After nearly two years of construction, work on the 156 Street interchange project has been completed (actually, construction wrapped up on October 6, 2006 – I know, I’m behind in sounding off). Thus ends a year of traffic snarls that, at times, threatened to paralyze the west end. The project played hell with all side streets and arteries and especially bus routes. For the past year or so, my evening bus has been late by up to 15 minutes. A short time ago I actually considered walking home to shave a bit off the 90 minute commute. Alas, such a drastic measure wasn’t necessary. The project was completed on time and on budget, according to the city. It’s always nice to hear the words, “on time and on budget”. They seem so rare.
Fear not, E-Town dwellers. There are plenty of other road work projects on the books, as always. You can download the 2006 Construction on Your Streets Map here. It’s actually quite a handy little thing to keep around. The city even publishes time lines and construction bulletins for these projects, both available at the same link above.
Infrastructure spending like that is quite necessary given this city’s explosive growth. Anything that helps move people and goods around this town in a timely fashion is most certainly welcome. In my opinion our two most pressing infrastructure / roadway projects are the South LRT Expansion and the interchange at 23rd Avenue and Calgary Trail. Both these projects are long overdue and desperately needed. The cluster-fuck known as 23rd Avenue is by far the most important from a traffic and safety perspective. These days, 23rd and Gateway is a bag of warm shit for every motorist. The consumer nuclear bomb known as South Edmonton Common, in the south east corner of the intersection, has created traffic issues hitherto unimagined in the City of ChampPeens. Fortunately, a pretty sweet (and, by the looks of it, exceedingly expensive) plan is in place to deal with the traffic problems. Check it out here [www.23ave-interchange.com]. There is a 3-D animation of the proposed interchange in the multimedia section of that website. Thing is, this shit should have been fired up and fast-tracked three or more years ago. Only now is it starting to take off, albeit with an ETA of 2009. Not much we can do except make like an ass in a hail storm – stand there and take it.
And don’t get me started on South Edmonton Common. I think an inspired act of god should happen there. Short of that, a nuclear weapon.
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?