Imagine Idylwyld is a City of Saskatoon planning, transportation and design initiative for Idylwyld Drive. The purpose of Imagine Idylwyld is to develop a vision and conceptual plan to improve the function, safety, connectivity and quality of the roadway and public realm along Idylwyld Drive, between 20th Street and 25th Street East.
Idylwyld Drive is, and will continue to be, a major north-south arterial corridor in Saskatoon and a key gateway into the City Centre for motorized vehicles. However, its current configuration poses a challenging environment for pedestrians to navigate, and divides surrounding neighbourhoods and districts. Improvements to Idylwyld Drive will help link the neighbourhoods and the business districts, making it easier for people to get around the City Centre and help define the street as a gateway by cultivating a sense of arrival.
City Council approved the Terms of Reference for Imagine Idylwyld on May 24, 2016. A Request for Proposals for consultant services was subsequently issued on May 26, 2016. On August 18, 2016, City Council awarded the project to HOK Inc. from Toronto as the prime consultant for this project, working with Associated Engineering’s local office.
The project will examine existing and future transportation movement patterns, current and future zoning and land use, and existing and proposed built form to gain an understanding of Idylwyld Drive’s role as a major urban arterial roadway now and in the future. The project area extends along Idylwyld Drive from 20th to 25th Street East. The area represents a dynamic zone bordered by four neighbourhoods: Riversdale and Caswell Hill to the west, and Downtown and Central Industrial to the east, and the Riversdale and Downtown Saskatoon Business Improvement Districts.
Imagine Idylwyld launched in the fall of 2016 and the final plan will be delivered to City Council in early 2018.
Idylwyld Drive, classified as a major arterial roadway through the City Centre, serves as a key north-south travel corridor through Saskatoon. Further, it connects with 22nd Street and 25th Street East, both east-west major arterial roadways.
In the last four years, Idylwyld Drive was affected by two major infrastructure projects:
- the completion of Circle Drive South; and
- the extension of 25th Street East.
The opening of Circle Drive South significantly changed traffic volumes, composition, and patterns. Idylwyld Drive experienced decreased traffic volumes as drivers moved their trips from 22nd Street and Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge to Circle Drive South. Specifically, the intersection of 22nd Street and Idylwyld Drive underwent decreases in the proportion of northbound left turns and eastbound right turns. Moreover, the City removed Idylwyld Drive and 22nd Street from its Long-Haul Vehicle Routes, dramatically decreasing the number of heavy trucks with trailers using Idylwyld Drive. The extension of 25th Street East, between 1st Avenue and Idylwyld Drive, also contributed to traffic pattern changes. Previously, traffic to and from the University Bridge dispersed through the Downtown to connect with Idylwyld Drive. Now, that same east-west traffic is concentrated at the intersection of 25th Street East and Idylwyld Drive.
City Centre Plan Recommendation
Phase 3 of the City Centre Plan recognized the importance of Idylwyld Drive as a major urban thoroughfare. It recommended improved connections between areas in the City Centre and looked at the western area of Downtown (between Idylwyld Drive and 1st Avenue) as a significant growth area for mixed-use development. Feedback gathered through public engagement, Saskatoon Speaks, and through the development of the Culture Plan, determined that greater pedestrian connectivity and improved linkages in the City Centre was essential. The City Centre Plan proposes Idylwyld Drive be enhanced through the provision of high-quality pedestrian amenities, including improved sidewalks and crosswalks, to allow for better linkages between the Downtown, Riversdale, and River Landing, while still providing efficient vehicular service.
The Imagine Idylwyld initiative will take place in four phases:
Phase 1 (Fall 2016): Background Review, Analysis, and Preliminary Vision
Phase 2 (Winter 2017): Corridor Assessment
Phase 3 (Spring/Summer 2017): Development of Alternatives
Phase 4 (Fall 2017): Final Concept and Design
The final plan for Imagine Idylwyld is anticipated to be delivered to City Council in early 2018.
Project Updates - Phase 1 (Background Review, Analysis and Preliminary Vision)
October 2016: We Have Lift Off!
The first phase of Imagine Idylwyld is officially underway. HOK Inc., from Toronto and Associated Engineering of Edmonton and Saskatoon have been chosen as consultants for Imagine Idylwyld. The two consultant groups along with City Administration met at the end of September. The consultant has been conducting a detailed analysis of the site and reviewing background material to gain a better understanding of the study area.
Currently, we are working on a base plan for the area and conducting a 3D survey to inform the design of the corridor going forward. Our next step is to hear from the public and stakeholders. An interactive on-line survey providing an overview of the project goals and an opportunity for the public and stakeholders to identify the challenges and opportunities facing Idylwyld Drive will be posted on our website mid- to late-November. Be sure to check this webpage often for updates on the project or sign up for e-updates.
Project Updates - Phase 2 (Corridor Assessment)
November 2016: How Do You...Imagine Idylwyld?
Imagine Idylwyld is currently in its first phase of engagement. The project team along with the consultant have conducted a review of the project study area and background material. Now it is time to check in with stakeholders and the public to ask the question: "How Do You Imagine Idylwyld?"
A stakeholder workshop was held on November 15, 2016 where project information was presented to nearby land owners, businesses, agencies and key civic staff. Interactive stations were also set up to obtain stakeholder input on corridor challenges and opportunities.
An online survey is now available until December 8, 2016! Let us know what your priorities are for Idylwyld. Do you have ideas for land use, design or traffic improvements in the study area? We’d like to hear from your thoughts on challenges and opportunities facing Idylwyld Drive.
Your input and feedback from this phase of engagement will be used to prepare a vision for the corridor and inform the next stages of the project. Once stakeholder and public input has been collected, the consultant will combine that information with their analysis of the corridor. From there, the consultant will author a detailed report on the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed in the redesign of the corridor. That report, as well as a summary of the public and stakeholder input received in from this phase, will be posted on this website once it is available. Stay up to date on Imagine Idylwyld by signing up for e-updates.
December 2016: We asked...you answered!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the first round of engagement for Imagine Idylwyld! We heard from over 2,800 residents and stakeholders in the span of three weeks. Your input will be used to prepare the vision for the corridor and to help inform the findings of the technical analysis.
At this time, the consultant is compiling and analyzing the public input received. They will then combine the engagement results with their technical analysis of the corridor to produce a detailed assessment of the opportunities and challenges facing the study area. Reports summarizing their assessment and the engagement results will be posted on our website early in the new year. Be sure to subscribe to our e-updates to be notified when these reports are available.
In early 2017, we will be checking back in with stakeholders to present key findings and to begin identifying preliminary directions for the new design of the corridor. Additional broad public engagement on the corridor alternatives will also take place in the first quarter of 2017.
Project Updates - Phase 3 (Development of Alternatives)
May 2017: Development of Corridor Alternatives
Imagine Idylwyld is moving on to its third phase: Development of Alternatives. In Phase 2, a detailed assessment of the corridor was conducted and the results have been consolidated into an Issues + Opportunities Report (Report). The Report identifies key issues and opportunities observed through technical analysis and community input and is the foundation for the design of the corridor moving forward. The Report has been broken into eight chapters:
- Chapter 1: Executive Summary
- Chapter 2: Introduction
- Chapter 3: Engagement and Corridor Vision
- Chapter 4: Transportation and Connectivity
- Chapter 5a: Land Use and Built Form
- Chapter 5b: Block by Block Analysis
- Chapter 6: Public Realm and Urban Design
- Chapter 7: Case Studies
- Chapter 8: Next Steps
The Report also includes a summary of the community engagement events that took place in Phase 2. Below are a few of the highlights from the engagement.
Initial Engagement Highlights
Phase 2 engagement consisted of two types of engagement methods: a stakeholder workshop and a public online survey. The engagement focused on identifying the priorities for the corridor, the desired character of the street, and identifying the issues and opportunities of Idylwyld Drive. The results of the engagement process are summarized below.
Corridor Priorities will guide the design and decision-making for investments to Idylwyld Drive.
Public input was used to refine the original 7 priorities (refer to page 47 in Chapter 3 for the original priorities) to a total of 5 Corridor Priorities that will guide the corridor design:
Efficient + Predictable
Idylwyld Drive should be a street that provides the most efficient and predictable means of travel for all users.
Safe + Accessible
Idylwyld Drive should be a street that is safe and comfortable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for users of all abilities.
Walkable + Human Scale
Idylwyld Drive will be a street that is comfortable to walk along and across in an interesting and engaging urban environment.
Connected + Cultural
Idylwyld Drive will be a street that not only connects people with their destinations but with our cultural, built and natural heritage.
Livable + Sustainable
Idylwyld Drive will be a street that enhances daily life by balancing environmental, social, cultural, and economic considerations.
Idylwyld Drive is the front door to Saskatoon's City Centre, so its redesign should leave a positive impression that lasts. The survey asked respondents to indicate what street character makes sense for Idylwyld Drive. Of those who responded, 80% wished to see a Grand Avenue or Main Street with wide, spacious sidewalks. Additionally, 75% of respondents indicated their desire for a modern streetscape design. Of that 75%, 64% wanted a naturalized modern character with dense tree plantings and vegetation and 36% envisioned a modern urban street.
Issues + Opportunities Mapping
Using the online survey tool, respondents were asked to identify challenges and opportunities for Idylwyld Drive on an interactive map using pins. On this question alone, more than 5,800 pins were placed and over 3,200 comments were provided! These comments have been summarized into a series of potential opportunities intended to address a wide range of issues.
The issues and opportunities identified through technical analysis and public input have been categorized into the following topic areas: Transportation + Connectivity, Land Use + Built Form, and Urban Design + Public Realm. Detailed descriptions can be found in the Report.
Project Updates - Phase 4 (Preferred Alternative) CURRENT PHASE
Over the past 12 months, the City of Saskatoon has been working toward creating a plan for Idylwyld Drive between 20th and 25th Street East that will help link the neighbourhoods and the business districts, making it easier for people to get around in the City Centre and help define the street as a gateway by cultivating a sense of arrival.
After two rounds of public and stakeholder consultation and several months of technical analysis, the City of Saskatoon is putting the final touches on the preliminary design for Idylwyld Drive. The proposed design combines elements of the options presented in June 2017 and seeks to balance the needs of all users of the corridor, as well as set the stage for Idylwyld Drive to become a key gateway into our City Centre.
Early in 2018, we will be sharing the proposed design with stakeholders and the public through a third stakeholder meeting and second public engagement event.
Stay tuned for more details!
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