The North Saskatchewan River Valley is the largest urban parkland in North America. The top of the river bank, home to Edmonton’s downtown, is cut off from the river valley and trail system below by a network of roadways and a steep riverbank slope with an elevation change of 50 m. The City of Edmonton engaged DIALOG to make the downtown and river valley more accessible to each other. The project is within an environmentally sensitive area and slopes could not be significantly loaded for geotechnical reasons. DIALOG explored dozens of orientations and strategies that allowed the project to integrate with the surroundings while respecting the river valley setting. The Mechanized River Valley Access project includes a funicular, stairs, promenade, park, pedestrian bridge, cantilever lookout, and glass elevator. More than an infrastructure and accessibility project, it is defined by its emphasis on placemaking and improvement of the public realm, allowing Edmontonians of all abilities to experience the river valley in new ways. How the project successfully links the urban downtown core to the valley below and give residents with all types of mobility levels the means to enjoy one of the most natural areas of the city made this a standout project for the jury.
Canadian Consulting Engineer article