Green streets – Kelowna’s first.

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As mentioned in an earlier post, green streets are regular streets modified to make them more attractive, inviting, and safe for non motorized traffic. Kelowna has none now but is considering one for the next year.

The first phase of the rails with trails (Gordon to Spall) has problems. For some reason there was little thought given to accessing each end. On the Gordon end, there is a distinct need to tie into the downtown/waterfront area and on the Spall end there is a need to tie it into the bike lanes on Enterprise and paths to Parkinson Rec. Centre.

The City is now looking at using Cawston from near Gordon towards the waterfront as the main access to that end of the Rails with Trails. Since cycling and pedestrian traffic in that area is likely to increase substantially once the Rails with Trails is open this spring, they recognize that changes must be made to Cawston.

Please note that the above sketch may not be the actual route – it gives an idea of the area however. Also the right hand side of the street labeled “Clement” is now the Central Okanagan Bypass. Other possibilities include the use of Pheasant Ave. or the small street at it’s north end.

Initial plans are to convert Cawston into a “green street”, using various traffic calming measures and pedestrian/cyclist operated crossing lights to make the route safe and enjoyable. As far as I know the route will tie in with the crossing at Wilson and Gordon as there is a traffic light controlled crossing of Gordon at that point.

Another point of interest is that most of that area of Cawston is a regular bus route. Combining a green street with a bus route definitely limits the amount of traffic calming measures available.

I believe that Wilson would be the better choice as there is no bus route, it is already a pleasant route (more trees), and it ties directly with the light controlled cross walk across Gordon. There is a development planned for the area along Gordon near Cawston and this may have had an impact on the route chosen.

I wish the City the best in this endeavor and hope that the route gives priority to non motorized traffic rather than becoming just another motor vehicle route with a few minor changes to make it appear green. This is a real opportunity to set the stage for future streets and thus it is very important that it be done properly.

John.

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