Hall Street 'Stores to Shores' project sees some last minute changes before getting the go-ahead
Nelson city council made an historic decision on Monday night to approve the Stores to Shores Revitalization Project, but in slightly a different form that saw some last-minute revisions added to the plan for the first phase.
Changes to the project, which will transform the face of Hall Street from Lake Street to IODE Park, include:
- Removing a proposal to move both lanes of traffic south of the median on Vernon Street, and instead re-routing traffic back to its normal pattern on either side of the proposed bulb-outs at the intersection of Vernon and Hall Street
- Removing a proposal to turn the intersection into a four-way stop, and instead keeping it in its current configuration with stop signs only on Vernon Street
- Removing proposed traffic flow changes to Cedar, High, Park and Baker Streets
- The proposed new parking zone at the west end of Baker Street and on three blocks of Victoria Street is still under consideration, and will require consultation with affected parties before it can go ahead.
- Reductions in parking on the 400 block of Hall Street were mitigated by adding back six parking stalls via removal of a planter bed and narrowing a driveway let down next to The Adventure Hotel.
According to Mayor Deb Kozak, the incorporated changes are the result of feedback from last month’s Stores to Shores Update Session that saw about 100 people come out and share their thoughts.
“This is a flexible project,” Kozak says, “particularly the traffic reconfigurations we’ve considered.”
A big undertaking for Nelson’s downtown area
Kozak says the project is the most comprehensive revitalization effort the City of Nelson has ever undertaken since Baker Street was revitalized almost 35 years ago.
“The project presents an opportunity to piggy back on much-needed infrastructure renewal along Hall Street,” she says, noting that the project goes beyond beautifying the street to replace aging infrastructure in that part of the city, including the road, sidewalk, sewer, electrical and more.
“More than two thirds of the Stores to Shores budget will go towards replacing that infrastructure,” she notes, “with the balance going towards the beautification and improved safety of one of Nelson’s most important roadways – Hall Street.
“And if we don’t make the safety and revitalization improvements that Hall Street needs now, it will be literally decades before we get another chance.”
The multi-phased project, with its approved $4.024 million budget, is set to go to tender within the next two weeks and tenders are expected to be finalized by the end of March.
Construction is set to begin in April, with completion scheduled by winter of this year.
Not without its detractors
While council passed motion to approve the first phase of the Stores to Shores project last Monday night, at least two councilors remained opposed to the project.
Both Councilors Robin Cherbo and Janice Morrison voted against the motion for various reasons, mainly around the potential for changes to the intersection of Hall and Vernon Streets to affect traffic flow in the area.
They said the planned bulb-outs, which will reduce the length of crosswalk pedestrians need to cross on Vernon Street, will increase idling, make it difficult for semi trucks to make right-hand turns, and also potentially keep people from driving through the area by restricting traffic – ultimately having an economic impact on businesses in the area.
Councilors Purcell, Dailly and Warmington were in favour of the bulb-outs, stating they would make the area more pedestrian-friendly and ultimately create a new paradigm for that area of the city.