Nanaimo’s recently-adopted City Plan emphasizes the need for our city to move away from car commuting, marking a significant shift as we undo years of suburban sprawl. An evident manifestation of this transformation is the impressive introduction of protected cycling infrastructure throughout the town. Prominent examples include the Metral Drive, Front Street, and Albert/Fourth Street bikeways. These projects demonstrate that the City is committed to actively investing in transportation improvements, and the results are truly remarkable.
Albert/Fourth Complete Streets Proposed Improvements (City of Nanaimo)
A significant aspect of Nanaimo’s newly established City Plan is the explicit inclusion of mobility network plans. However, certain mobility corridors outlined in the plan, such as Bowen Road, still pose challenges for pedestrians and cyclists, despite a previous incomplete attempt at implementing Complete Streets in 2020. Similarly, Hammond Bay Road is designated as a secondary mobility route, yet the northern section lacks a sidewalk between Departure Bay Beach and Neck Point Park. Additionally, Lost Lake Road, although categorized as a mobility route, lacks sidewalks for a considerable stretch. It is crucial to note that installing traffic calming barriers cannot adequately compensate for the absence of pedestrian-friendly spaces. Nanaimoites eagerly anticipate the City’s forthcoming plans for addressing these crucial corridors.
“As we move forward, we are committing to reversing sprawl patterns and working towards more compact and vibrant urban areas with a broad range of attractive transportation choices.” – Nanaimo City Plan, p206
Credit is due to the City for its ongoing efforts to “complete the street” along Albert/Fourth Street in the downtown area. This commendable project aims to establish a vital connection between the University District, Harewood, the Stadium District, Downtown, and the Old City Quarter. Providing alternative options to private vehicles is crucial in encouraging residents to embrace walking and cycling within their neighbourhoods.
Metral Complete Streets Mobility Improvements (City of Nanaimo)
More than 1500 Nanaimo residents actively participated in shaping the ReImagine Nanaimo City Plan, which showcases their collective aspiration for interconnected communities that are conducive to walking and cycling. Despite the city’s expansive northern development, Nanaimo possesses a strong foundation and abundant untapped potential. With the goal of doubling the number of journeys made on foot, by bicycle, and via public transportation by 2041, the City recognizes the imperative to continue expanding its active transportation network. Nanaimo’s current trajectory of progress offers much to appreciate and celebrate, and we’re thrilled to witness more individuals embracing the true essence of Nanaimo, experiencing it as it was originally intended: free from the confines of a car.