While the funicular may be the most attention grabbing and unique part of the Mechanized River Valley Access, the project is about so much more! Mechanized Access will create a new destination in our city — one that will allow people of all ages and abilities to access one of Edmonton’s most prized assets. This innovative, barrier-free system will allow people to enjoy both our vibrant Downtown and our amazing river valley within minutes. And while connectivity to nature is a key element, the project has also been designed to include programmable spaces, and places for active play, social engagement and relaxation.
This new city-building project has seven key elements:
The Promontory (top platform)
A promontory has been designed to take advantage of the amazing views from the top of the bank near the Hotel Macdonald. Stop under the sheltered canopy as you load onto the funicular, take a moment to relax at one of the seating areas, or spend a few moments at the top of the urban staircase taking in the sights.
Designed for more than getting from point A to point B, these are not your typical river valley stairs. Wide and welcoming, the stairs are a place to linger, to stop and sit, or to get in your daily workout. For those cyclists not wanting to take the funicular, a bike rail runs the length of the stairs.
With plenty of space for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and bikes, the glass enclosed funicular will descend from the top of the bank to a promenade above the valley floor. The funicular will fit up to 20 people and can accommodate different configurations of bikes, trailers, strollers, and specialized equipment like wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
The steps and the funicular will land on a promenade, which includes a grassy seating area with benches for people to stop and enjoy the views. The promenade is designed to accommodate both through-traffic and citizens wanting to eat lunch, watch the sunset, or perhaps take in the Canada Day fireworks!
Connecting the promenade to the lookout, the bridge will provide a safe passage for pedestrians across Grierson Hill Road.
The bridge gently slopes down to overlook the edge of the river. A glass railing and built-in seating will allow a seamless, breathtaking experience. Take in the flow of the river and the downtown skyline!
The elevator is an essential part of creating accessible, barrier-free access to the river valley. From the bridge, an elevator and a staircase will connect the Mechanized River Valley Access to the existing trail system and Louise McKinney Park, the Low Level Bridge and the Rossdale/River Crossing area.
The Mechanized River Valley Access project will be a new entranceway into Downtown and a new focal point in the river valley. This exciting new addition to the Downtown is made possible by funding from the River Valley Alliance, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta. In 2013, the City of Edmonton received $72.9 million in funding from the River Valley Alliance, and the provincial and federal governments for initiatives to increase access and connectivity within the river valley. Of this $72.9 million, the City of Edmonton contributed $1.7 million. The budget for the Mechanized River Valley Access project is $24 million.
More information on all the River Valley Alliance projects can be found at Edmonton.ca/rivervalleyprojects.