April 01, 2013 - 4:08 PM
By Jennifer Stahn
Trails in Kamloops are an integral part of the walkability of the city and a more sustainable way of life, with that in mind Kamloops city council agreed to have city staff start moving on high priority initiatives outlined in the trails and pedestrian master plans.
The trails master plan was created in conjunction with the pedestrian master plan and the 2010 bicycles master plan as a way to help develop an extensive, sensitive trail network throughout Kamloops with recreation opportunities for all user types utilizing city parks and open spaces. In total more than two dozen city plans, policies and by-laws contributed to the creation of the trails master plan.
“I like the notion of bundling these plans together,” Coun. Ken Christian told council last week, adding he can see how the plans will help enhance the walkability of the city over the long term - even in the face of limitations such as topography, rivers, population density and climate.
The trails system in Kamloops covers many of the well-used paths but not all are officially designated by the city and part of the reason behind the master plans was to figure out which areas are lacking actual trails or have only user-made trails that may need to be upgraded or maybe even taken over by the city.
The pedestrian master plan will help the city identify the needs and deficiencies to develop a safe and efficient network of walking areas. The plan helps outline safety and demand ratings as well as how to best implement appropriate strategies.
City transportation planner Erin Felker described the plans as a guiding document that would help the city when planning future considerations and in applying for funding. It will also help ensure right of ways are protected especially when it comes to trail access in new developments.
Coun. Donovan Cavers would like to see open houses as projects roll out as well as an advisory committee, similar to the standing bicycle committee, that could help ensure the walkability of the city is looked after. Coun. Nelly Dever was more concerned with ensuring council is made aware of any future plans prior to the public so they are not caught flat-footed when asked about projects.
Dever also wants to see updated signage on trails, to help keep others like her, she said, from getting lost in areas like Kenna Cartwright where a myriad of trails intersect in the nearly 800 hectare park. City staff assured her they are looking at updating the signs and are investigating the idea of using scan codes that would allow users to determine where they are and where to go using a smartphone app.
Council also discussed the usability of trails and benches for people with mobility issues, listing areas like Thompson Rivers University as a pedestrian generating area and even considering back alleyways as walkways since they are already paved and many pedestrians already use them.
The plans were created following workshops and online consultations that saw more than 300 people offer input. Staff will now look to establish high, mid and low priority areas before presenting council or the public with what they feel are immediate-need projects. Some funding is already allocated under certain plans and funds in the budget though some projects may require additional approval before going ahead.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013