Colwood council has elected to delay final adoption of its first-ever Active Transportation Network Plan in order to allow a pair of committees to give it one last look.
Council originally scheduled a vote on Jan. 23, but ended up running out of time to discuss the agenda item that meeting, and scheduled a special council meeting for Jan. 30. There, council approved a motion by Mayor Doug Kobayashi to instead direct staff to continue master transportation planning with the draft ATNP, and that the draft ATNP be referred to the Intermunicipal Advisory Committee on Disability Issues and the soon to be stood-up Active Transportation Committee for review.
”It’s a really important document to me and I take documents like these very seriously,” Kobayashi told The Goldstream Gazette. “There is no urgent, urgent rush behind this right now … so it makes sense to take a little more time and make sure we get it right the first time.”
Kobayashi said that, in the past, council has adopted plans quickly only to discover changes are needed down the road. With a document as important as the ATNP and with several high cost items included in it, he felt it was especially important to take the time to ensure it was as close to perfect as possible before it is adopted.
But at the same time, he and his council colleagues recognized it was also important not to delay other city work which requires the plan’s guidance, hence the motion to direct staff to use the draft as a guide until the final plan is adopted.
The plan, which has been under development since late 2021, will serve as the guide for the city to better facilitate active transportation such as walking or cycling in the years to come. Incorporating the latest best practises in active transportation infrastructure design, the plan will also influence the city’s Transportation Master Plan, which is being updated.
In a July 11, 2022 presentation to council, staff highlighted four key “big moves” featured in the draft plan.
These key points include a grade-separated Galloping Goose Trail crossing Sooke Road, as well as general trail improvements, including working with the Capital Regional District which maintains the trail to explore the possibility of having all sections crossing through Colwood paved.
Another key point in the draft is to complete improvements underway on major transport corridors such as Metchosin, Sooke, and Kelly roads. Staff also highlighted the draft plan’s emphasis on “high quality design” when it comes to active transportation infrastructure upgrades, including universal and accessible design and protected cycling paths on major corridors where vehicle traffic is either high, or vehicle speeds are high.
Beyond setting priorities for infrastructure improvements, the plan is also set to outline design guidelines for those improvements. Sidewalks, for example, will have a set minimum width of two metres and 2.5 metres in mixed use and commercial areas to allow two average sized wheelchairs or strollers to pass each other comfortably, and to route them to minimize the amount of driveways which cross sidewalks.
Kobayashi said with this latest council decision, he now expects the draft ATNP to return to council for final approval sometime toward the end of April.
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