Lakeshore: the road to Kelowna's tourism district

Cyclists cross the Mission Creek Bridge, soon to undergo a $8 million re-construction as part of the City's Lakeshore Road enhancement project.

If Bernard Avenue is the heartbeat of downtown Kelowna, then Lakeshore Road is fast becoming the major artery of the city's urban tourism.

Within a few city blocks Manteo Resort, Playa del Sol and the Hotel Eldorado form a hotspot for vacationers. With a $130 million expansion coming for Manteo resort, and a $150 development bringing another 900 residences to the area, Lakeshore Road is destined for an even greater onslaught of commuters.

Residents in the area are doing the math. Repeated concerns about traffic congestion and parking in the area were voiced at a public hearing last month to approve a mega-development on the Hiawatha R.V. Park.

Bill Berry, the city's director of design and construction services, says a plan is in the works to improve the road without adding more lanes.

“Lakeshore Drive will be a two-lane arterial street, it's not going to be the original four lanes it was planned years ago,” he says.

Keeping the street at two lanes allows more space for bike paths and sidewalks to better accommodate foot traffic.

“It's gonna look different than what was proposed years ago, and attractive for people to drive down, whereas now it's not that pleasant,” he says.

Enhancements to Lakeshore Road from Gyro Beach to Lexington Drive will include a new pedestrian-controlled crosswalk near Rotary Beach. Brian Oliveira, city traffic engineering technician, says the staggered crosswalks near the beach will be combined into one pedestrian controlled intersection – and possibly a roundabout.

“The design is more focused on pedestrian connectivity, that was one of the bigger objectives of redoing Lakeshore,” he says. The City hopes with greater density the area will develop into a town centre.

“With that growth obviously there will be a lot more traffic in the area, but with more amenities it should allow people the option to not have to drive,” Oliveira says.

Members of the public and local business community are invited to an open house at Manteo Resort Thursday, April 18th, to get a look at the preliminary design and share their thoughts. Berry says they're working on a concept to help nail down the future plan.

For now, the priority is an $8 million re-construction of Mission Creek Bridge.

Drawings are available online at kelowna.ca/cityprojects under Lakeshore Roads Enhancements.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250)718-0428.

Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
Editor’s note: • Watch shifts at the Vernon detachment have fallen to as low as three roadable officers. • The department suffers from chronic understaffing. • Sources, who we trust and who have knowledge of the s

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