COLUMN: Changes are on the horizon at Hall Street

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Baby it’s cold outside, so why not come inside someplace warm, colourful and inviting. Please join us at the Nelson Library for the 2014 public budget presentation on Thursday, February 27.

Information will be available starting at 1 p.m. with a scintillating staff presentation by Colin McLure, Chief Financial Officer, at 7 p.m. There will be food and drink, and time for your thoughts on what is being proposed. Slap on some mittens and get involved. You’ll note that I started my article with this invitation which will tell you how important I think this is.

After a lengthy hiatus, the Downtown Waterfront Committee met this week to look at the implementation of the first phase of work for the Hall Street Corridor. This year, the City is proposing to renovate and develop three blocks of Hall Street, beginning at Baker Street.

The IODE park will be cleaned up and a portion of the stone wall will be removed to make the park area more accessible and inviting. A water feature and sculptures are also being considered. The street below will be renovated to become more of a multi-purpose area. With the removal of sidewalks, planting of trees and the addition of a public washroom, this means that the street can become a public gathering space when needed.

The attached diagram shows proposed changes to traffic flow for the next two blocks. You will see a change from one-way to two-way traffic flow and that parking on one side of the street will change to parallel from angle parking.

As we continue down the road, the next block of Hall Street will remain two-way, but traffic coming uphill must turn right on Vernon Street. This is intended to improve safety and access. Street repairs have been delayed until the traffic plan was developed, and with this completed, improvements to the Nelson and District Community Complex entrance, infrastructure improvements and street repaving can be initiated.

Additional parking can be created on Lake Street behind Midas Muffler. Cedar Street will be widened to become a proper two way street with a sidewalk on one side. High Street will see the addition of a bike lane. You’ll also note that the last block of Baker Street will be changed to a one-way flowing in the opposite direction to further improve traffic flow.

With the addition of bump outs at corners, pedestrian safety will be further improved. The good thing about changes in traffic flows is that they can be implemented economically for a trial period, to assess how they work. If something isn’t working, we change it.

Now, let me refresh your memory on why these changes are being proposed. Hall Street has been identified as the only through street to the waterfront and these improvements are being made to encourage pedestrian traffic to the waterfront as well as up to the shops in the downtown core.

These improvements are also intended to support the business community in its transformation. We have building owners and business people who have already made property upgrades or are thinking about transforming their spaces. I’m sure this plan will provide the opportunity for much discussion and feedback.

Have a look and tell us what you think. You can view the entire document in the Downtown Waterfront Masterplan on the City of Nelson website — nelson.ca.


— Nelson city councillor Deb Kozak shares this weekly space with her colleagues around the table.

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