Edmonton

Construction should not obstruct pedestrians, says councillor

Downtown Coun. Scott McKeen wants to ban construction sites that block pedestrians from using the sidewalk.

Several construction sites downtown make it difficult for pedestrians to get around

A sidewalk has been blocked by construction near the downtown Fox Tower site. (Laura Osman/CBC News)

Downtown Coun. Scott McKeen wants to ban construction sites that block pedestrians from using the sidewalk.

At several sites downtown sidewalks are fenced off with large boards or chain-link barriers because of construction. Pedestrians are often forced to have to cross the street or take a longer route.

McKeen said he received a number of complaints about the Fox Tower site on 104th Street and 103rd Avenue.

“That’s not allowable anymore. That’s not acceptable anymore,” he said. “So if you’re going to construct a tower there we have to allow pedestrian access.”

In the meantime, a crosswalk has been set up near the Fox Tower site so people can go to the other side of the road. However, McKeen has asked city administration to investigate what they can do to prevent pedestrians from having to take detours around construction.

“What I’ve heard is that other cities will demand that construction stay on site,” he said.

The administration found one option is to make pedestrian pathways a mandatory requirement for receiving a development permit from the city. Another is to provide incentives to builders who provide a place for pedestrians to walk.

“The last thing that we want to do is create more problems for pedestrians, you know, because we’re going to have a lot of construction downtown,” McKeen said.

“We already have a lot, and it sounds like we’re going to have a lot more coming.”

Councillors will debate the idea at executive committee on Tuesday.

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