Nichol Road ‘remix’ plan proposed

City proposes separated pedestrian walkway, in addition to bike lanes, narrower motor-vehicle lanes to deal with safety issues

Arrow Heights residents who use Nichol Road as a pedestrian or cycling route complain it has become unsafe due to increased winter resort traffic and the lack of a separated walking lane

The City of Revelstoke’s Development Services department has unveiled a proposed solution to traffic issues on Nichol Road.

Since the opening of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the roadway has been the main route to the resort. However, the road travels through the Arrow Heights Elementary School 30 km/h zone, leading to safety concerns, especially since there is no sidewalk on the road.

A hill on Nichol Road by the school ices over periodically, and has sent several cars sliding out of control into the snowbanks and trees in the school zone.

A nine-page report was presented by Development Services Department Director Mike Thomas at the City of Revelstoke’s April 10 Development Services Committee meeting.

The report lists possible options, and calls for a “remix” plan that focuses on creating a sidewalk separated from the roadway by a swale (more or less a shallow drainage ditch).

At the April 10 meeting, and in his report, Thomas explained that the long-term plan for Revelstoke Mountain Resort warrants a four-lane, curbed roadway through Nichol Road.

But that’s expensive, Thomas explained, and the resort isn’t currently developed enough to warrant a four-lane roadway.

“There area lots of people who want a sidewalk on every street, [but] that means we have to maintain it,” Thomas said.

Another issue is storm-water management. If you build a curbed roadway, you’re creating a river that needs to be piped away; Arrow Heights doesn’t have storm sewers, so they’d need to be built from the bottom up, which is also very expensive.

Thomas explained building curbs also means trucking the snow away, which has significant life-cycle costs.

The final consideration is a sewer main that runs along the roadway. Currently, no residences on a long stretch of Nichol Road are hooked up to the pipe, but a bylaw in place requires them to do so when their septic systems fail. Thomas said it wouldn’t be ideal to pave over the pipe, then chew it up as hook-ups are added.

The report also explored creating a separate multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclist, but found it would actually decrease safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

The proposed ‘remix’ option calls for reducing the width of each lane from about 12 feet to 10 feet, to make way for cycling lanes on either side. The pedestrian path would be on the north side of the roadway, on the side of Arrow Heights Elementary School. It would be separated from the roadway by a swale that is approximately three metres wide.

Thomas notes a development bylaw would need to be amended because the roadway wouldn’t meet the required 12-foot width.

The report also references a future four-lane road plan, but doesn’t put a timeline on that. It also touches upon the future of a second bridge crossing to Camozzi Road from the city’s industrial park.

“The feasibility of this [new, second bridge] connection has been debated over the past decade, with an estimated cost of construction of between $60 million–$100 million, due to steep grades, span of the bridge and environmental concerns,” Thomas writes.

The report says an improved crossing at the existing bridge is a more likely option.

Since Thomas was named director in 2013, the city’s Development Services department has focused on life-cycle cost considerations when planning all infrastructure, and this is the thrust of the report and discussion at the April 10 meeting.

One attendee at the meeting wondered if the solution was a bit “rural” for a growing resort area.

“When you say rural, I say sustainable,” Thomas replied.

The report will now proceed to city council for consideration. The city successfully applied for $80,000 in tourism infrastructure funding for the project. The budget is $126,000.

The City of Revelstoke Development Services department has prepared a nine-page report on the proposed new Nichol Road configuration. If you’re a stakeholder in this project, it’s really worth reading. The Times Review will embed the document in the online version of this story at revelstoketimesreview.com.

***

Here is the Nichol Road report discussed at the April 10 meeting.

 

Nichol Road Options Report by AaPOrlando

 

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