Imagine Idylwyld: What to expect from Saskatoon's plan to revamp key street

The Imagine Idylwyld project brings together ideas for planning, transportation and design that will be implemented along Idylwyld between 20th and 25th Street East.

Idylwyld Drive is a congested through-way for commuters, but the city is trying to make it a point of pride

The Imagine Idylwyld plan will be unveiled March 7 for public consultation in Saskatoon. (Google)

The City of Saskatoon has been working on a plan to freshen up Idywyld Drive for years, and now the proposal is ready for city council consideration.

The initiative brings together ideas for planning, transportation and design that will be implemented along Idylwyld between 20th and 25th Street East — an often congested, slow-moving area of the street.

Gateway to Saskatoon's neighbourhoods

This view of the intersection at Idylwyld and 20th Street shows potential for high-rise buildings and possible rezoning of the industrial-looking area to maximize land use. (City of Saskatoon)

The proposed Imagine Idylwyld revamp covers the area of the street linking Riversdale, downtown and the Idylwyld business district. 

The street still has "remnants as a highway," said Jay Magus, the city's acting director of transportation.

The goal is to beautify Idylwyld and bring it up to date with the growing city.

Stakeholders who attended public consultation meetings showed a preference for foliage and landscaping.

There is also opportunity for public art installations along the drive, though no concepts have yet been tabled.

Addressing 'pinch-points'

"We have a few pinch-points on Idylwyld," said Magus.

"We have a left turn lane, and a shared left turn and through lane."

The proposed plan will get rid of the extra lanes, and allow for drivers to perform left-hand turns concurrently.
This view of the intersection at Idylwyld and 22nd Street shows the removal of 'pork chop' islands that pedestrians currently have to leap-frog. The new design is more pedestrian-friendly and will cut commute times by a few minutes. (City of Saskatoon)

22nd Street is a busy pedestrian crossing and is, at times, unsafe in its current design.

"There's these little pork chops and it's like you're playing Frogger," said Magus, referring to the islands beyond the right-hand turn lanes.

"You do a leapfrog to the pork chop island and scurry across the street."

The pavement will be narrowed in those sections, and the right-hand turn lanes will be removed from behind the street light, so pedestrians won't have to leapfrog.

Bike paths, not bike lanes

Bike paths are visible in green in this view of 23rd and 24th Streets at their intersection with Idylwyld Drive. They will run parallel to the sidewalk and will be clearly marked as cyclist areas. (City of Saskatoon)
The Imagine Idylwyld project will work alongside the city's Bus Rapid Transit plan and its downtown cycling network.

The bike paths proposed in the plan will differ from the lanes downtown.

"That's a retro-fit situation where we popped white posts on asphalt," said Magus.

The bike path will be raised, off the curb and away from traffic. It will be distinguished from the sidewalk.

A similar cycling path is half-built on Victoria Avenue.

The proposed plan will be on display to residents March 7 at the Western Development Museum from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. CST. City administrators will also be presenting ideas for the Bus Rapid Transit system, and Saskatoon's downtown cycling network.​

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