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Bikeway concept work might not finish until 2021: city report

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
November 24th, 2020

The city won’t be shifting out of first gear on its Neighbourhood Bikeway concept as the black tarmac of the chosen route threatens to turn winter white.

Some of the work on the plan — approved by city council in June — has been completed but the entire project might not be completed this year, council learned recently.

Coun. Brittny Anderson quizzed city staff on the reasons for the delay, noting the project had been on the books for this year.

“I know some of the work has been done, but … it might not be complete until spring of 2021?” she asked in council.

City chief financial officer Colin McClure confirmed part of the work was done — like the completion of the Third Street section. But the bump outs, paving and the concrete work depends on what happens with the weather, he added.

“The goal is to be able to get it done and the hope is … to get prepared that they may get to a place of where we are going to do it in the spring,” McClure said.

“I think, like in most cases, the plan is to have it all done this year.”

City manager Kevin Cormack said the understanding was that Third Street would be completed this year.

“They will likely be pouring concrete throughout the winter,” he said. “But the High Street traffic calming won’t start until this spring.”

By the time the contract for the work was awarded, he explained, scheduling did not allow the contractor to do both of the streets.

The High Street corridor is expected to include two-way motor vehicle travel with traffic calming and shared use lanes, while Third Street will include curb extensions. Nelson Avenue and Anderson Street intersection will employ the full access restriction.

The Province of BC sign shows the cost of Phase One of the Primary Bike Route connecting downtown with Fairview. — The Nelson Daily

Staying active with the plan

The Primary Bike Route concept was brought forward in the updated Active Transportation Implementation Plan — adopted by council in 2019 — to provide a “safe, comfortable and connected bike route that would link all the neighbourhoods together, provide access to key amenities and converge in the downtown.”

As a result, High Street corridor and Third Street were identified as the first phase of this project, noted city senior planner Sebastien Arcand in his report to council in May.

A consultant’s report recommended that, if High Street corridor remained a two-way street, it was important that the Anderson Street and Nelson Avenue intersection be modified to reduce traffic volume.

The cost of the circuit

In total, establishing the first segment of the city’s bike route network would be in the range of $500,000 to $600,000.

That money would provide a two-kilometre bike route connecting downtown with Fairview, and offer connection options to the bridge and Lakeside Park, as well as provide pedestrian improvements along Third Street.

If the project grant is approved, the city could receive funding of up to $420,000, with the city’s contribution in the range of $180,000.

Currently, the city has $28,000 in the active transportation reserve that will contribute to the project, and budget dollars earmarked for curb-letdowns throughout the city ($140,000) that could be used for the project.

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