Edmontonians rejoice new barrier-free access to the River Valley.

The governments of Canada and Alberta have worked with the City of Edmonton to recognize the importance of investing in infrastructure that encourages active lifestyles, promotes inclusivity and improves community connections.

Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, was joined by David Shepherd, MLA for Edmonton-Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Shannon Phillips, Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks, His Worship Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, and Larry Wall, Executive Director of the River Valley Alliance, to attend the grand opening of the Mechanized River Valley Access.

Mayor Don Iveson at the event said,  “On behalf of Edmonton’s City Council and the residents of Edmonton, we thank our funding partners for this investment in our city. The Mechanized River Valley Access creates a unique space from which to experience our beautiful River Valley and an opportunity for those of all abilities to access and enjoy our city’s greatest asset.We celebrate the opening by officially naming the facility the 100 Street Funicular. The bridge lookout will hereby be known as the Frederick G. Todd Lookout, named after the 20th Century landscape architect who envisioned Edmonton’s River Valley parks system.”

Minister Amarjeet Sohi said, “Investing in public infrastructure is critical to developing inclusive and vibrant communities and paving the way for economic growth and middle-class job creation. It is my pleasure to mark the completion of the Mechanized River Valley Access, another exciting milestone in the River Valley Alliance Capital Program.By allowing more people to enjoy the River Valley trails, this initiative will contribute to healthier lifestyles and a better quality of life for Edmontonians.”

This project has created an accessible connection from Edmonton’s downtown to the scenic River Valley trail network. Work involved building a staircase from 100 Street by the Hotel Macdonald to the Low Level Bridge area of the trail below. An adjacent funicular accommodates bikes, trailers, strollers and specialized equipment like wheelchairs and mobility scooters. There is a promenade halfway down and a grassy rest area featuring functional art. There is also a new pedestrian bridge with a lookout over the North Saskatchewan River offering unparalleled views of the City’s signature River Valley.

Edmontonians can now enjoy direct access to the trail using bikes, trailers, strollers and specialized equipment like wheelchairs and mobility scooters. This is an important project for our city and my department was proud to join with the city and province to contribute $8 million.