The town held an Ideas Fair on May 1 as part of their consultation process with the public for their Active Transportation Plan. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Town gives update on Active Transportation Plan

The report found convenience, connectivity and safety as three issues residents wanted addressed.

The Town has released the findings from its first set of public engagement and consultation regarding it’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP).

The initiative, launched this spring, is centred around public consultation on the best ways to improve Smithers “active transportation” infrastructure and make it easier for people using human-powered forms of transport (biking, walking, etc.) to get around.

After a period of public engagement, including a public “ideas fair” and a number of other community engagement opportunities, council received a report at their July 23 meeting from the consulting company hired to summarize the results they heard.

READ MORE: Smithers moves forward with Active Transportation Plan

They found that, while people choose active transportation for a number of reasons, health, fitness and reducing their environmental impact were all listed as key motivators for people in the area.

The report also found that existing transportation infrastructure, such as trails and pre-existing bike lanes, are very well used and valued by residents.

However, it also found convenience, connectivity and safety are three issues residents felt needed to be addressed.

“Transportation choices are limited for vulnerable populations that cannot drive, including school-aged children, seniors and those with mobility impairments,” the findings read.

“[It] is especially heightened during the winter months.”

As part of a “photo-mapping” initiative, the Town also received 31 different submissions from citizens about areas in town they feel are either very good for active transportation or could use some upgrades to address the above or other issues.

One of those submissions from a resident referenced a section at Main Street facing northeast and the “sidewalk to nowhere” law.

“Alongside Boston Pizza is a nice sidewalk that dead-ends in a big ditch. I realize this is because of the off-site works developments required of Boston Pizza, however … the sidewalk ends and leaves pedestrians with nowhere to go,” the submission reads.

“It would be great if there was a crosswalk leading to the other side of Main St. that would connect to the existing sidewalk [as] it’s at a natural location for a crosswalk and would improve connectivity and safety in the area.”

READ MORE: Public engagement on active transportation begins April 15

Connection to outlying rural areas, including improved infrastructure and connection to pre-existing trail networks, was also listed as a key theme that residents would like to see addressed in an ATP.

“Suggestions included a direct access link to the Bluff Recreation Area, either via improved paved shoulder or pedestrian/cyclist CN overpass.”

Safety was also a concern, with participants identifying things like vehicle speeds and a lack of physically seperated bike paths as two expressed areas of concern.

“Numerous participants indicated the need for traffic calming infrastructure in the community and suggested strategies, such as speed bumps, reducing speed limits [and] ‘soft’ design elements such as street trees.”

Other topics that were frequently brought up were the need for a cycling route through Smithers along the Highway corridor and addressing slippery sidewalk conditions in the winter, which many cited as a major deterrent to active transportation along with narrowed street lanes due to snow buildup.

At the meeting, council said the consulting firm is working to draft an official ATP document which will include things such as an overview of active transportation in building communities, visions, principles and goals for the ATP.

An extensive overview of existing infrastructure and implementation structure will also be addressed.

Staff added the draft plan will be presented for community feedback at a mid-September open house.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

VIDEO and PHOTOS: Thursday at the Spirit of the North Classical Music Festival

A brass fanfare, Classics on Main and a family folk dance were among the events on Day 2 of the fest

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Telkwa angler praises DFO salmon closure

Don Lambie says further actions are required including a seal cull and managing beaver dams

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Fashion Fridays: How to dress and feel powerful

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Portland, Oregon, awaits right-wing rally, counter protests

Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for felony rioting

Kraft Heinz brand baby food recalled in B.C. due to possibility of insects

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the product should not be consumed

First Nations women finally to be treated equally under Indian Act: Bennett

Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action thanked the feds

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

‘Easy Rider’ star Peter Fonda dies at 79

Actor and writer was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the 1969 psychedelic road trip movie

Bob Lenarduzzi out as Vancouver Whitecaps president

MLS team is at the bottom of the Western Conference standings

B.C. daycare operator denies negligence in death of ‘Baby Mac’

Infant died in early 2017 after biting an electrical cord, according to a lawsuit filed by his mom

Most Read