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Kamloops council rejects multi-million dollar multi-use pathway on Lansdowne

Kamloops council rejected a proposed multi-use pathway on Lansdowne Street due to some coucnillor’s concerns about impacts to traffic.

The $2.75 million multi-use pathway was proposed to stretch from 2nd Avenue and 6th Avenue.

A staff report said the 670-metre pathway would have served as a potential connection to complete a gap in the city’s active transportation network, between the Rivers Trail and the bike lane on 6th Ave.

Construction of the project would have been carried out alongside a major utility upgrade to the city’s sewer system in the area in an effort to save some money.

<who> Photo Credit: City of Kamloops

Public engagement carried out in mid-October saw 916 online surveys completed, 58% of which “strongly” or “somewhat” supported the proposed Lansdowne multi-use pathway and 38% opposed the project.

According to Purvez Irani, the city’s transportation manager, the most common concerns were the reduced travel lane width, traffic congestion, the removal of four parking spaces on the north side of Lansdowne Street and disruption during construction.

Those concerns were shared by several city councillors.

To accommodate the multi-use path, the travel lanes on Lansdowne would be narrowed from between 4.1 and 3.8 metres to 3.5 metres between 2nd and 6th avenues.

Irani told council that the lanes on Fortune Drive were 3.8 metres, as a comparison. Meanwhile, the Transportation Association of Canada requires a minimum width of 3.3 m to accommodate trucks and buses.

“I just want to give you a sense of confidence that the line widths that we’ve come up with not only meet but exceed design guidelines,” Irani told council.

The staff report noted that narrower lane widths can help lower the risk of traffic consultations.

<who> Photo Credit: City of Kamloops

However, that point was disputed by coun. Dale Bass who pointed to the dangerous drivers she observes everyday in the city, citing ICBC statistics.

“I did look up the ICBC statistics and they only come up to 2022, but between 1st and 6th last year, there were 63. The year before there were 48,” coun. Bass said.

“Now, that doesn’t necessarily include injury or casualty but it does include personal damage to cars. That’s an awful lot of accidents for me. And given the fact that I quite often find myself saying, ‘the person in front of me does not know how to drive.’ It doesn’t matter what the protocols, the templates, the research says, some people just don’t know how to drive.”

Coun. Bass said she could not support the proposed multi-use pathway because she did not want to see accident statistics rise.

Coun. Margot Middleton wondered if other routes had been considered.

“Have alternate routes really been explored? Has Seymour ever been explored as having a bike path? Perhaps we lose some parking but there’s other parking options there between parkades and open parking lots in the area,” coun. Middleton said.

“From sixth all the way down to (1st Ave), down (1st Ave) and joining up down into Riverside Park and to the trails?”

Irania said alternative routes had been explored and it was possible parking would be lost if a multi-use pathway was put on Seymour Street.

“Our (Transportation Master Plan) shows connection on 2nd Avenue so it would most probably impact parking on 2nd Ave. So, there’s a lot more parking impacts doing that,” Irani said.

“On Lansdowne, you don’t impact so much parking, only the four stalls I mentioned. So, we tried to balance our approach. Also, bicyclists like to travel in straight routes rather than taking loops and this also connects to the Lansdowne transit exchange.”

Ultimately, council voted 6-3 against the proposed pathway.

It is unclear if another proposed multi-use pathway will be brought forward to city council in the future.

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