Bike paths now added to Spadina plan

There have been older houses razed along that stretch in Chilliwack recently and rezoning attempts are underway

A $2.8 million project is listed in the city's 10-year capital plan to spruce up a section of Spadina Avenue. Developers have been champing at the bit to see redevelopment in that part of town.

An improvement plan for Spadina Avenue, between Corbould and Ashwell, will feature bike lanes and street trees when the work goes ahead in 2017.

City council was pretty gung-ho on the idea in general, but sent the plan back to staff earlier this summer to see if bike paths could be incorporated into the design.

Turns out they can.

“I think we’ve come up with a plan that works,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “Staff managed to adjust things within the right of way to accommodate bike lanes.”

The $2.8 million project is listed in the city’s 10-year capital plan to spruce up that end of Spadina. The idea is to have it mirror the beautiful look of Spadina to the east, where pink plum trees bloom every spring on the grassy median.

The goal of the project is primarily to redo the parking lot, with the idea of adding street trees, and green space in a centre island separating the two lanes of traffic.

Developers have been champing at the bit to see redevelopment get going in that part of town.

There have been older houses razed along that stretch recently and rezoning attempts are underway.

“This is going to be a major hub for Chilliwack,” said Gaetz, noting the proximity to the Cultural Centre, Prospera Centre, Leisure Centre and Evergreen Hall, as well as the hospital.

Adding bike lanes only makes sense, she says, given the city’s encouragement to leave the vehicle at home whenever possible and to have more people taking the bus or cycling.

The development community had been asking for a new parking plan, and wanted assurances from city hall that the parking in front of Evergreen Hall would get an upgrade, which doubles as event and overflow parking for The Landing site.

“Many can see the potential this area holds,” said Gaetz.

The Spadina redesign, with pedestrian corridor, has a plan to remove 13 of the existing 265 parking spaces. They looked at various options, with considerations that included maintaining parking functionality, but with angled parking, in part as a nod to those with future development plans in that specific block of Spadina.

The changes mean that bike lanes will be added to the preliminary design by consultants Aplin & Martin.

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