Work on Nanaimo’s Bowen Road aims to boost safety

NANAIMO – The city will start an improvement project in October that includes bike lanes and safety upgrades.

One of Nanaimo’s busiest roads will see more than $500,000 in upgrades this fall as the city looks to boost safety and alternative travel.

The City of Nanaimo is gearing up for a construction project along Bowen Road this October, which will see a range of changes from new designated bike lanes, to intersection upgrades and flashing pedestrian lights.

The city will also test a new fluorescent green ‘conflict’ paint on one of its bike lanes for the first time, to mark where cyclists and drivers have the potential to collide.

According to Gordon Foy, the city’s transportation planning engineer the work will make Bowen, a road travelled by 15,000 vehicles daily, better for all users.

The project will create a complete street, a goal of the new Transportation Master Plan which looks to see reduced collision rates and sustainable travel by balancing the needs of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. It will also link in with similar work next year along Boundary Avenue from Bowen to Northfield Road.

“This project is actually sort of this assembly of pieces that together end up improving the street in a bunch of different ways,” Foy said.

Bowen Road improvements will see a missing section of sidewalk filled in, and new green paint at a Bowen intersection where half of the eastbound traffic crosses a bike lane to get onto Wakesiah. The paint is used in communities like Vancouver and Victoria to identify conflict areas, notifying cyclists and drivers of the shared space and the need to pay more attention, Foy said.

Sidewalks will also be widened at bus stops to accommodate people in wheelchairs and scooters and new flashing lights installed at the crosswalk along Bowen at Howard Avenue.

The work is expected to take about 10 weeks.