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Transportation workshop set for Kelowna City council on Monday

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Kelowna city council to review ways to improve transportation
By the year 2040, nearly 50,000 new residents are projected to call Kelowna home. To keep up with the growth, Kelowna city council will be reviewing a transportation workshop on Monday, to go over ideas that could improve the way residents access the city. Jayden Wasney reports – Feb 5, 2023

A transportation workshop is set for Kelowna city council on Monday, outlining the need for infrastructure improvements and additions, to keep up with the growing population.

“When you think about us being the fastest growing municipality in the whole country, how do we keep up with the demand,” said Kelowna city councilor, Mohini Singh.

“So yes, as a council we have a lot on our plate, and we have been working to ensure our citizens get the vest they can.”

The workshop includes ideas to reduce vehicle trips, add to pedestrian access, add improve cycling networks as well as the transit system.

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It also highlights the fact that there is a demand for more roads. Currently 84 per cent of trips within the city are taken by car, so the province is aiming to reduce that by 25 per cent by the year 2030.

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“Making it easier to move traffic, goods and services is absolutely one of the issues that’s top of our agenda.” said Singh.

“We heard that loud and clear during the election — people we’re talking about the gridlock in traffic and the need to move traffic faster.”

In the pedestrian network, there are several challenges including a shortage of sidewalks, high-traffic area crossings and seasonal maintenance.  Some ideas are to put an overpass on Highway 97 and Bertram Street, look at improving safety at crosswalks and install more sidewalks.

As for cyclists, the list of ideas includes connecting the city’s 5 urban centre’s with bike lanes, joining the Okanagan Rail Trail and Greenway, improving the lighting on the rail trail and adding neighbourhood bikeways.

Fast, reliable transit is part of the city’s long-term plan, but in order to make that happen, a new transit operations facility is needed. Another suggestion is making a dedicated bus corridor along Highway 97 from the William R. Bennett Bridge to UBCO.

Implementing every suggestion outlined in the workshop would cost the city an estimated $70 million.

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