Why were Maple Ave and Sycamore Street chosen?
The Sycamore Street and Maple Avenue Safe Streets project is the result of years of community engagement and planning.
In 2019 and 2020, City of Powell River developed and adopted a Parks and Trails Master Plan. The purpose of this project was to inventory, analyze, and recommend future plans for parks and trails in our community. During this process, staff heard from the community that better connections are needed between Wildwood, Townsite, and Westview. And, we heard that connections between Townsite and Westview should be both along the water (i.e. extending Willingdon Beach Trail) and at the elevation where most people's homes are located (i.e. at the elevation of Maple and Willow Avenues). The Parks and Trails Master Plan recommended development of a "mid-level connector" trail to connect Brooks Secondary School to the Recreation Complex. The City has received more than $750,000 in grant money to build the mid-level connector, and preparatory work is already underway. You can see the Parks and Trails Master Plan linked under "Documents".
Then, in 2021 the City prepared and adopted the Bicycle Network Strategy. The purpose of this plan was to create an active transportation network in Powell River, with a hierarchy of street types to support all ages and abilities (AAA). The Parks and Trails Master Plan focused on trails. By contrast the Bicycle Network Strategy focused on streets. The Bicycle Network Strategy recommends upgrades to City streets to create a network that minimizes steep hills and creates direct connections between community destinations to create a simple and understandable network. One of the recommendations was to create a "neighbourhood bikeway" on Maple Avenue and Sycamore Street. You can see the Bicycle Network Strategy linked under "Documents".
In early 2022, City Council codified the Bicycle Network Strategy by amending the Official Community Plan to include the cycling network map as a schedule to the bylaw and to update objectives and policies relevant to active transportation. This process included a public information meeting and a public hearing. More information about this process is linked in the "Documents" section.
Later in 2022, City staff worked with ISL Engineering Consultants to prepare a preliminary design for the Sycamore St. and Maple Ave. neighbourhood bikeway. Staff were aware that there would be an opportunity to apply for provincial grant funding for projects up to $500,000 later in the year, and engineered drawings would be required to apply for funding. ISL Engineering Consultants prepared initial ideas based on community input from the Parks and Trails Master Plan process, the Bicycle Network Strategy process, and the Official Community Plan amendment process. Staff shared these initial ideas on June 21 at Dwight Hall and on July 16 at Townsite Day. ISL Engineering Consultants then refined the plan based on community feedback, funding constraints, and feedback from other City departments. Staff prepared a funding application that Council supported in October 2022.
How is this project funded?
In February 2023, the City was notified that we were successful in being awarded a BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant of $357,000 from the province. This is 70% of the total project cost. The remaining 30% project cost of $153,000 is being funded by Powell River Community Forest.
What does AAA standard for cycling mean?
The most successful bicycle networks around the world are built to an All-Ages-and-Abilities or AAA standard. AAA refers not only to quality of design, construction and maintenance, which are fundamental to success, but also to a specific design approach that entices bicycle users of all ages and abilities to hop on two wheels (or three). This design framework seeks to offer an accessible and comfortable way for all members of the community and all visitors to travel, regardless of their age, level of ability, gender, socioeconomic status, background or the neighbourhood they live in. The The AAA standard is a guiding principle in the 2015 Integrated Sustainability Plan, the 2020 Parks and Trails Plan, and the Bicycle Network Strategy. A neighbourhood bikeway is a category of active transportation route that meets the AAA standard.
What is a "speed cushion"? Won't they slow down emergency vehicles?
Speed cushions are either speed humps or speed tables that include wheel cutouts to allow large vehicles (like fire trucks and BC Transit buses) to pass unaffected, while reducing passenger car speeds.
Won't this all just encourage people to shortcut down Maple Lane? How are you going to prevent that?
We've included a continuous sidewalk (i.e. a raised area) across the Hemlock Street access to the laneway between Maple Avenue and Marine Avenue to discourage ‘shortcutting’ and reduce vehicle speeds. Also, we've included speed humps down Maple Lane from Hemlock to Hawthorne Street.
Am I going to lose my street parking in front of my house?
Street parking is a shared resource for our entire community. In Townsite, the Zoning Bylaw requires that vehicle access be provided via the lane where available, and each lot is required to provide two (2) off-street parking spaces. This plan will result in some homes losing street parking and other homes gaining street parking. The reasons for this are: 1) some parts of the curb need an area where a bus can pull into a bus stop, and 2) some parts of Maple Avenue aren't wide enough to accommodate parking on both sides of the street. Please come to one of our workshops to discuss street parking in front of your home and help us finetune the design.
I have a front driveway. How will this project affect my access?
This project should not affect your access to your property via a driveway off of Maple Ave or Sycamore St. We specifically located the curb extensions not to interfere with driveway access. If you see an error in the concept design documents, do be sure to contact us or attend a workshop.
How will this project affect stormwater flows?
The curb extensions are designed to keep existing drainage or stormwater flows. This helps keep the cost of the project down and reduce the amount of construction needed. The curb extensions are also planting areas. So, this creates more space on Maple and Sycamore for rainwater to infiltrate naturally. This photo shows an example of how a curb extension can maintain existing gutter and stormwater flows:
When will construction begin, and how long will it take?
First we need to turn the concept design into a detailed design. Then. staff need to procure construction tenders and construction management support. We'll update the answer to this question when we have more information.
How is this going to work with planned watermain upgrades on Maple?
City of Powell River is planning watermain upgrades on Maple Street from Aspen to Dogwood in multiple phases. Phase 1 will be from Aspen to Birch. Construction is expected to take place before summer 2023. Most of the construction will be in the grassy boulevard rather than the street. So Maple and Sycamore Safe Streets construction would happen afterwards. Phase 2 (Birch to Chestnut) and Phase 3 (Chestnut to Dogwood) are planned for a later date and detailed design is still being completed.