West Kelowna Council heard an update on the city’s 2040 Transportation Master Plan at this week’s regular meeting (April 5).
The first phase of consultation was carried out by HTR Corporation and James Laurence Group. The consultation took place in February and March of this year with partners, stakeholders and the public.
“This phase was focused on understanding current transportation challenges and identifying opportunities,” said Debbie Cox, President and Senior Partner, James Laurence Group. “Later, a consultation will take place around a future recommended transport network. This will take place later this year. It was just about getting people’s ideas on what works and what doesn’t.
The consultation process involved online and in-person events that included community pop-up displays and an open house. Cox told council he’s heard of a need for safe bike lanes, more sidewalks, improved public transit, connected community roads that work for all users, roadway improvements. emergency and evacuation and equitable access for all.
“We did everything we could to make sure we heard from young people, old people and people of varying abilities,” she said. “We’ve heard that residents want safe bike paths for everyone aged eight to 80. “We also heard ‘more public transit, more often to more areas, including low-income areas of the city.’ Additionally, residents want connected sidewalks, pathways, streets and transit.
Mayor Gord Milsom was impressed with the public comments.
“We’ve had very good feedback,” he said. It was well thought out and comprehensive, and covered many different aspects of the transport issue.
Councilor Carol Zanon raised concerns about residents who may not have been heard during the consultation.
“We have to be careful considering who didn’t participate in this study and we have to make sure that despite everything, it’s our responsibility to monitor them as well,” Zanon said. She also raised concerns about sidewalks in the Smith Creek neighborhood, especially with new and planned home construction in the area.
“You can’t walk to the Westbank Center from there at all. If we talk about connectivity between neighborhoods and also to the center, I hope it will attract attention,” added Zanon. “Another place that I know of that doesn’t have a vibrant neighborhood association is around the Rose Valley area. I don’t see anything about their neighborhood, so we have to make sure we take their concerns into account. »
The report to council also highlighted concerns about safe and accessible routes in and out of all neighborhoods for emergency personnel and residents in the event of an emergency or evacuation. The safe and efficient evacuation of residents in the event of a forest fire or flood is an important consideration for transportation planning.
Many existing neighborhoods lack adequate access and egress due to narrow roads and inadequate turning areas for large vehicles. All new development work underway should provide emergency access and egress roads, the report says.
City CouncilCity of West KelownaTransportation