Work on the new $2.5 million Railway Corridor greenway could begin as early as next spring.
Plans for the recreational trail along Railway Avenue from Garry Street in the south to Granville Avenue in the north have been fleshed out and were set to be presented to a city council committee Tuesday.
The city hope the 5.6 kilometre greenway will provide a long awaited connection between the south dyke/Steveston and the Fraser River’s middle arm waterfronts, ultimately hooking up to the west dyke trail system to create a continuous 15 kilometre loop.
Since the summer, the city has been consulting the public during open houses, workshops and surveys about what the Railway Corridor should look like.
And the feedback, according to the city, has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The comments received were very positive and there was a general sense of excitement looking forward to the implementation of the project,” said the city’s senior parks manager, Mike Redpath, in his report.
Many members of the public indicated they would use the trail to walk, cycle or jog, while others said they would use the trail to get to other parks and shopping destinations across the city.
Although grander plans are envisaged for the trail in years to come, Redpath noted the first priority for the Railway corridor would be “making the connection,” which involves the basic construction of the trail from Granville to Garry.
The trail, should it go ahead as planned, will be a four-metre wide multi-use asphalt surface built on the “spine of the former rail bed,” said the report.
There were concerns from the public about conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians. However, Redpath pointed out that cyclists commuting to work along the route can use the on-street bike lanes.
And in a bid to ensure safety — with thousands of new cyclists or pedestrians potentially being attracted the route — improvements will be made to the five major intersections on the route, including safer waiting and crossing areas, ditch infill and setbacks.
Wayfinding signage, which incorporates the interurban tram history of the route, is also expected to be part of the first phase.
Painting old tram timetables on the ground where the trams used to stop was also one of the ideas given during public consultation.
The plan is also for Branscombe House, which is currently being retrofitted, to be used as a pit stop for cyclists and trail users.
Of the $2.5 million construction costs, $2 million has been approved as part of the 2013 capital programs budget, $350,000 has accumulated in the city’s trail programs budget since 2011 and a further $201,000 arrived via a TransLink cost-sharing program.
Future phases of the corridor might include public art/interpretation, washrooms, bike facilities, community gardens, picnic areas, fitness stations, small play elements and bike terrain parks.
Improvements to some of the bus stops dotted along the route is also likely over the next few years.
And, if the public use the new corridor to the extent the city hopes, intersection upgrades may include giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists by way of signal activations and stop bars for cars.