A bad mixture to begin with

Walk down Whyte Avenue in the Old Strathcona on a pleasant spring day and you can see why automobiles and pedestrians don’t mix. It was a bad idea to begin with. At the best of times it is just dangerous, noisy, smelly and annoying. All efforts to create a nice ambience for shoppers and gawkers and walkers of any type that fill the sidewalks are more or less ruined by the roar and stink of vehicles. And sooner or later, one of them is going to jump the sidewalk and mow some people down. Intentionally or not. Just like what happened in Toronto last week.
In fact, it could happen on any street, in any town or city, at any time.
What’s needed are more spaces without cars. At some point the Edmonton city planners are going to have to get serious about it. Anybody who has ever visited the great car-free shopping zones of old Europe knows what is possible. With cars zooming through the middle of everything, ‘street culture’ is all but impossible. Slave Lake’s Riverboat Daze Block Party is one small example of this. Nobody saw this coming, but reliance on automobiles has made us lazy, isolated and in extreme cases, dead.

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