do you get that?!

To me, that's attractive. It's central.

The people who live in Oliver have similar love for the area. Passionate. Very approachable. We love to talk to each other.

I walk here (Timbre CoWork). Sometimes I bike. That gives me time to think and arrange stuff.

It's very difficult to do furniture and design for somebody who's graduated four years with 100 grand in debt - for them to open a shop. I got to know other woodworkers and other kids. I said this is cool, why don’t I open it to everyone, so everyone can come in and do this. This way the risk is lower.

We have to adapt.

Mike – Oliver

"I decided to go downtown, to be downtown.

You don’t need a car to do everything. Some of the simpler things - like going to groceries, going to the post office, that kind of stuff.

To just be able to leave out the front door with my bike and go ride. It’s just really easy."
- Jaumell

"I’ve been here a year. Moved here for work from Vancouver. I’m from Calgary. I wouldn’t have stayed if I didn’t like it. I think living in this area has a big impact on liking it. The cafes that are close by. I do walk to work.

Walking is a good way to see a city and learn a lot about it. I didn’t have a car for seven years so I got into the habit of walking everywhere. It’s important to me to be able to walk and have everything close by."
- Melisent

2 residents – Oliver

I grew up in the Netherlands, came to outside of Edmonton near Devon in 2002, and did my degree at the University of Alberta. Immediately after graduating, I went to San Francisco. Thought I was going to stay there, then I ran into visa problems.

So I ended up back here. I came back with the intention of just staying with my parents and getting my next career move sorted out.

I ended up moving here, to Oliver at the end of March.

I don't think of it as being trapped in Edmonton.

There's a lot of stuff with the development of the Brewery District, so many local businesses you can support and there's a real mix of people here. It's really diverse.

I can walk to so many things. I don't have to worry about having a car.

I just fell in love with the neighbourhood.

Kyra – Oliver

I like that this area is close to downtown but not right downtown.

I bike to work everyday. I work like 10 minutes away.
This is my first year here, but I’m going to try to bike year-round.

I mean, I have a car but I barely drive it now.

Sanda – Oliver

I work over at the U of A so it takes me 20 minutes to walk to work.

I walk all the time anyway. I just do a little toodle down Whyte Avenue and do my usual stops. Grab a coffee, go for groceries and then walk back.

Transportation-wise it’s easy. Go down to Whyte Ave and there’s like four buses that go up and down. Then the LRT is only like 15 minutes that way.

If you want to go a little further, you can hop on a bus or whatever—you don’t necessarily have to drive.

Patti (& her dog Laddie) – Garneau

We’ve lived here for just over a year.

We were coming from downtown. So this is as far as we were willing to go. We wanted to stay within the Pogo Carshare zone.

We’ve been pretty intentional. We really wanted to just keep one car with a kid which a lot of people said we couldn't do. People at work were making bets that in a matter of a month after Anna was born that we’d have two cars. But we’ve been able to do it.

It feels like it allows us to have that walkable lifestyle with a kid. There actually are lots of kids in Parkallen and we have about 10 playgrounds in rotation that we go to around here.

Nella & Dan (with their daughter Anna) – Parkallen

We’ve never not lived in a central neighbourhood.

This neighbourhood is great in that there’s lots for kids to do. There’s a park nearby. There’s lots of young families too.

We bike a lot. I bike with him (Lewis) to work and daycare. We’re going to see if we can do it year-round. We’ll see how that goes.

Amy (and Stephen with their son Lewis) – Bonnie Doon

When I read Jane Jacobs, all of that made sense to me. I was like, I live in a place like that --- where residential and commercial stuff is all mixed in.

It’s not some tidy bit where all the commercial is over there and all the residential is over here.

I like that there are actually people walking around the neighbourhood.

Chris (& Finn) – Old Strathcona

Partly it was a familiarity thing. It was an area of the city that I knew. I came to Edmonton for University and this was the area I was living in.

But also I’m a teacher --- at the start of my career. I'm not going to teach 30 years in the same school. Who knows what the scope of your career is going to look like.

So no matter where I ended up working in Edmonton, I wanted to live somewhere central.

Fiona (& her dog Luna) – Old Strathcona

Our office just moved one block closer to my apartment. Now it’s not worth biking anymore because it’s just as fast to walk.

It’s really important to me to be able to sleep until the last minute and get to work under my own power.

Between my work and home, I’m able to do a bunch of grocery shopping. There’s a little bakery there too, so I can pick up a baguette and get some good cheese and walk home with it sticking out of my bag, like I’m French or something.

Max – Oliver

I’ve been here just about five years. My husband Paul, he bought the condo before we met. He’s been here about six. A good chunk of time.

We’ve got two bedrooms here. It’s not huge by any standards but it’s certainly big enough.

The only conversation we’ve been having about moving is about a house in the core—obviously given that I’m pregnant. I have no idea if we’ll have more than one kid. I always say like why couldn’t we live with multiple children in a two bedroom condo? This is our backyard. The river valley is right there. People all over the world do it, so why can’t we be the ones?

Cailtin – Oliver

I really like the idea of just waltzing over to the convenience store for something or to the pub or cafe. I find it a real rarity in Edmonton.

I’m not going to go as far as comparing
Edmonton to like New York. But that’s one of things that’s so great about those places --- you have these little enclaves where you’ll have a cafe or pub or clothing shop or whatever and then someone is living right next door.

I really hope that the zoning doesn’t change in this neighbourhood because that’s one of things I like about it.

Mike – Bonnie Doon

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