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Proposed bus exchange still grapples with parking problem

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
November 3rd, 2021

Parking and the loss thereof continues to be a hot button topic for the re-location of the proposed downtown bus exchange.

Although the business case for the 300 block of Victoria Street as the new location for the exchange is beginning to materialize — with the site location solidified — the details and design of the plan are not.

In several stakeholder workshops in the last few weeks — conducted by Watt Consulting Group at the behest of the city and BC Transit — several key themes for the location have emerged, with the loss of parking to create the bus stops at the top of the list.

Despite some work on reconfiguring parking prior to the workshops, business owners on the street and in adjacent areas still had reservations in losing parking to make way for spaces to park transit buses.

“There’s still some concern over parking in terms of parking impacts, and the exchange, and what those changes would mean to their business,” Tania Wegwitz of Watt Consulting told city council during the last committee-of-the-whole meeting.

There was appreciation that some changes had been made to address that loss of parking from the initial plan presentation, she added.

Work had been done to explore different options in terms of what parking could be located on the 200 block of Victoria through reconfiguration, as well as other streets such as Kootenay, and try to maximize options there, Wegwitz said.

In the revised plan all parking on the southeast corner of Kootenay Street at Victoria Street was restored and made standard size.

Multiple different options for parking reconfiguration were explored on other parts of Kootenay as well, with a proposed option adding five spaces over previous plans.

The public washroom for the exchange was moved to the other end of the block — on corner of Stanley at Victoria by library and police station — after much concern was expressed regarding the first washroom location.

Overall, the feeling toward the bus exchange for Victoria Street was positive, said Wegwitz.

“There was a real common desire to make sure the space is safe, that it is vibrant, that it is diverse, that it continues to have the same sort of positive culture that the participants feel is there right now,” she said.

Further exploration in detailed design

Several items were pulled out of the workshops for development in greater detail:

• detailed safety assessment of crosswalk placement options and trade offs;

• opportunity for alternate approach to placement of crosswalk, curbing to retain loading zone closer to existing location and parking trade offs;

• type of shelters to be used and detailed assessment of their placement;

• implementation and enforcement of parking, loading zone; and

• ongoing monitoring of how overall area is working.

Source: City of Nelson

A look ahead

The progression of the business case is expected to continue to move forward and eventually it will be submitted for an infrastructure grant funding application later this year.

If successful, the business case will come back to city council for final approval — prior to signing an agreement with BC Transit — with a detailed design moving forward in late spring of 2022.

Virtual workshop

City staff and BC Transit had engaged the Watt Consulting group to look into the following stakeholder concerns, including:
• parking loss;
• location of the public washroom;

• Victoria/Kootenay intersection improvements; and

• loss of the loading zone.

Stakeholders were contacted and invited to attend one of two zoom meetings to review the results of the work completed by the Watt Consulting Group.

Source: City of Nelson

Categories: General

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