After two years of research, public consultation and municipal collaboration, the Central Okanagan’s first region-wide transportation plan has been released.
“The idea is to get a sense of where we want to go in terms of sustainable transportation,” said Rafael Villarael, City of Kelowna’s integrated transportation manager.
“The goal of the plan is to start thinking more as a region, traditionally as we grow – regional transportation becomes more of a reality.”
Villarael said the region-wide plan connects all of the Central Okanagan municipal plans together, working toward creating a seamless system.
One of the key features of the transportation plan is creating a fast and reliable bus route along Highway 97.
The proposed new bus line will effectively remove the outside HOV lanes and will make the most inner lanes of the highway — bus lanes.
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“The key idea there is to improve the people’s moving capacity and start thinking about what is the next level of transit that people really need,” said Villarael.
Other key features of the plan include 81 new kilometres of roadway bicycle paths and trails, improving heavily-congested areas such as the William Bennett Bridge and investing in transportation improvements around UBC Okanagan and the Kelowna International Airport.
At this point, the plan is still being unveiled to all the municipalities’ councils and in the new year a new technical committee will be created to oversee the region-wide plan.
The plan was made in consultation with the Regional District of Central Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake County, Peachland and the Westbank First Nation.
You can read the full plan here.