$108 million Transportation Master Plan on schedule

By David F. Rooney

Barring any unforeseen roadblocks, the City’s Transportation Master Plan should be ready for public review for two months starting on November 19.

The plan, a draft of which was reviewed Thursday by Council meeting as a Committee of the Whole (CoW), maps out the municipal strategy for dealing with transportation needs and priorities, including sidewalks, trails and transit, over the next 25 years.

Municipal staff and consultants from Boulevard Transportation Group of Victoria have been working on the plan for much of this year. A pre-final draft is scheduled to come back to Council during CoW meetings on November 2 and 9 and will be released to the public for review on November 19. It is to be formally adopted by February 15, 2011.

For now, traffic volume is generally quite acceptable on all city roads, however, three intersections on Victoria Road — Mutas Road and Tim Horton’s, MacKenzie Avenue and Fourth Street/Townley Road need improvement. Roundabouts are recommended for Wright Street and at either Highway 1/Victoria Road or Laforme Boulevard/Fraser Drive. Roundabouts are also recommended for Victoria and Fourth Street and at Townley Street. The report also recommended closing the north leg of MacKenzie Avenue at Victoria Road.

With the Big Eddy Bridge’s life span not expected to continue for more than 10 years, the plan calls on the City to work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to “secure at least three bridge lanes for vehicles between central Revelstoke and the Big Eddy.” Further, the City should “prepare for a second crossing of the Illecillewaet by 2026 and work to obtain property to permit an extension of Victoria Road directly to Townley Street by 2051.

These are lengthy timelines but the estimate for growth most used by the City suggests a population of 15,000 by 2025. That kind of growth projection requires a prudent Council to begin planning now. There will be a set of triggers the City can monitor to determine when work needs to begin on different parts of the plan, such as — say — a second crossing of the Illecillewaet but defining those triggers is still underway. They were not included in the draft that was shown to Council on Thursday.

The plan proposes four ways to accommodate bicycle traffic in Revelstoke:

  1. Designated bicycle lanes on primary arterial routes;
  2. Bicycle routes on secondary roads. These are “roadways with moderate to low volumes of traffic and connect to key community destinations.” Moss Street, Eighth Street, MacKenzie Avenue, Third Street, Pearson Street-Long Avenue and Westside Road are proposed bike routes;
  3. Recreational routes on tertiary routes. Front Street is proposed as a recreational route; and
  4. Multi-use trails.

As for sidewalks, the plan says they should be added to all streets within Central Revelstoke, on Cleland and Colbeck Roads in Columbia Park, Big Eddy Road, Lundell and Griffiths Roads in the Big Eddy, On Oscar, Edward, Leach, Fourth, Downie, Eighth and Moss Streets and on Airport Way, Nichol Road and Park Drive in Arrow Heights.

As for public transit, the plan suggests establishing three fixed BC Transit routes to replace the existing two routes, expanding the shuttle service so that it operates year-round and extending the Arrow Heights route to include Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

All of this will cost money, of course. And the bottom line — if all recommendations are carried out — is a cool $108.6 million over 25 years.

You’ll be able to read the Transportation Master Plan in its entirety when it is released to the public on November 19.