Conceptual designs of a bikeway along Front Street in downtown Nanaimo. (CITY OF NANAIMO image)

Nanaimo council won’t OK Front Street bike lanes right now

Public consultation will take place before council considers approving $400,000 project

A bikeway project that would trim Front Street to two lanes is still on the table, but council will delay a final decision.

Nanaimo city councillors debated the $400,000 project Monday at a special finance and audit committee meeting. The work is already budgeted in the financial plan as part of a larger downtown cycling loop project, but staff requested that the Front Street portion, originally planned for 2021, be moved up to 2020 instead.

The project would see Front Street reduced to one car lane in either direction, with a two-direction cycle track built on one side of the street and on-street parking added on the other side.

Jamie Rose, the city’s transportation manager, said the work would not only add a cycle track, but result in shorter crosswalks for pedestrians and a net gain in parking.

“I can see somebody getting off the floatplane and walking into our downtown and immediately this looks like a modern city where there’s cyclists, there’s pedestrians, there’s vehicles, it’s easy to connect and I really appreciate the vision,” said Coun. Ben Geselbracht.

Councillors indicated they had already heard concerns about the project, including from residents of the Pacifica highrise. Coun. Sheryl Armstrong wanted to ensure government buildings remained accessible and that emergency services had also been consulted.

“That is a main road utilized quite a bit and just going back to my days [as an RCMP member] I found that a very busy road and would like to see it actually be four lanes all the way through,” she said.

Coun. Ian Thorpe wanted assurances that traffic would keep moving along Front Street.

“I know we want to get more people involved in active transportation, but I also know that we don’t want to slow down the flow of vehicular traffic through our city,” he said.

Coun. Don Bonner contradicted him, saying, “this may be a philosophical thing [but] we actually do want to slow down the traffic in our downtown core … We don’t want cars to be gridlocked, but we don’t want them going fast, either.”

Rose said two car lanes will be adequate for traffic on Front Street.

RELATED: City of Nanaimo looking at closing two lanes of Front Street, adding bike lanes

Coun. Jim Turley wondered about deliveries to the Pacifica building and Bill Sims, general manager of engineering and public works, said staff had considered that issue, but also looked at what is the best use of a public roadway.

“We’re early days on this and we want to consider everybody’s needs, concerns and try to accommodate as best we can without going down the road of tying ourselves in knots and not doing anything because we can’t get it perfect,” Sims said.

Geselbracht said as the city installs more bike lanes, design issues around impacts on adjacent buildings are bound to come up.

“We’re going to become Jedi knights at being able to solve them,” he said. “It’s just a matter of going through it and getting people used to it.”

Mayor Leonard Krog said that the Front Street bike lane project should be seen to be a council decision, not a staff decision. Council voted unanimously to advance the project to the council table, with the understanding that there will be public consultation before any decision is made.

RELATED: Active transportation plan coming, but it’s already a city priority



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

City of Nanaimo asking for opinions about planned downtown mobility hub

Short-term improvements include Front Street bikeway, intersection upgrades and more

Woman airlifted with serious injuries after being struck by car in Nanaimo

Woman, hit in crosswalk, suffers life-threatening injuries; driver co-operating with police

Workshop in Nanaimo advises parents about talking to their kids about pornography

Seeing ‘unrealistic sex’ is causing problems, says sexual health educator

OPINION: Youth advisory council has proven its worth to city

Youth council creates a collective voice, say guest columnists

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

On Remembrance Day, community pledges never to forget

Images from Remembrance Day ceremonies in Lantzville on Monday, Nov. 11

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

One dead after fiery crash in Duncan

A man has died after a fiery motor vehicle collision Monday night,… Continue reading

Vancouver Island substitute teacher said he wanted a student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Nanaimo’s Sikh community celebrates 550th birthday of religion’s first Guru

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab among the most sacred of Sikh religious festivals

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Most Read