Response to Staff Report regarding Prior-Venables (GWAC letter to City Council)

September 30th, 2019

Attention: Mayor Stewart and Council,

The Grandview Woodland Area Council would like to convey our deep disappointment at City staff’s abandonment of the recommendation of the Flats Arterial Community Panel to use National-Charles as the route for the new arterial road.

Dozens of people gave hundreds of hours of their time to the Community Panel process, only to see their sincere consideration tossed aside, their time and effort wasted. Staff’s disregard for genuine consultation will undoubtedly leave a distaste in the community toward future engagement efforts by the City.

If Council truly intends to abandon the community consultation process regarding alternatives to Prior-Venables and disregard the many previous commitments made by the City to downgrade Prior-Venables to a local serving street, then strong and clear commitments must be made to reconnect Strathcona residents with their Park through a prompt and effective traffic calming process.

The only way to genuinely reconnect Strathcona with their Park is to proceed in the very near term with the following actions:

1. Prior-Venables must be downgraded to a neighbourhood collector with clear commitments to one traffic lane in each direction through the immediate restoration of all-day parking with supporting curb bulges to narrow the crossings; 

2. Raised crosswalks must be applied at Hawks Avenue and Campbell Avenue to enhance the safety and comfort of those crossings and provide a real feeling of connection between Strathcona and their Park;

3. Hawks Avenue adjacent to Strahcona Park must be closed and, along with Cottonwood Gardens, be officially integrated into the Park; 

4. A process must be undertaken to design and implement enhancements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure along Prior-Venables;

5. The City must commit to study and resolve sidestreet shortcutting issues resulting from the downgrade of Prior-Venables; and

6. The City must commit to eliminating the east and westbound travel connections between Prior Street and whatever arterial network replaces the Viaducts, that is, right turn only westbound off of Prior Street onto Main Street and right turn only eastbound onto Prior Street from Main Street – no through lanes.

Without these measures, any downgrade of Prior-Venables will be in name only with no true effect or benefit to the community.

These efforts, at a minimum, would help calm the sting of City staff’s disregard for the extensive community consultation undertaken on this matter.

The Grandview Woodland Area Council strongly supports the right of Strathcona residents to be genuinely reconnected with their Park.

We request that strong commitments be made immediately, as described, and that action begin in earnest. 

Regards, 

Craig Ollenberger
Director, Grandview Woodland Area Council
cc Lon LaClaire Gil Kelley