Sidewalk Master Plan
Increase the attractiveness, convenience and safety of all modes of transportation by implementing “complete streets” that are designed to serve a broader range of transportation modes, focusing on pedestrians, cyclists and transit service, and function in the context of surrounding land uses.
Improving active modes of transportation and the pedestrian environment will enhance residents’ quality of life and provide an important transportation option. Improving the pedestrian environment will also bring benefits associated with reducing vehicle traffic.
Much of Kelowna has been developed without sidewalks. This may not have been much of an issue in the past when vehicle volumes were low and much of the Kelowna community was rural. However with growing traffic and increased density, the need for sidewalks becomes more significant. It is therefore not surprising that residents are expressing increasing dissatisfaction with existing infrastructure.
The City of Kelowna is currently updating its Sidewalk Master Plan. For a complete list of sidewalk construction projects visit the Capital Construction Map.
Official Community PlanIn this Official Community Plan (OCP), Kelowna makes a commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 33% below 2007 emission levels by 2020 in order to minimize the city’s impact on climate change. This target will be reviewed as part of a forthcoming Climate Action Plan. In order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the community, changes need to occur in how new development happens, how we get around our community, and how we preserve our natural environment. Policies in this document aim to create a long-term, sustainable community by encouraging efficient land use, providing infrastructure and facilities that will support walking, cycling and transit in a more compact and connected community, and protecting environmentally-sensitive areas, while continuing to ensure the city is a desirable place to live.
Over the course of 2000 City staff worked with a consultant (Hamilton Associates) to develop a Sidewalk Master Plan. The purpose of the plan was to provide decision-makers with the information necessary to maximize the number and safety of walking trips by ensuring that future investments are allocated in a manner that will most cost-effectively improve the quality of the pedestrian environment and increase pedestrian safety.
A comprehensive consultation process provided numerous opportunities for public input (letters, meetings, Open Houses, random-sample surveys). Comments from the public primarily centred on sidewalk projects of specific interest and on the general need for an enhanced pedestrian environment.
The Sidewalk Master Plan recommends actions that can be taken to enhance Kelowna’s pedestrian environment. The recommendations are focussed in two areas, policies and projects, as outlined below.
- Require sidewalks along both sides of all roads, with exceptions where low pedestrian demand is expected. (At present, the City requires sidewalks on both sides of arterial roads, and on at least one side of collector roads. The City does not require sidewalks along local roads.);
- Adjust requirements for minimum clear sidewalk width according to the surrounding land use, with wider sidewalks required where the pedestrian demand is higher;
- Review the provision of boulevards between roads and sidewalks to promote safety and to improve the walking environment;
- Develop consistency in providing pedestrian crossing facilities within the current guidelines;
- Assign priority to pedestrians at signalized intersections where pedestrian volumes are high; (This is understood to mean that the City would work towards ensuring convenient pedestrian crossing opportunities and strive for improvements wherever possible).
- Review the design elements of sidewalk ramps to facilitate mobility for wheelchairs and motorized carts;
- Increase funding for sidewalk projects;
- Ensure that property owners understand and carry out their responsibility for clearing snow from adjacent sidewalks; and
- Review existing design standards to specifically consider the needs of pedestrians.
In light of growing interest in sidewalks and an inability to complete all requests within any year, it was deemed desirable to develop a systematic prioritization method. The details of the ranking system that was developed are noted in the Sidewalk Master Plan.
In general terms, the projects with highest priority were those which would generate the greatest number of pedestrian trips and where not proceeding with the project would place pedestrians at greatest peril. Other factors that will be taken into consideration in selecting tax-funded projects will be as follows:
- Development Cost Charge (DCC) funding status
- Right-of-way availability
- Relationship to other civic infrastructure projects
- Relationship to City initiatives and objectives (access to transit, educational and recreation facilities etc.)
- Availability of developer contributions
- Existence of an alternate route
- Community input.