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Edmonton Trail NE

Main Streets

Planning the future of Calgary's thriving main streets.

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nextCity Main Streets

    Edmonton Trail NE

    The Edmonton Trail NE main street stretches from the Bow River to 32 Avenue NE.


    About


    This main street originally served as the main transportation route between the fur trade post at Fort Edmonton and Fort Calgary beginning in 1875. A bi-weekly mail route developed along this trail in 1883. By the 1890s a new gravel road, which would become Highway 2, took over as the primary transportation road between Edmonton and Calgary. Today, Edmonton Trail passes through several communities including Bridgeland, Renfrew, Crescent Heights, Tuxedo Park and Winston Heights/Mountainview. Edmonton Trail serves as a north-south arterial route for Calgarians, and has a variety of residential, light industrial, commercial and retail uses.

    Public Input

    Edmonton Trail NE from Bow River to 16 Avenue N Edmonton Trail NE from 16 Avenue to 32 Avenue NE

    Comments were compiled from the Main Streets public engagement activities which took place from November 2014 through May 2015. The top issues, opportunities and outcomes were ranked in order of consensus and ratings from citizens. This input will be analyzed to inform the planning strategy for each main street.

    What we've heard

    Top comments (ranked in order of citizen rating)

    Opportunities

    1. Preserve heritage
    2. Lots of small businesses that benefit life in our community
    3. More residential and mixed use along Centre Street and Edmonton Trail NE.

    Issues

    1. Current land use/zoning is not aligning with the vision for future redevelopment
    2. Gaps in commercial area - need more amenities and more mixed uses
    3. Lack of interactive space (benches, artwork etc.)
    4. Lack of trees, too industrial (Edmonton Trail South)

    Outcomes

    1. Safe and vibrant main street sidewalk
    2. High quality public realm elements
    3. Diversity of housing

    View map for full summary - Edmonton Trail NE from Bow River to 16 Avenue N

    View map for full summary - Edmonton Trail NE from 16 Avenue to 32 Avenue NE

    What we've learned

    To start developing solutions which ensure the future success of Calgary’s main street neighbourhoods, City planners listened and learned from main street users, neighbourhood residents, industry experts and economic specialists to understand the unique challenges and opportunities for growth and development in these areas.

    View Edmonton Trail NE key findings

    View full report of what we’ve learned​


    Local statistics and growth targets

    Growth potential

    Growth for this main street area is significantly less than the Municipal Development Plan target. The most relevant factors contributing to this are market desire and consumer preference, which haven’t driven redevelopment. Land use districts (zoning) must be in place to enable redevelopment potential to increase to desired population and employment levels, but strong market interest is a key for fueling new construction. Support from City services and infrastructure can have a positive impact on market demand and will contribute to the evolution of this main street.

    Market outlook

    Based on the 2011 Census, Edmonton Trail accounts for about 14,600 homes, or about 3.1% of the Calgary housing inventory.

    Edmonton Trail has a higher than average share of multifamily units, especially in low-rise apartments and detached duplexes. The housing stock is considerably older than the city wide average, with homes likely to have been built before 1960. Given the historic and inner-city nature of this main street, the overall age of its housing stock aligns with expectations and suggests that many units may be reaching the end of their lifecycle and may be ready for redevelopment. The result is a total demand of 4,502 residential units to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020.

    Edmonton Trail main street already has 104,000 square feet of office space accounting for about 0.13% of the city wide inventory. The new Remington building nearly doubled the current inventory of office space for Edmonton Trail. Additional commercial and retail opportunities in the area will be mostly driven by population growth in the immediate area.

    Current local planning

    Local planning

    Edmonton Trail NE is one of the longer main streets specified in the Municipal Development Plan. With a variety of contexts along the main street, it was evaluated in two separate sections: Edmonton Trail NE from the Bow River to 16 Avenue NE and Edmonton Trail NE from 16 Avenue NE to 41 Avenue NE.

    Edmonton Trail NE from the Bow River to 16 Avenue NE

    Edmonton Trail NE is a community hub for the adjacent communities of Crescent Heights, Bridgeland/Riverside and Renfrew, as well as a regional draw for many Calgarians to enjoy the diverse restaurants and wide range of commercial services. This main street is successful and provides an important cultural and recreational space for many. This section of the main street has two area redevelopment plans directing policy and land use, the Crescent Heights Area Redevelopment Plan (1997) and Bridgeland/Riverside Area Redevelopment Plan (1980). Both these plans generally support Municipal Development Plan policies for low scale, mixed use main street redevelopment.

    Edmonton Trail NE from 16 Avenue NE to 41 Avenue NE

    North of 16 Avenue this main street is primarily low density residential with limited local commercial areas. This commercial area and the low density residential areas along Edmonton Trail NE have two area redevelopment plans to direction land use planning: the North Hill Area Redevelopment Plan, approved by City Council in 2000 and the Winston Heights/Mountainview Area Redevelopment Plan​, approved in 2006. The North Hill Area Redevelopment Plan does not provide land use policies that support the Municipal Development Plan goals of a mixed use street along Edmonton Trail NE. The Winston Heights/Mountainview Area Redevelopment Plan supports moderate population increases and mid rise residential development along Edmonton Trail NE.

    Current zoning

    Edmonton Trail NE from the Bow River to 16 Avenue NE

    Edmonton Trail is intended to be an urban main street, serving the local neighbourhood while also having enough space for housing and employment to become a bigger destination. Current zoning allows for a broad mix of low-rise apartment, mixed use, and single- or semi-detached homes. However, if built out to the limits of the current zoning, development along Edmonton Trail (south of 16 Avenue NE) could only reach approximately 70% of the targets set in the Municipal Development Plan. This limits investment potential in new forms of housing and commercial space that provide new housing options and benefi t businesses in the neighbourhood.

    Edmonton Trail NE from 16 Avenue NE to 41 Avenue NE

    Edmonton Trail is intended to be an urban main street, serving the local neighbourhood while also having enough space for housing and employment to become a bigger destination. Current zoning largely restricts development to single and semi-detached homes on the west side, and three or four storey apartments on the east side of the street, with small commercial corners at 20 and 24 Avenue NW. The current zoning does not allow the street to grow over time to meet the targets set in the Municipal Development Plan. This limits investment potential in new forms of housing and commercial space that provide new housing options and benefit businesses in the neighbourhood.

    Heritage




    The Edmonton Trail main street is a major north-south transportation route that serves as a boundary between the residential communities of Crescent Heights, Tuxedo Park in the west and Bridgeland, Renfrew, and Winston Heights/Mountview in the east.

    The street is one of Alberta’s earliest and most important provincial transportation and communication networks—it was originally built from Aboriginal trails and early fur trade routes that follow the contours of the landscape. The ongoing development of Edmonton Trail signalled a tremendous period of growth in Calgary.

    The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway to Calgary in 1883 encouraged heavier traffic along Edmonton Trail and designated it a main route into the city from the surrounding agricultural districts. In 1910, a street car line was built, which spurred commercial and residential development in the surrounding areas. Examples of pre-First World War building styles and historical blocks are present today, as are pre-First World War single-family homes in Arts and Crafts and Edwardian styles.

    Edmonton Trail became a major thoroughfare with the rise in popularity of the automobile in the 1920s, connecting the south and north branches of Highway 2A—one of Alberta’s busiest highways. Examples of pre-Second World War Craftsman bungalows and 1940s wartime housing can be seen in the surrounding communities.

    In recent decades, Edmonton Trail acts as a transportation route for more local traffic, rather than regional travellers, yet it has retained its name and some of its character in recognition of its historic use.

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