Edmonton has added a new addition to its skyline. The funicular opened on December 9, 2017 and is a new urban landmark linking downtown to over 150 kilometers of river valley trails. The project connects 100 Street near the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald to the river valley trail system near the Low Level Bridge. The cable-propelled funicular is glass enclosed and moves at an angle instead of vertically. Able to carry up to 20 people at one time, it provides access into the river valley from the edge of downtown. But the project is more than the funicular.
Running alongside the funicular is an urban staircase. Between 4.5 m and 7.5 m wide, the urban staircase will accommodate a variety of users, from those running the stairs to those who want to sit and enjoy the view. It also includes a bike rail along its length.
The steps and funicular will land on a promenade designed to accommodate both through-traffic and those who want to sit and take in the views of the expansive river valley. The promenade includes a grassy seating area with benches, which will form an integrated public art piece called Turbulent. The art piece is inspired by the unique water patterns of the North Saskatchewan River and will offer visitors a quiet place to sit, read, lounge or converse while taking in the views.
From the promenade, you can cross Grierson Hill Road via the pedestrian bride six meters above the roadway. Take the elevator or staircase down to the lookout where built-in seating and a glass railing offer seamless views of the river to the south and the downtown skyline to the north.
It’s an eight-minute journey from the top of the bank at 100 Street to the lookout point. The funicular is expected to open on December 9, and will operate daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Edmonton’s river valley runs through the city and is 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park.