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VuePoint: The irreplaceable Cloverdale Footbridge

// Meaghan Baxter
// Meaghan Baxter

“If you’ve gone part way down the incorrect path, that’s regrettable—but not as regrettable as going all the way down the incorrect path.”

So spoke Mayor Ivor Dent in April of 1972. City council had just voted to put the brakes on an invasive transportation plan which would’ve plowed a freeway through the MacKinnon Ravine, destroying an irreplaceable natural landscape in the Edmonton river valley. The project had been in the works for eight years, but a group of dedicated citizens fought against it every step of the way. Eventually the public outcry grew loud enough that council agreed to stop the project before any more damage could be done. Mayor Dent acknowledged that Edmonton’s transportation system needed work, but he also recognized that “roadways up and down parkways aren’t the solution.”

On July 11, the City of Edmonton is scheduled to start tearing down the Cloverdale Footbridge to make way for the Valley Line LRT, which will run through five city parks.

The Cloverdale Footbridge is a successful social space in a city that struggles to create successful social spaces. It isn’t just a transportation route across the river. It’s the heart of our city. It’s where we go to show off Edmonton’s river valley to visiting friends and family. It’s irreplaceable. And it’s not too late to save it.

If you believe that the footbridge is worth saving, please send an email to your city councillor asking for a pause and review of the Valley Line LRT. Please come to the Honour the River Valley ceremony on the footbridge at 3 pm on July 10, where Blackfoot elder Duane Good Striker and Cree elder Taz Bouchier will speak about the City’s failure to respect Treaty rights and consult with indigenous communities in its LRT planning. Please do not give up, and please do not allow our city to go all the way down the incorrect path. V

7 Comments

    • Sorry, but could you and Mr. Cinnamon stop pitting people with disabilities against other marginalized groups? NONE of you ever say anything about the ease with which disabled people will now be able to travel from the North of Edmonton to Millwoods Town Centre without having to use their gas guzzlers to do so. That ease with which people will be able to travel comes at a cost, yes, but if we ignore the demolition of the Cloverdale Footbridge, itself, all of the complaints you raise would apply to any other river crossing that the LRT could have potentially taken. And ignoring perspectives other than those of the able bodied, does a great disservice to your cause. It makes it seem like you want to make sure that the environment is protected only for select, able bodied groups. Please stop being ableist.

  • My message to my councillor:

    “I am writing to let you know that I do not support the closing of the Cloverdale Footbridge, nor the planned Valley Line LRT. I believe that this plan is being implemented hastily and against the public’s wishes. I realize that it is a very late stage in this process, but as many local activists have pointed out, it is never too late to do the right thing. We need to maintain and appreciate the well-utilized outdoor spaces that we have, such as the Cloverdale Footbridge, and I would like to call on you to take this up on behalf of your constituents. I am invested in having a more walkable and bikeable city – this is not the right time to reduce our options for these important modes of transportation. After reading a number of articles about public transportation options, I would like to see the Valley Line LRT project halted, and greater consideration given to Bus Rapid Transit as a less destructive and more efficient alternative.”

    Please feel free to edit and use freely.

    • Unfortunately, that is also an ableist, somewhat classist, position. Not everyone can walk or bike. And BRT comes at the cost of reducing service. So what are people who use wheelchairs or canes supposed to do? Or low income individuals? Dats is not a reasonable alternative, since it can often arrive late or take circuitous routes around a city before reaching your destination and you must schedule three days in advance. Taxis are cost prohibitive also. Buses are much harder on roads. And not every bus is an electric bus, or did you miss the current debate going on at city hall over which electric bus they wanted to choose to replace the ones that are currently in use? Thanks. I will take you, Eric and Bruce seriously once you leave your ableist mindsets behind.

  • The LRT tunnel has been dug and lined up with the foot bridge for over a year now. Yet, no one has informed all these people wasting their time and money on fighting this already lost battle.

    The real shame is all the trees and perennial beds at the Muttart that are being destroyed for the LRT line!

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