Rosemont is a difficult area to do traffic planning, according to several residents at a recent open house about transportation.
“It is a tricky situation,” resident Neil Bow said. “There are some real hurdles to negotiate, dealing with elevated levels of both traffic and cycling/walking because of grade, use patterns, sight lines, parking … I think the Vancouver Street hill is the biggest hurdle.”
The City of Nelson held the public open house Feb. 21 to discuss its plans for changes to transportation in Rosemont.
Bow called the meeting a “constructive effort” and another resident, Kim Bater, called it “essential. We have to have this sort of dialogue.”
Bater said Rosemont is “a very car-centric place because of the way the transportation corridors are.”
The aim of the proposed changes to make it easier to walk, cycle, or drive between Rosemont and downtown.
Held at the Granite Pointe Golf Club, the session was attended by about 100 people over three hours. They viewed displays, voted on options with coloured stickers, wrote ideas on sticky notes, and talked with city planners.
Public response to the transportation plan was generally positive, said city planner Matt Kuziak, who is leading the project.
“They understand that people want to walk or bike,” he said. “And they appreciate that it is not a war on cars.”
The plans for Rosemont include re-designed intersections, a covered stairway from Observatory to Vancouver Street, a bi-directional separated bike lane on the Observatory Street overpass, and a biking and walking path along Vancouver Street.
Kuziak said the plan is partially based on a public survey conducted a year ago. Kuziak’s November 2022 presentation to Nelson City Council about what was learned from that survey can be found at https://bit.ly/3EHnXFJ.
The biggest concerns of those attending the Feb. 21 meeting, he said, were parking, snow removal, and speeding.
Rosemont resident Craig Logan was worried about parking on Vancouver Street.
“Especially between Innes and Richards where they want to delete all the parking,” he told the Nelson Star. “On any given day you will see 20 cars parked on that section of road.”
Kuziak confirmed that the plan was to remove parking on the west side of Vancouver Street to make way for a walking and biking lane, and he said the city is working on finding alternative parking.
Logan and resident Wayne Miller were both concerned about snow clearing, especially how it would work with a new pedestrian/bike lane on Vancouver Street.
Kuziak said one option could be to shut down the lane in the winter and use it for snow storage.
Miller said the planners at the meeting were receptive to these concerns and open to residents’ ideas.
Kuziak said the residents showed a lot of interest in the proposed intersection changes at Hall Mines Road and Observatory Street, Vancouver Street and Observatory Street, and Silver King Road and West Richards Street.
The plan calls for measures to improve visibility and to make the intersections equally convenient for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, including the introduction of four-way stops.
“This was the thing people were most in favour of,” Kuziak said. “People appreciate that we are trying to make those intersections easier to navigate … to slow down traffic, especially traffic coming off the highway in a couple of spots — people liked that.”
Kuziak said the proposed covered stairway from the west end of the Observatory Street overpass up to Vancouver Street got mixed reviews. Some residents told him that the time saved by using the stairway, as opposed to walking around the Vancouver Street loop, might not justify the cost of around $450,000.
He said the estimated project cost, not including the Rosemont stairs, is $1,368,986, which includes a 45 per cent contingency for unanticipated costs.
The full project will depend on grants from senior levels of government.
Last year the city applied for a large federal government infrastructure grant that would have covered 60 per cent of the Rosemont project, but recently learned that the application was unsuccessful. Kuziak said he intends to apply for a new and similar provincial government grant later this year.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter