Kelowna News

How the city is going to try to make it easier for tourists in downtown Kelowna this summer

The city is working to make sure gridlock doesn't happen in downtown Kelowna this summer.
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KELOWNA - Summer in downtown in Kelowna is going to be all about construction, traffic congestion and scarce parking as the city deals with an unusual number of big, building projects.

“The biggest concern is construction during the summer when the volumes are highest and parking stalls are used the most,” Purvez Irani says. He's a project manager for the city assigned to deal with the traffic problems expected during some of the biggest construction projects the city has seen in a few years.

“We’ve got to make sure gridlock doesn’t happen," he says.

Ground zero is Ellis Street and Doyle Avenue where the Innovation Centre is going up on one corner and the Kelowna Health Services Centre is rising on another. Beginning Monday, Feb. 23 access to the downtown branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and library parkade will be restricted to the Doyle Avenue entrance. Ellis Street itself will be closed for a month beginning Monday, March 9. A temporary three-way stop will installed at Doyle Avenue and Water Street for the duration of the projects.

New site for Innovation Centre at Doyle and Ellis, the epicentre for downtown construction this summer.
New site for Innovation Centre at Doyle and Ellis, the epicentre for downtown construction this summer.

Add in the libary parkade expansion, the new parkade going up beside the Kelowna Museum and the Westcorp hotel going up on the old Willow Inn site at the corner of Queensway Avenue and Mill Street  — you’ve got the makings for tourist gridlock.

“We have a traffic model that we can adjust that will recommend detours and make suggestions on how to adjust traffic signals,” Irani says.  “We are trying to work proactively with the developers to manage potential traffic problems before they arise.”

Irani says the city will continue to monitor emerging traffic issues and try to get ahead of them and supply updated information to businesses and residents as soon as possible.

“Communication is critical in these situations,” he says. “We will be releasing more details as soon as they become available."

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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