Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting Around

Edmonton gives the impression of being a pretty car-friendly city. The street grid is pretty straightforward, and there's an ample supply of of major thoroughfares by which one might get from point A to point B. And gas is pretty cheap here, too. I just saw it being sold for $1.00 per litre. (I last purchased gas in Montreal for $1.27.)

But for all that it might seem like the car is king here, there's another dynamic at play: pedestrians rule!

Coming from a city where daily survival as a pedestrian is a major accomplishment, walking in Edmonton is a real treat! Not only do drivers stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, they even back up out of crosswalks to allow pedestrians through! I haven't quite got used to the idea that I don't need to hesitate before taking my life in my hands by stepping into an intersection. My Montreal self-preservation instincts are still too strong.

Navigation is just as easy as walking, too. In the downtown and older parts of the city most streets are numbered. Streets go north-south, with street numbers increasing from east to west. Avenues go east-west with avenue numbers increasing from south to north. So 103rd Avenue is one block north of 102nd and so on. Street (and Avenue) addresses relate to the cross-streets, counting up (theoretically) 100 numbers from cross street to cross street. So, my office is at 10035 103rd Street, which means it's between 100th Avenue and 101st Avenue. Actually, there is no 101st Avenue because it's named Jasper. But the principle is sound. (And if you're really good, you know that odd numbers are on the east side of streets.) 

All this makes it really easy to assess whether a given address is near or far, and to know exactly where to find it. We hardly need a map to find our way around, as long as we know the address where we are going.

I'm sure it's theoretically possible to get lost in Edmonton, but it looks like it would take some serious effort.

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