Getting Around Edmonton

Getting Around Edmonton

The City of Edmonton has a population of just over 932,000 (2016) with a foot print area of 685.25 km2 which is about the same area as Athens, Greece and San Jose, USA. With an area of this size it can present several transportation challenges. City council and its planners are constantly working on ways of addressing, fixing and improving transportation issues within the city. Edmonton’s public transportation comes in the form of city buses and Light Rail Transit (LRT), it’s not like the large networks of other major Canadian cities or other cities in the USA or Europe. The majority of Edmontonians still prefer to get around by vehicle, so there are a number of major roadways that accommodate Edmonton commuters.

Edmonton’s advantage comes from having much less traffic in comparison to other major cities in Canada. In fact, drivers in Edmonton enjoy the shortest average commute times within Canadian cities with average times running around 25 minutes.

Also, I always recommend that a buyer look for homes that are on the same side of the river as their work. This way you avoid the bridges during peak rush hours as they tend to become points of traffic congestion.

Driving in Edmonton

Edmonton is divided in 6 quadrants (Northeast, Northwest, Central, West, Southeast and Southwest). The city uses a grid system that helps commuters navigate the city streets. Numbered Streets (i.e. 97th Street) run east and west with numbers increasing the further west you travel, while numbered avenues (i.e. 23rd Avenue) run north and south with numbers increasing the further north you travel. Some of the newer neighbourhoods in the Southeast and Southwest sections can also be named by boulevard, crescent, circle, close, road or trail to name a few.

Whitemud Drive is Edmonton’s largest and one of the busiest main arterial roads running east and west through the city. Yellowhead Trail is currently undergoing a 10-year conversion to become a freeway and will help to move goods and services more efficiently through the north end of the City. Anthony Henday is a ring road that circles the city and provides commuters an efficient way to travel around the city while avoiding traffic volumes within the city.

So, for the first few months, having a good sense of direction and using your GPS will make your commute a lot easy and less stressful.

Driving Tips

  • Driving in rush hour in Edmonton (from about 7:00 am – 9:00 am and from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm) can be bit challenging as everyone tries to get to and from work as quickly as possible.
  • Be cautious as many people can have other things on their mind and not completely paying attention to the road.
  • Parking in downtown Edmonton is a little pricey and always monitored by By-Law officers.
  • During the winter months there can be parking bans through the city after a big snow storm as crews work to clear the roads for commuters.
  • On some major arterial roads, some lanes switch direction to allow for getter flow of traffic. Usually towards downtown in the mornings, and out of downtown in the evenings.
  • Avoid being in bus lanes during peak hours, unless you are turning to the right.

Public Transportation

Edmonton transit centers and LRT stations are designed to function as hubs for commuters, allowing people to transfer between routes, or serving as starting and final destination points. May of the LRT stations also have bus terminals attached to them allowing passengers to transfer from a bus onto the LRT and vice versa. Most of the larger bus terminals have additional facilities such as washrooms, TTY telephones (a special device that lets people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired use the telephone to communicate, by allowing them to type messages back and forth to one another instead of talking and listening.)

If you are not using a bus pass, make sure you have the correct amount of fair money (in coins) because bus drivers do not carry change with them. You can purchase monthly bus passes or books of transfer tickets in advance.

For more information about transit apps, routes, maps, travel times and fares please contact the Edmonton Transit Service.

Walking in Edmonton

The City of Edmonton has created a program of neighbourhood-based walking maps. The reason behind this program is to bring neighbours together and create more walkable communities while supporting a more active life style.

These walkability initiatives add strength and enjoyment to the very fabric of our communities. The goal being that while you’re out walking you meet your neighbours, visit local shops, enjoy public spaces all while getting in some great exercise. It also helps neighbours become the “eyes on the street” further enhancing community safety and helping reduce crime.

Biking in Edmonton

Edmonton has created a Bike Network offering more than 16.4 kms of protected bike lanes, shared roadways, and paths to help and inspire Edmontonians of all ages to try new ways travelling to get around Downtown, Southside and the Westend. 

Find Out More

Links to Help You Get Around