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Workshops planned for safer streets project in Powell River

Public engagement to inform street design 
City of Powell River planning services manager Daniella Fergusson.

City of Powell River has received grant funding from the BC Government to build traffic calming measures on Maple Avenue and Sycamore Street in Townsite. The project aims to reduce traffic speeds, expand the city’s bicycle network and create a safer route for children to get to school.

Three public engagement events will highlight the Safer Streets project and help fine-tune the plan. The project will result in a 30 km/h zone on Sycamore and Maple from Arbutus Street to Brooks Secondary School, with physical infrastructure such as speed cushions and curb extensions being installed. The project is part of a larger goal of connecting people who walk, cycle and roll between Townsite and Westview.

Planning services manager Daniella Fergusson says the city is trying to build a transportation network for all ages and abilities.

“What that means is having different kinds of streets and pathways organized in a network to get people to important community destinations, like shopping and the rec complex, library, schools and places like that,” explains Fergusson.

The project was chosen following years of community engagement and planning, including development and adoption of a parks and trails master plan in 2019 and 2020, as well as a bicycle network strategy in 2021.

One recommendation was the creation of a neighbourhood bikeway on Maple and Sycamore. City staff worked with ISL Engineering to prepare a preliminary design, and city council supported a funding application in October 2022.

“A neighbourhood bikeway is a regular street, except speeds are reduced to 30-kilometres per hour instead of 50,” says Fergusson. “It's not enough just to put a sign up that says 30. We have to do some extra things like make the road narrower in strategic places or put in a few speed bumps so it does slow the traffic down.”

The project is expected to provide better connections between Wildwood, Townsite and Westview.

“Maple and Sycamore safe streets is one part of a network that gets people using bikes or walkers or wheelchairs or skateboards, or whatever, where they need to go in a way that they don’t feel unsafe from vehicle traffic,” adds Fergusson.

The city received notification in February 2023 that it had been granted $357,000 from BC’s Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program, which covers 70 per cent of the project cost. The remaining $153,000 is being funded by Powell River Community Forest.

The project should not affect access to properties via driveways off Maple or Sycamore, and curb extensions were located specifically to avoid interfering with driveway access.

To prevent people from shortcutting down Maple Lane, a continuous sidewalk is proposed for the Hemlock Street access to the laneway between Maple and Marine avenues.

A timeline for construction is not yet determined. The project team first needs to develop a design and procure construction tenders and management support. As more information becomes available, the city will provide updates.

Three neighbourhood workshops will be held at Dwight Hall. Each session will focus on a different segment along the Maple/Sycamore corridor.

On April 11, from 2 to 4 pm, the focus will be on Sycamore between Arbutus to Aspen, then from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, the Aspen to Elm segment on Maple will be discussed. The Elm to Hemlock segment on Maple will be covered at a workshop on April 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

“We want to hear from people about what they like and what they don’t like about the proposed plan,” says Fergusson. “Our consulting engineer will be there to hear directly from people so we can move the concept plan we currently have into a detailed plan ready for construction.”

Read more about the project on the city’s public engagement website, Particpate Powell River, where answers to frequently asked questions can be found.