Trips made by walking or wheelchair are an important means of day-to-day transportation. Walking is the simplest and most reliable way to travel and is often used in combination with other modes. Having an accessible, connected and safe pedestrian network provides economic, health, social and environmental benefits for the entire community. People are less likely to walk in places without sidewalks and safe places to cross busy streets.
Plan and policy documents such as Imagine Kelowna: The Vision to 2040 (2018), Community Climate Action Plan (2018), Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (2016), Healthy City Strategy Community for All Plan (2016), Urban Centres Roadmap (2016) and 2030 Official Community Plan (2011) all support making walking a safe and convenient mode of transportation.
A sidewalk is an asphalt or concrete walking facility adjacent to roads exclusively for pedestrians. Other infrastructure that supports walking includes crosswalks, curb letdowns, curb extensions, flashing beacons, signals and walkways.
Through recommendations in our Healthy City Strategy, we’re increasing the walkability and accessibility of Kelowna’s streets and sidewalks.
Sidewalks are installed throughout the City by a variety of mechanisms. These include the sidewalk network expansion program, development off-site frontage improvements, and large-scale capital projects. A summary of each is provided below.
The City funds the sidewalk network expansion program, as approved by Council in the 10-year capital plan.
Recent examples of sidewalk constructed through the network expansion program include Pandosy Street (Birch Avenue to McKay Avenue), Rutland Road (Venus Road to Holbrook Road West), and Leckie Road (Dilworth Drive to Enterprise Way).
When selecting projects, the City follows prioritization rankings in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (PBMP).
In addition to the PBMP, we also review planned capital projects, developments, and considers programs such as Safe Routes for Schools when determining project timing and coordination. Sometimes, this results in high priority projects being deferred based on the constructability or cost efficiency benefits that can be achieved by coordinating with future projects.
Because we don’t have the resources to improve all roads with sidewalks, we must prioritize locations that provide the greatest benefit to the overall community. Historically, the amount of planned funding allocated for sidewalks has been minimal compared to the number of planned projects. Based on this, timing for many lower priority projects is unknown.
As part of the development process, new developments may be required to complete off-site frontage improvements such as sidewalks, intersection upgrades, road widening, and drainage works.
Alternatively, if the City determines that off-site improvements are to be deferred to a later date to better coordinate with a larger project, the developer must pay cash in lieu for the construction of off-site improvements.
This can result in the deferral of future links in the City’s sidewalk network. The City then reserves this deferred revenue for future construction of the required works.
Recent examples of sidewalk constructed through development-related off-site frontage improvements include the mixed-use development at 740 -810 Clement Avenue, the Kirschner Mountain subdivision development accessed from Loseth Road, and the multi-family development at 120-122 Hartman Road.
Each year we undertake large-scale capital infrastructure projects as listed in the 10-year capital plan. Within the scope of these projects are a wide range of improvements.
Adjacent sidewalk is often delivered with projects such as active transportation corridors (ATC), roundabouts, major intersection improvements, bridge replacement and new roads.
Recent examples of sidewalk construction through large scale capital projects include the Ethel Street ATC, Houghton Road ATC and the Rutland Transit Exchange on Shepherd Road.