Another month, another ACTBiPed meeting. At March 8’s meeting we got to talk about pedestrians and accessibility, bus shelters, cycling, and a neighbourhood transportation plan. Let’s go!
First up was a report from a city planner about a pedestrian and cycling overpass at Sixth Street over Front Street and the train tracks to connect with Pier Park. This doesn’t seem to be a critical piece of infrastructure to put in right now, but the construction at 660 Quayside Drive is going to close the entrance to Pier Park along the waterfront, leaving the only access at the 4th Street elevator and stairs. City staff were asking for comments from ACTBiPed on whether this overpass should include an elevator or be an accessible ramp. Overwhelmingly the response was an accessible ramp. I think (and with good reason) people in New Westminster are hesitant to recommend outdoor elevators, and an accessible ramp means people with mobility issues (or cyclists) can get to and from Pier Park at any time. Look for this overpass to be in place hopefully before construction at 660 Quayside starts in Spring 2018.
Next came a report and update on New Westminster’s Bus Shelter program. New West has a goal to have shelters at 75% of feasible bus stop locations by 2020. A bus stop is considered “feasible” if there’s enough room — a shelter needs a 1.5m x 4.5m concrete pad, and that has to be a minimum of 1.3m from the curb. To hit the target, New West needs to have an additional 35 shelters put in place. Now, Pattison Outdoor Advertising has a contract with the city to install, operate, maintain, and repair bus shelters with advertising, but they want to put shelters in locations that are feasible for them — high traffic areas. (Side note: the city gets back a percentage of the ad revenue, about $100/month/shelter!) The city has compiled a list of feasible high priority locations based on ridership numbers and demographics, and of this list 7 are also on Pattison’s “good advertising potential” list. I don’t know where those are, but they’ll be going in in 2017. Additionally, Ewen Avenue is going to get a “public art inspired” bus shelter. If you’re into designing bus shelters, check out the call for artists. Another non-ad shelter is going to go in somewhere on Quayside Drive. (Mad props to Max Leung, a co-op student, who crunched all the numbers that went into the report and answered the questions we threw at him!)
If you have suggestions on where bus shelters might be needed, please do let the city know! Also, if you have any suggestions on providing shelter at the Police Station stop on Sixth Street, let the city know as well!
After the bus shelter report came a report about the ‘listen and learn’ workshop held in Sapperton as one of the initial stages for the development of the Sapperton Transportation Plan. Given the report was largely based on input from the community, there were some… interesting ideas that won’t actually see the light of day (like the Stormont Connector). The report gave good insight into what Sapperton residents see as important in their neighbourhood. From a cycling point-of-view, the gap in the Central Valley Greenway between Cumberland and Brunette was noted as a huge deficiency, and there’s also some talk towards making Keary Street the official bike route between Columbia and Richmond instead of Sherbrooke Street.
Days are still early, so if you have any interest in transportation in Sapperton (and most importantly, pedestrian transportation) definitely follow the city’s news. The next workshop is scheduled for April 8, 2017.
We then got an update on the public consultation for the Rotary Crosstown Greenway improvements. About a dozen people showed up, and the response was largely positive. Some people thought that the plans don’t go far enough and the bike lanes should be properly separated with curbs! Look for paint to go down on the street sometime this summer. It’ll be New Westminster’s first AAA (all ages and abilities) walking and cycling path!
And to finish things off, Mary Wilson announced the Walk New West Challenge that’s happening from April 3 to May 28. Form a team, register, and discover just how walkable New Westminster is!