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A working winter wonderland: Canadian ‘Freezeway’ conjures active commuting solution

by Katie Buckley | 24 Feb 2015

Matt Gibbs, a landscape architecture student, has come up with a proposal for a frosty new transport network. An 11km (6.8m) long ‘Freezeway’ that will offer people a chance to ice skate to work.

Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, maintains an average sub-zero temperature throughout the winter. Instead of seeing these conditions as a challenge, Gibbs wants to harness this environment and create a dual function commuter network that acts as an ice-skating path in winter months, and a green cycle path in the summer.

Gibbs’ aim is to promote winter exercise in the city. Due to Edmonton being below freezing for usually five months of the year, active lifestyles are sometimes neglected. With the creation of the ‘Freezeway’, individuals would be offered a chance to get outside and active in the winter.

Sustainable transport is another key feature of Gibbs’ proposal, with the option of skating or cycling to destinations being made more accessible by the ‘Freezeway’.

Doubling as an attraction, the path would connect two existing greenways in the city. It would be split into nine districts, each with a different function, such as entertainment offerings or culture and hopefully become a hub of ‘social activity’.

Gibbs estimates that the artificial skating trail would be about a two-hour walk, a 45-minute bike ride, or an 90-minute skate.

Currently in its early stages, there are no specific figures for how much the project would cost. However, if the model is successful, it might offer an alternative winter transport solution that could be rolled out globally.

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Matt Gibbs, a landscape architecture student, has come up with a proposal for a frosty new transport network. An 11km (6.8m) long ‘Freezeway’ that will offer people a chance to ice skate to work. Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, maintains an average sub-zero temperature throughout the winter. Instead of seeing these conditions as a challenge, Gibbs wants to harness this environment and create a dual function commuter network that acts as
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An artist's rendering of how the Freezeway could look / The Edmonton Freezeway
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