This is a laneway from Montreal. Down the middle of it is a strip of permeable concrete lattices in which a cover crop has been planted. This installation has benefits like reducing runoff from rain (thereby decreasing the strain on our drainage system) and reducing the heat island effect in summer. Montreal has created a program to engage its citizens in what other ways they want to green their alleys (source). We could do the same in Edmonton, almost exclusively with money that’s already been allocated.
In May 2017, city council voted to begin funding a laneway renewal program that will begin rehabilitating alleys in 2019 (source). Furthermore, the city already has an established (and funded) tree-planting program that aims to plant 16,000 trees per year (source).
I believe in efficient leveraging of Edmonton’s investments. Once elected to council, I will ask administration to explore the potential for 1) installing permeable, green strips down the centre of laneways as we are renewing them and 2) creating an engagement program that asks residents of adjacent laneways if and where they would like trees planted beside the lanes. In some situations, there wouldn’t be room for trees, but in others there would be, and it would even be possible to install benches or parklets in some alleys that have extra space.
The laneways in Ward 8 are an under-developed asset that I would like to see improved beyond just repaving, and I think we should explore doing so, given that we’re making the investment anyway. Let’s get maximum value for our capital dollars and make Edmonton a greener, more pleasant place to live at the same time!