From flowers to art, Alberta Avenue residents are reimagining the view from its alleys

The Green Alley project will aim to transform five neighbourhood alleys into greener, more community-friendly spaces.

Project will transform five alleys into green, community-friendly spaces

A back alley in Alberta Avenue. Neighbourhoods residents are coming up with plans to make the alleys cleaner and more community-friendly. (Ariel Fournier/ CBC Edmonton)

From cleaning up the trash to planting flowers and herbs, Alberta Avenue residents are working on plans to spruce up five alleys in the neighbourhood.

It's part of a project called Green Alley, spearheaded by volunteers who have been working together since May to develop the plans and seek partnerships with community leagues, city departments and non-profits.

"It really brings neighbours together, brings ideas from people that normally sometimes do not participate on neighbourhood stuff," said Karina Hurtado, a Green Alley volunteer.

The initiative will first be tried on five alleys — three stretches located east of 95th Street between 112th and 119th avenues, as well as two stretches north of 118th Avenue between 86th and 89th Streets.

The plans include cleaning up discarded garbage, planting trees, flowers or herbs, improved lighting to increase visibility and deter crime, and adding art wherever possible. 

Christy Morin, executive director of Arts on the Ave, said the project was inspired by pleas for help from neighbours.

"Lots of grit and grime, lots of crime, lots of drug use, a lot of (overdoses) that are happening just half a block off of 95th Street, which is now becoming a corridor that needs some real strong attention," she said. 

The inspiration for Green Alley was a similar project in Montreal that started in the mid-1990s, in which the city provided funding to turn alleyways into gardens, playgrounds and gathering places.

Maggie Glasgow, project lead on Edmonton's Green Alleys, said the end result of this project is to make the streets an inviting place for the community. 

"We just want to try and make it more usable for the residents who actually live here," she said.

She said her kids rode their bikes in the alleys and her daughter fell off her bike after it hit one of many potholes.  

Glasgow would like to see those repaired.

"I'd love to see kids back here playing like right now," she said. 

The volunteers, including community organizations, are meeting weekly to come up with a firm plan, which they hope to start implementing in February. 

Alberta Ave. residents are launching a 'green alleys' project to fix up neglected alley ways in their neighbourhood to beautify worn out street ways and encourage residents to use the area more as well as dissuade crime and garbage dumping. 5:30


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