Skate to work: Architect proposes ‘freezeway’ trail for Edmonton

Edmonton freezeway design: An artist’s rendering of Matt Gibbs’ proposed Edmonton ‘freezeway’ design. Staff 
February 24, 2015, CTV News

A UBC graduate who grew up in Edmonton has come up with Canadian climate-inspired way to solve his hometown’s wintry commuter woes.

Matt Gibbs, a landscape architect, has designed a “freezeway,” an artificial ice thoroughfare, that he said would let Edmontonians leave their cars at home and skate their way to work.

Gibbs’ proposal involves converting a former railway right-of-way that stretches into Edmonton’s downtown corridor from two sides. The 11-kilometre route, he said, would allow people to skate — or winter-cycle — to work, school, even an Oilers game.

Speaking on CTV’s News Channel on Tuesday, Gibbs pointed out that the City of Edmonton prepared a winter strategy looking at how its residents can better embrace winter. After all, Edmonton’s climate is such that its population resides in below freezing temperatures for five months of the year.

“Does being Canadian mean we fly to Mexico every winter?” said Gibb, a landscape architect. “I think we can create better ways to enhance the livability and create more physically and socially active communities by creating more climate adaptive solutions in our cities.”

Not only would it create a commuter corridor, but the freezeway would be a “one-of-kind experience” that could potentially attract out-of-town visitors, similar to Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, Gibbs said. Read more…

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