People Streets; Living Streets; Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market
What happens to downtown streets when the Farmers Market leaves its winter location at City Hall for fresh air?
What happens to intersections on Farmers Market Saturday?
A transition, from street traffic to sounds of people chatting, relaxing, and enjoying music floating through the air.
What happens to separated bike lanes when the Farmers Market comes to the streets?
What happens to the neighbouring businesses when the shoppers fill the streets?
During late spring to early fall, four blocks of two streets in the central downtown core are removed from the transportation grid on Saturdays and repurposed to people streets, living streets.
From the exit of the Edmonton underground LRT station on Jasper Avenue, the main east-west, downtown thoroughfare, the market starts. For two blocks, a street with classical red brick, four to five storeys high office buildings with retail at the street level, and Vancouver-style narrow high-rise residential buildings soaring above, hosts this market. Some of the low-rise buildings are historical, others are designed to blend in. The street has a traffic lane and a half –wide sidewalks with mature trees providing shade over the street furniture and outdoor patios.
On the two blocks of the cross-street, the separated two-way bike lanes are now serving as a patio, a place to sit and eat some of the market food. Also, it is a place for a mobile ATM truck to park and serve the customers of the market.
The market draws local and nearby market farmers and craft people offering their goods to the public. Okanagan fruit and vegetables farmers are drawn here and a stall can be found on each block.
On people streets, people become entrepreneurs.
These four blocks with the Saturday market provides a draw to visit Edmonton once a year, stay at a hotel a block away with separated bike lanes at its door and an inter-city bus terminal around the corner. Rent some bikes for a weekend and enjoy the city.
While in Vancouver, people flock to the numerous farmers markets that dot the city during the spring to fall period and the two outdoor winter markets, no matter if raining or snow on the roads. In contrast, these farmer markets are hidden on parking lots, some with grass adjacent to relax on and enjoy some of the food offered. One market sits on a plaza next to buildings. One market is located on a quiet residential street with single-family houses. Another market was located on a retail street surrounded by high-rise residential buildings. Businesses could not figure out how to take advantage of a farmers market day. Now, no longer a living street, people streets one day a week.
© TWCGI, 2017
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