Map showing the City of Castlegar's plans for Columbia Ave.

City of Castlegar seeks feedback on complete street project

The City of Castlegar is looking for feedback on its Columbia Avenue Complete Street Redevelopment Project.

The City of Castlegar is looking for public feedback on the redevelopment of Columbia Ave.

On Tuesday, May 31 city council and staff held an open house so the members of the public could ask questions and give feedback on the city’s Columbia Avenue Complete Street Redevelopment Project.

Phase 1 of the project will include the stretch of Columbia Ave. between 18th St. and 11th St. There will be a two-way bike lane on the west side of the street, separated from the roadway by a barrier dotted with intermittent streetlights and banners. The adjacent sidewalk will be planted with street trees. A two-way left turn lane will run through the center of the roadway and the sidewalk on the east side will have a guardrail separating pedestrians from a dropoff and retaining wall.

Phase 2 will be very similar, and will include 24th St. to Connors Rd. The bike lane will be on the east side, with sidewalks on both sides of the road. There will be no guardrail or retaining wall, but there will still be a two-way turning lane in the centre of the road.

The two phases will combine with the multi-use pathway connecting Sixth Ave. and 17th St. to form a continuous, safe route for cyclists and pedestrians.

“That was the first piece of the whole pedestrian-cycling plan because the connector is the bypass that gets people around the whole busy commercial and interchange area,” explained Chris Barlow, director of transportation and civic works. “So the next phases are building out from that connector piece.”

The city has also proposed a “bridge to bridge” connection between the overpass bridge at 20th St. and Sixth Ave. and the Kinnaird Bridge so that pedestrians and cyclists can access the path network on the other side. Both phases will also include improvements to underground infrastructure, including storm and sanitary sewer, water mains, and electrical and telecommunication lines.

The cost for Phase 1 will be $5.088 million and for Phase 2 will be $5.265 million. Depending on funding availability the city has applied to both provincial and federal infrastructure grant programs Phase 1 may be completed in 2017, with Phase 2 planned for 2018 or later.

Residents who attended the open house had the opportunity to ask questions and fill out a feedback form. Asked what kind of feedback he’d heard so far, Barlow said, “Just lots of questions. I’ve had some in favour, I’ve had some people that had some different questions on it.”

One resident told the Castlegar News he was generally in favour of the project, but had one concern.

“It’s long overdue; we’ve needed it for years,” he said. “I have a pet peeve: I’d like to see that turning lane removed.… I don’t think it’s used very much, except by guys that want to cut in on you.”

The City of Castlegar will continue to collect feedback on the project until Tuesday, June 14. To learn more and get a copy of the feedback form, visit www.castlegar.ca/notice.php?id=439.