Roadways in Mature Neighbourhoods

The following article was written by Ben Henderson for Ward 8 community newsletters.

Councillor Ben Henderson ~ Roadways in Mature Neighbourhoods

As the weather warms up and we all flock outside, we are greeted not just by signs of spring greenery. It is also pothole season. My office is getting numerous calls about potholes and other roadway issues. City Transportation Services management has assured me that crews are working round the clock to address the potholes. They are responding to these on a triage basis where the worst holes are filled first. Although the City does seek out and repair potholes, please do report potholes or other road repair issues to 311. Once the roads are completely dry then street sweeping will begin, which removes excess sand and gravel.

The City has approved a supplementary program to mill and pave about 20 km of some of the poorer arterial roads around the City this summer. This will not solve all the problems, but it is a step in the right direction. Milling and paving will resurface some of the worst roads in Ward 8, including 98 Avenue and Terrace Road between 50 and 75 Street.

Our central, mature neighbourhoods do bear a disproportionate share of the city’s traffic burden. If we really want to have walkable neighbourhoods that encourage pedestrian and bike travel, we cannot keep allowing the central neighbourhoods to pay the price for commuter traffic.

I continue to support the Bicycle Transportation Plan and the LRT expansion. Neither of these projects reduces the need to repair roadways, but continuing to build an interconnected, multi-modal transportation system gives citizens a chance to choose to walk, bicycle or ride transit as an alternative to driving.

Posted in Mature Neighbourhoods, Roads | Comments Off

Update on Bike Lane Plans

The following article was written by Ben Henderson for Ward 8 community newsletters. Share your thoughts on the bike plans in the comments.

Councillor Ben Henderson ~ Update on Bike Lane Plans

There has been much debate recently about the new bike lanes that the City has been retrofitting into our traffic system. The work is based on a large city wide plan that was developed after extensive consultation a number of years ago. Picking a route that works to create a good system is the easy part, figuring out how to retrofit it through existing roads and communities is more difficult. Just as it is with finding space to put the LRT through existing areas, adding proper bike infrastructure cannot be done without some tradeoffs.

The advantage is that we can make sure we can create a space where bikes clearly belong, that is out of the way of traffic and pedestrians, and allows for the smooth flowing and safety of all involved. Done well it should eradicate the kind of circumstances that lead to the death of Isaak Kornelson as he was biking on Whyte Ave last fall and got squeezed between a parked car and a cement truck. We have to find routes that allow bicyclists to travel as directly as possible from point to point, while at the same time avoiding the most congested automobile arterials. The bike master plan does just that. The tradeoff is that it often means that the new bike routes are going down roads that may not have the width to keep the drive lanes for cars, the sidewalks for pedestrians, space for bicycles and still keep all the street parking. It is over that lost parking that most of the concern has come from people living along those routes.

Every effort has been made in the design to maintain parking and to replace any lost spaces nearby. But if the bike lane gets compromised to the point that it has the bikes weaving in and out of traffic as the lane comes and goes, then we have not achieved anything. All we end up doing is creating inconvenience without improving safety. If we compromise it to the extent that no one uses the lane then we have achieved nothing.

We are focusing our efforts on providing high quality routes for bikes in the areas where there is already heavy demand. This may cost a bit more, and we may cover fewer kilometers, but I think this is a case where getting quality instead of quantity will be of benefit to all.

The good news is that, as a result of our efforts over the past few years, we have seen a marked improvement in the number of people biking. And for all of those people who can make that choice it creates more space on the roadway for those who have no choice but to use the automobile. If we can do this right it will benefit everyone.

Ben Henderson, Councillor, Ward 8

Posted in Bike | Comments Off

Councillor Ben Henderson: Innovation at EPL

Posted in Arts and Culture, Learning | Comments Off

Cut My Commute Campaign

As Edmonton’s representative on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Councillor Henderson recently participated in their “Cut My Commute” campaign.

When the video above was taken, city staff also took the opportunity to ask Councillor Henderson about how he perceives the LRT expansion.

Posted in Transit | Comments Off

Fall Back in Love with Winter!

Councillor Henderson embraces winter

Councillor Henderson helps unveil Edmonton’s new WinterCity Strategy. The goal is to make us a leading winter city – one where people want to be outside. We want Edmonton to fall back in love with winter!

WinterCity Strategy Unveiled

Posted in Parks, Winter City | Comments Off

Cyclist Town Hall Meeting on September 25

Bike Paths Along the Whyte Avenue Corridor

Many Edmonton streets are unsafe for cyclists. As Edmonton’s cycling hub, the Whyte Avenue Corridor is in dire need of dedicated infrastructure to increase safety and make cycling more comfortable for cyclists of all abilities.
● Edmonton Bicycle Commuters : presentation on bicycle infrastructure
● Conrad Nobert: Ideas for Whyte Avenue Bike Infrastructure
● Ben Henderson, Edmonton City Councillor
● You: open forum/town hall meeting format. What bicycle infrastructure do you think would make Whyte Avenue safer and more comfortable for cyclists?
The goal of this meeting is to galvanize public support for Whyte Avenue Bike infrastructure, and then to form a working group to refine a proposal to make to the city. Cyclists should decide what infrastructure would best improve cycling safety and comfort along the Whyte Avenue corridor.
Where: Queen Alexandra Community Hall, 10425 University Ave (near Calgary Trail and 76th Avenue

When: September 25, 7:30pm

Posted in Bike | Comments Off

Better Bike Infrastructure

5 September, 2012

“Last Friday I joined a group of 300 or more cyclists who gathered to mourn the death of Isaak Kornelsen, the cyclist who had been killed the previous Monday while cycling on Whyte Avenue. I  think there were many of us who did not know Isaak, although there were also many there who did.  Nevertheless I think news of the tragedy shocked and upset all of us, because as regular cyclists, we could each imagine and remember being in very similar predicaments. Every one of us understood how easily it could have been us.

I was also aware that barely two weeks earlier I had cheerfully opened the new bike corral pilot project in the Whyte Avenue area, designed to improve the parking situation for the myriad of bikes that use the area. We recognized as we opened the corrals that Whyte Avenue was a particularly appropriate area to try them out because the area was so heavily used by cyclists. So the question is, if we know there are that many cyclists using the area to commute, why is our infrastructure still so poor?

The City has made a commitment in our new transportation master plan to shifting the mode of how people travel. This means we are committed to making it possible for people to move away from the single occupancy vehicle onto public transit, and to active transportation, walking and cycling. We are not alone in having committed to this shift. Most of the major cities in North America are working to the same ends, in large part because we can afford no other solution to our growing transportation demands. Most major European cities have already shifted.

But writing it in our plan is not enough. I believe if we really want to get there we have to significantly up our game in terms of our commitment to convenient and safe infrastructure for walking and cycling.

And I know it is possible. About a month before last week’s tragedy I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Copenhagen. Like most of the people of Copenhagen I did all of my travel in that city either on foot or by bike. Over the last thirty years the bicycle has become the mode of transport chosen by the vast majority of the population. And it spans all demographics. Most of us assume that it has always been like that there; that it is built into the culture. It was a great surprise to find out that thirty years ago, when they started on this project, the city was very much like us, completely car dependent, clogged with traffic, and convinced that there was no way anyone would change.

Their solution was to build a parallel bicycle commuting network that was safe, convenient, and could coexist with both pedestrians and the automobile. This did not mean sending the bicycle round by convoluted side streets. It also did not mean forcing the bikes into the traffic. It meant carving a small piece off every road that was clearly for the bicycle only, separated from both the drive lane and the sidewalk. The thought now of having a main thoroughfare like Whyte Avenue in Copenhagen that did not have separate bike lanes would now be unheard of. The result is that huge portions of the community now bike, not because anyone makes them, but because they choose to. They choose to because it is faster, more convenient, and significantly cheaper than the other options. And for those that cannot make that choice and still need to drive, the roads are that much freer.

It was based on that experience that I called last week for bike lanes on Whyte. I know it is possible, and I know they would be heavily used. Nevertheless I also understand the belief, held by many and embedded in our bike master plan, that it might make more sense to use 83 Ave as the bike corridor. Other cities have made this choice and it too works well. As long as the route actually lets bikes go conveniently where they need to go it will work. I am not sure what the best solution is and I recognize that there is disagreement even amongst the existing bike commuting community which is the better option. Either way I think for all of the cyclists that were there on Friday to memorialize Isaak’s death it is time to do something.

Over the past few years the City has started to retrofit bike lanes into the existing parts of the city. But time and again the true usefulness and design of those lanes is being compromised so as not to impede car traffic and parking.  If we are really going to get ourselves to where we say we want to go I think we are going to have to make sure that the facilities truly create a safe space for the users we expect to use them. If we really want to create a system that everyone feels safe and comfortable using then we have to engineer our bicycle facilities with the same attention that we have applied to our car infrastructure. Otherwise instead of achieving of our objective of having more people choose to cycle, we will continue to put the Isaaks of our city at risk and the resulting tragedy will just frighten more of us off the road.” – Ben Henderson

The City’s Cycling webpage offers additional information on cycling in the city including provincial and municipal laws that govern cycling, bike maps, and safety tips).

Posted in Bike, Recreation, Roads, Safety, Transit | 1 Comment

Bike Corrals near Whyte Ave Just in Time for Fringe

24 August, 2012

The four bike corrals installed along Whyte Ave are a hit!  Ben was on hand to unveil the City’s three-month pilot project just in time for the Fringe Festival, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

The on-street bike parking allows for 16 bikes to be parked in the space of one parking spot and frees up space on the sidewalks for the many visitors and residents of Old Strathcona.

The on-street bike parking spots are located at 104th and 105th Streets along Whyte Ave.  Give them a try when you come down to take in the Fringe Festival and let the City know what you think by answering their online survey.

For more information about bike amenities, bike maps, or to request a bike rack, please visit:

See you at the Fringe!

Posted in Bike, Recreation, Roads, Safety, Sustainability, Transit, Walkable Edmonton | Comments Off

Queen Elizabeth Park Workshop #2 – Aug 15, 2012

8 August, 2012

As you may already know, the City of Edmonton is in the process of developing a plan that will enhance Queen Elizabeth Park’s role as a city-wide destination park. In April, the City of Edmonton held its first public workshop and hosted an online survey where the public was invited to share their thoughts and ideas on the future of the park. A summary of the consultation findings and the survey results have been compiled in a ‘Preliminary Process Report’ now available on the project website.

The City of Edmonton is holding its second workshop for the public to review and provide feedback on the vision, guiding principles and preliminary conceptual designs that were developed based on input from the first round of consultation. Public input from this workshop will help inform a design direction for the final park master plan.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

6:30 – 8:30 pm

Old Timers Cabin, 9430 Scona Road

This event will be a two hour facilitated ‘workshop’. We hope that everyone interested in Queen Elizabeth Park will attend this workshop in order to fully participate in the planning process. However, if you wish to be involved but are not able to attend the workshop, an online survey will be available from August 16-31 on the project website where you can provide your input.

For more information and to sign up for project updates please visit



Posted in Parks, Public Involvement, Recreation | Comments Off

Edmonton Magazine’s ‘Best Neighbourhoods’ List Gives Ward 8 Some Bragging Rights

1 August, 2012

Edmonton-based Avenue Magazine released their first annual poll results of Edmonton’s best neighbourhoods, according to its readers.  Strathcona tops the list, while Garneau, Cloverdale, and Belgravia all won mentions in the best places to live in Edmonton.

Four of the top ten neighbourhoods are in Ward 8, and it’s no surprise.  Avenue reports respondents listed walkability, green space, and character amongst the most desirable traits, and the mature neighbourhoods of our ward score well in these regards.

Do you agree with the results?  What makes your neighbourhood the best?

To see the full list of winning neighbourhoods and read more about the results of the poll, visit:

For the role parks play in desirable neighbourhoods,

Profile on Strathcona:

Profile on Garneau:

Profile on Cloverdale:

Profile on Belgravia:




Posted in Heritage, Mature Neighbourhoods, Parks, Safety, Walkable Edmonton | Comments Off