Intersection in St. Albert, AB
Located northwest of Edmonton in Alberta’s Capital Region, the City of St. Albert is a community of almost 65,000 residents. The city projects significant population growth over the next 15-20 years, with the population expected to almost double in 30 years. To accommodate this future growth, the City found it necessary to update their Transportation Master Plan.
The City’s vision for the Transportation Master Plan was different than past Transportation Master Plans, as it is to be a holistic and sustainable master plan that considers environmental and urban values and multi-modal transportation options, as well as the roadway system. After a competitive selection process, the city selected Associated Engineering as prime consultant to lead development of the 2015 St. Albert Transportation Master Plan.
Project Manager, Kent Eklund, tells us, “The development of the Transportation Master Plan required comprehensive engineering. We coordinated a team of in-house specialists and subconsultants, addressed client interests, and managed stakeholder agendas, integration of ongoing parallel studies and, most importantly, the public interests.”
The planning process was divided into seven unique phases. This allowed for developing innovative ideas and providing continuous feedback to city administration, council and residents. Each issue presented an opportunity to further enhance and provide a more comprehensive study.
Planning is a multi-disciplinary practice that occurs across various departments in an organization or municipality. This can create a challenge, as studies that impact and/or build upon each other are occurring simultaneously and must integrate to achieve parallel goals. The challenge for developing the Transportation Master Plan was to integrate the additional studies, such as the city’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) Planning Study and the Safe Journeys to School Project.
As part of the Transportation Master Plan, the team identified the need to develop an intelligent transportation systems (ITS) policy and eventual ITS implementation as a key priority. Dean Schick, Transportation Manager for the City of St. Albert, says, “The update of the Transportation Master Plan consisted of a multi-phase process, inclusive of public/stakeholder consultation, an overall needs assessment and visioning process, data collection and analysis, the creation of network options which resulted in a recommended plan and final presentation to our City Council. Within the Transportation Master Plan, there were secondary projects, which included the creation of a conceptual vision for a realigned road network, as well as reports for future LRT within the City. The proposed realignment was both political and contentious; however Associated Engineering’s work genrated kudos from our City Council.”
The new Transportation Master Plan encourages a mode shift towards more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation by supporting LRT and identifying infrastructure needs such as transit stops, park and rides, trails and pathways. Kent says, “Our study found that 27% of all trips in the community are less than 5 minutes. If half of those trips were taken by foot or cycling, the resulting greenhouse gas reduction could achieve almost 30% of the city’s goal.”
St. Albert’s new Transportation Master Plan supports strategic, environmental, transit and land-use planning goals
The completed 2015 Transportation Master Plan provides the City of St. Albert with a living document that will transform the City’s transportation system into a sustainable transportation network that integrates with environmental, urban, and societal values.