Discussion 1 – Most Serious Issue



Given all of the material posted to this site about the corridor, what do you consider to be the most serious issue on the corridor and why?

 

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75 responses to “Discussion 1 – Most Serious Issue

  1. Grant

    Not only do we need a new crossing it has to be in conjunction with highway networks, it has to bypass Kelowna completely with connection to a ring road type of route with feeder roads off this. While we are discussing this matter why do we still allow all this construction of new homes when we don,t have the road systems to accommodate this influx of populace, it’s bad enough without the tourist influx which happens every Summer, is it all about generating money for the city coffers or what? We are a large town with city dreams and pretty soon we will reach meltdown with our traffic woes. Thanks, GB.

  2. Jeremy

    The most serious issue is congestion on Highway 97 through Kelowna (both directions), and West Kelowna/Westbank First Nation, primarily southbound during the evening rush hour.

  3. Ian

    As a Vancouver Islander we tend to stay away from Kelowna because of the traffic. When we go to the Okanagan for vacation, we always take #3 highway and stay in Penticton and Osooyos but purposely stay out of Kelowna due to traffic. I would think we are not alone and that tourism would be greatly improved if solutions can be found.

    1. Warren

      Great perspective! This needs to be considered…as Ian is certainly not alone.

    2. Glenn

      You are not alone. Before I moved here I avoided the Okanagan like the plague for this very reason. The sad part is that I could drive from Kamloops 1.5 hours to the NW of here) to Osoyoos via Princeton (avoiding Okanagan valley) in a shorter amount of time than it takes me to drive today straight south from Vernon to Osoyoos. This is probably the slowest major highway anywhere in the industrial world.

      The #1 problem with the corridor is traffic lights. In the 180 km trip from Vernon to Osoyoos there’s a traffic light every 3km on average. This is insane for a major highway. My average speed ends up being 60km/h as I get stuck in Vernon, stuck in Kelowna, and stopped a dozen other spots along the way. A new bridge will not fix this problem. Four laning this highway will not fix this.

      Unfortunately, the ministry didn’t have the foresight to plan ahead 30 years ago, so we are stuck with the traffic lights for now since retrofitting the highway to 21st century standards after the fact is much more expensive than proper design in the first place.

      Let’s hope that this new process produces some forward thinking design and plans that don’t get reversed by future administrations.

      1. Kevin

        I agree completely. If they had planned ahead as they should have, we would most likely have overpasses and proper interchanges as most cities have. The traffic lights have to be removed along Hwy 97 ( all of them ) I have lived here in Kelowna for 59 years and never have any plans been made to handle our population growth with adequate infrastructure.

    3. Steven

      Odd though… If you are the typical tourist and you’re avoiding Kelowna, then clearly Kelowna wasn’t your destination. If a bypass were built, you’d take it. How exactly then are your tourist dollars changing either way???

  4. Dick

    The most serious issue is the lack of looking at Rail – instead of continuing on with what will continue on!
    Look at the new bridge in Portland, Oregon –
    http://trimet.org/pm/construction/bridgecams.htm
    Noted, above, is mention of “evening rush hour”. Obviously, this indicates need for a commuter service; something to get “people” into the city and out of it – not vehicles (with the associated need for parking space).
    A rail bridge would cost far less, would last many times longer and would herald a Valley-length inter-city rail service.
    Businesses in Downtown Kelowna would benefit (ask the folks in Portland) and would attract more tourists (note above the decision to avoid Kelowna).
    Sadly lacking is consideration of using the in-place rail corridor, downtown/airport, which could be rebuilt at a fraction of the cost of any highway expansion.

  5. Brian

    I dread going to Kelowna during the summer months. I would much rather see a bypass route built – a ring road of sorts. I think a crossing that starts from the junction of Hwy 97 and Hwy97 C and then goes around the southeast side of Kelowna and reconnects north of the airport would be the best bet. This would probably be a $10 billion project though so it will probably never happen. The bridge, at about 4km long, would have to either be a floating bridge or a suspension bridge, both of which are expensive to build. I’ve written a blog post about this possibility at https://brilang.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/a-second-bridge-for-kelowna/

  6. John

    Trying to get into Kelowna especially in the summer is a real challenge. Whoever thought of 5 lanes on the new bridge that should have been 6 lanes. As for the HOV lanes being put where they are was redicouless they should be put on the left side. As far as traffic flow on the Westside they should eliminate the traffic lights & build over passes which would eliminate traffic congestion. Yes a 2nd crossing is needed now not 20 years from now & it should bypass Kelowna entirely.

    1. Warren

      What about doing an alternating light on the bridge, allowing northbound traffic 3 lanes in the am, and southbound 3 lanes in the pm?

  7. kenbarton@shaw.ca

    !) ALL Hwy 97 cross streets should have left turn signals.
    2) There three left turn slip-lanes, on both the east and west sides of Hwy 97, along the corridor Spall to Enterprise whose slip-lanes are inadequate for the traffic use.
    3) A Kelowna Bypass route should have been on the drawing boards 20 years ago. Consideration should now be for 50-years and a much higher population growth than I have seen figures for.
    4) The major residential growth area of Kelowna, in my opinion, is to be the eastern benchlands from Highway 33 all the way north to Kalamalka Park. Adding that growth population into Hwy 97 will increase the problem.
    5) Build the 2nd Crossing from the Hwy 97/Connector/Interchange to cross Okanagan Lake and go in behind the Kettle Valley, Galagher’s Canyon and Kirschner Mountain subdivisions to cross Hwy 33 at Black Mountain and continue along those eastern benchlands to Oyama connecting with Hwy 97 at that point and then build the previously planned “Western Bypass” to take through traffic away from “Hospital Hill”, Vernon.

    1. Rhonda

      But if they focused on fixing Westaide Rd……. And I mean really fixing it. You could bypass Kelowna and Vernon.

  8. J.Pfeifer

    I am sure turning the existing Hwy 97 into a limited access road with overpasses, etc. would be the least expensive alternative until a bypass could be built.

  9. Downtown

    Congestion is an ongoing issue on the HWY in Kelowna – the city has done a great amount of work in creating bike paths for an alternative way to get around, it would be great to see more of this, all the way to the university and airport to encourage people to use alternative forms of transportation, this woudl help get some cars off the road for in-town commuting purposes. there has been some talk about areas to add a second bridge, one being through the north end at the base of Knox Mountain. This option seems completely ridiculous as that is such a high pedestrian traffic area as well as wild life. It would be very short sighted to change this area – it would increase the traffic in the area, making it so the enjoyment of the outdoor space that we have in this city would not be as enjoyable. Adding more traffic would stop people and kids from being able to walk around the neighbourhood the way they do now, we would lose that freedom. Adding more traffic to the area woudl be a safety concern for those using Knox Mountain for pleasure, for the residence of teh area and for the wildlife. We have already infringed on the mountain with so much development, the wildlife, flora and fauna have suffered and been displaced, why continue to do this? Is there no sense of responsibility by the city or the province to ensure that our outdoor environment is not disturbed? As the current road at the base of Knox has a few turns coming from Clement, this would also slow down commuting traffic – so how would this be a help in dealing with the congestion? would this just not add congestion in another area? Would it not make sense to continue to develop Clement and have a second crossing from that? Through Manhattan Point? Or to add a second crossing in the Mission area? If West Kelowna suffers most of the congestion, (as noted int he report) would it not make sense to have a second crossing from KLO road, so residence travelling from that area woudl not be part of the congestion on HWY 97?

    1. Greg

      I agree until the point when you are suggesting a second bridge in Manhattan Point ????!!!! That is the heart of Downtown/Cultural?recreational District!!!! That would permanently ruin that area and our kids/grandkids would curse us!

      1. Carmen

        Agree with Greg’s comments. Making Clement into a major highway that crosses at Manhattan would ruin an emerging cultural district and bisect the North end of downtown.

  10. Frank0

    First lets recognize the fact the car will the the huge majority of transportation used here.
    Buses only are mainly effective Mon – Sun. Nighttime and weekends are not really covered to all areas and most needs then.
    Rail, what rail?
    The golden opportunity of making a light electric rail system from Downtown Kelowna to the airport and from the airport to Vernon is being dismissed by cutting up to different owners the unused railway now and turning them into foot paths. Imagine the traffic reduction if you ride a light rapid train to and from the airport, especially in bad weather? Sure paths are nice, but who is going to use them in 2 or 3 months of winter we have?
    And that’s why cars are used and will be used mostly. Winter! Bad weather. Try to walk, pedal or even use a 2 wheeled vehicle going to and from work from Nov to March. Winter. So we all have to use the car again.
    With a new bridge, bypasses thru/around Westbank and Kelowna are a must!
    A bypass from Brenda Mines to Vernon would help. (Its mostly crown land, non-native land which will reduce building costs.
    A highway from Penticton to Kelowna on the East side of the lake would greatly help. The volume of working commuters was immensely reduced when the Glenrosa fires were on and when the landslide blocked traffic to Penticton, which both resulted in the highway shut down for numbers of days.
    There is a lot more commuter traffic to our neighbor cities on Hwy97 then going to Vancouver. And this always be same in our future!

    1. Greg

      Kelowna winters are actually fine for cycling – I do it all the time. The streets of Stockholm, Sweden, are full of cyclists all through the winter, and the weather there is far worse than here. It’s simply a matter of culture and infrastructure.

      In the late 19c, everyone assumed horses were here to stay, and they had planning conferences to address the mountains of manure that threatened to overwhelm cities. Then bicycles, and later buses and cars, totally altered the means of mobility. Amazon, Uber and Tesla are in the process of doing the same thing all over again. We’re approaching a tipping point, away from single-occupant human-piloted cars on huge highways going to malls with vast carparks, and it makes little sense to plan based on soon-to-be-outdated assumptions.

  11. Christine

    The Central Okanagan already has very high emissions per capita compared to other regions of comparable size, approximately 2/3 of which are from private vehicle travel. The way to relieve congestion is not to build more roads, but to encourage and make more accessible alternative transportation choices (such as transit, biking, walking and carsharing), and increase density so citizens are not so reliant on private vehicle use. Building more roads will encourage more congestion. It may temporarily relieve current congestion, but in the long-term it will aggravate problems.

  12. Moderator

    Thank you all for your comments to date. These have now been provided to the Ministry to be considered in Part 1 of the consultation process. Please continue the discussion as all of your comments are important and will be considered throughout the process.

  13. Lisa

    Congestion is the fault of the myriad of traffic lights at either end of the bridge, not the fault of the bridge itself. Which is why the idea of building another bridge is rather puzzling. Another bridge is also a twentieth century solution to a twenty-first century problem. It makes no financial sense to build another asphalt and concrete platitude to the automobile – a people moving device that will be profoundly changed within this century, if not within the next few years! Where is the vision to see beyond 1998? We just bought ourselves a rail bed – how about a study to research converting that to light rail, with a rail bridge to move the masses of people who only seem to travel between 8 and 10am and 4 to 6pm?

    A rail vision would be significantly cheaper, over the longer term including operational costs for our own automobile use and our governments’, have much less of an impact on the environment – decreasing C02 emissions significantly, increase tourism to/from our airport to the city centres (hello Vancouver we’re looking at you) and increase the health and well-being of Okanagan citizens tired of the road rage the traffic lights seem to inspire to travel only one kilometre or 10.

    Open up the discussion to look beyond the internal combustion engine. A further densified downtown Kelowna just can’t handle the traffic. These downtown citizens will also not like the fact that a plan to put up a large barrier (a bridge and an off ramp) will essentially separate them from their favourite park – Knox mountain. Where will the future densified citizens of Kelowna go to then?

    Planning has to take into account the needs of future citizens, the changing demographics, the need for public transportation, the changes being made to the car – whether electric or self-driven to seriously discuss this topic. Looking through the rear view mirror to try and see our future won’t get us very far.

  14. Mike

    There needs to be a Peachland bypass as part of the project. There is an extreme bottleneck though this commuity which creates heavy traffic flow during the summer months. Expanding this area to four lanes in NOT an option as it would be very detrimental to this beautiful tourist town.

    1. Deb

      I couldn’t agree more! Double laning the hwy through Peachland would be detrimental to the area. The highway shouldn’t even go through Peachland at all.

      1. Glenn

        This cannot be emphasized enough.

  15. John

    I think a by-pass down the West side of Okanagan Lake should be built first before any second crossing. This would alleviate pressure and congestion in Kelowna as people who are going north and beyond and want to go straight through would not be on the bridge into Kelowna. This would address this problem for many many years to come. I agree with the person who stated to increase the density and start building up to avoid urban sprawl. I agree with the person who stated the HOV lanes should be on the left and not the right side of the road. Having them on the right makes little sense. In Vernon there should be an extension of 27th street on the east side of Polson Park and the Army camp to alleviate pressure and congestion there.

    1. Cheri

      I agree!

      1. Cheri

        Sorry I think it should be on the East side not the West – traffic flow straight down to Penticton. The Westside has “enough” scars through the mountain from the Connector – we don’t need anymore highways nor by passes.

  16. Gideon

    Progressive thinking for the future should involve beginning a divided 4 lane limited access highway connecting with what is existing north of summerland to the connector, passing Kelowna & Vernon to the transcanada at Sicamous. Of course it would have to be build in stages as the population and traffic numbers increase. But thinking holistically would make sense and ultimately cost the least in the long run, with the possibility of making adjustments in the future as patterns evolve. I don’t believe traffic as as bad here as any city in Canada that I have had to navigate. The major issue is highway 97 cuts Kelowna in half and makes it a car centric city. Creating a truck route and turning 97 back into a wide boulevard that car, bikes, pedestrians, and public transit could easily access safely, possibly with a light rail up the centre would help improve the feeling of a suburb to an actual city with infrastructure to prove it.

  17. Mike

    The barrier that the hwy presents to north/south pedestrian and bicycle movements is a major concern. Increased grade separated crossings are required at key locations. In addition, long-term consideration could be given to true Rapid Bus infrastructure; bus only lanes.

  18. Nick

    I just hope that none of the traffic growth is going to or coming from destinations east of the Okanagan. Because at the rate work is going the Trans-Canada is going to remain bottlenecked with dangerous, narrow, closure prone two lane sections for decades (I estimate 2062 to upgrade the two lane sections at current rate of progress).

  19. Rebecca

    We only “need” a 2nd crossing if we give up on people switching to alternative forms of transportation in significant numbers. If we are serious about combating climate change, perserving air quality, and preserving the beautiful landscape in the Okanagan Valley, we need to make building infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation primary. Certainly, buidling a second crossing will reduce congestion for a time, but that second route will also become clogged up eventually (it can happen considerably more quickly than anticipated, as was the case for the Evergreen Point floating bridge in Seattle, Washington). “More roads” is only a temporary solution, and so the wanton destruction of neighbourhoods and/or wilderness areas to make way for more people to travel quickly in more personal automobiles is a repetition of the same flawed thinking that has created the congested highways and declining air quality that we are struggling with. We should look to Europe for more creative thinking, and make our cities and corridors more cycling and pedestrian friendly, and give people more transit (bus and train) options.

    1. Cheri

      I love your response – it completely makes sense!

    2. Josh

      Europe has more freeways per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world. Yes we should look to Europe, and build the 6 lane freeway the Okanagan has always needed. Than, and only then, can we say, let’s look at rail.

  20. Nick

    I am just locating to the area and in the short time I have been driving the area I have seen the issues. As the traffic is very congested even in off peak times any new changes or upgrades to the Main corridor of Hwy 97 may be obsolete before they are implemented. I say this as the city arterial roads around the Main corridor are overly congested and accesses to or even crossing the corridor is very timely. If you want to get to just either side of Hwy 97/Harvey it can be a real pain as the delays are long. The city needs to be looking at improving movement that parallels or crosses the corridor. Possible fly over ramps to get to either side would help some. Longer exit and entry ramps to and from all roads including the corridor will help with merging as this a lot of the merge lanes are to short and cause stoppage in the lane being very unsafe. Having less left turn lanes unless signal assistance is part of this and not just advanced green turn signals.
    Also having Enterprise and Springfield improved and having them enter Hwy 97/Harvey further to the North is an idea needing exploring. Enterprise could if possible allowances are there have it enter Hwy 97 around the UBCO overpass with a fly over and long merge lane could improve flow.
    Having Springfield extend and merge north of the airport to Hwy 97 with a long merge lane would move some traffic further north.
    For a second Bridge this is the most difficult for sure as a new location is very difficult to determine without a major disruption in property needing for the road alignment.
    The beauty and environment is very important in having another bridge can be considered unsightly and the environment impact with the increase in traffic and the lost land use probably will be huge.
    Without real viable alternatives in public transportation and personal use vehicles any plan developed will not be successful as envisioned. Even though people say and may want an alternative to personal vehicles it will not happen as the comfort of your own vehicle far out ways most anything especially if you are held up in traffic.
    We do need lots of discussions and ideas and I hope that having more than just a couple of open houses for the public will be increased and more flexible in dates and times. Also have people on the decision panel from the general public ( for example, not just lawyers and Engineers and Business people but I mean, general public).
    The City will need to do many improvements also in tandem or any changes will be a failure. Some will be easier than others and costs will be at the forefront as will be the environment but unless a wide broad area is included it will be all forenot.

    Glad we are looking ahead now..
    Also I am open to be contacted for more discussion

    Thks Nick

  21. Glenn

    The highway is the problem, not the bridge. It should have been designed properly in the first place. Twinned, not 4 laned (ie. green space in the middle for aesthetics and future expansion). Now that it’s built without the green space, it’s financially crippling to expand into a freeway like highway 1 was done years ago on the Lower Mainland.

    In my view, the best option would be to build the highway up the westside of the lake, and this time do it properly with a twinned divided highway. The second crossing would bridge over to Carrs Landing/Okanagan Centre halfway between Vernon and Kelowna.

    Oh, and please put the Vernon western bypass back on the table. It’s awful for us who work and walk downtown to have to deal with all the heavy traffic splashing slush and snow at us as we attempt to visit businesses along the highway.

  22. Dylan

    I believe it is time we slowly start to plan for future light rail use. An actual LRT system is many years away but also, likely inevitable. A second crossing with room for future rail use would be wise as a future retrofit to accommodate an LRT would be incredible expensive.

    The existing rails with trails alignment would work well for an intercity route from the north Okanagan to the south with stops at UBCO and the Kelowna Airport. Again, a rail system like this is decades away and expensive but said infrastructure would also help (not eliminate) the issues most people are commenting on here. As population continues to increase and more and more cars are on the highways, at what point does this ever become a real option?

  23. Dave

    The Ministry can chalk up another dead driver on the side of their vehicles!
    Last night on highway 97 adjacent to Brent Rd there was another head-on collision with at least one dead. Who knows, the other driver may yet survive. This is the 2nd fatality at the exact same location just in the last 6 months and last week there was another head-on fatality above Buchannan Rd.

    This is the ONLY section of Highway 97 from Pentiction to Armstrong that has NOT BEEN FOUR-LANED. Other than lakeside barriers, there has not been a highway improvement here for OVER 50 YEARS yet the speed was increased to 90 kmph. The double yellow no passing paint was also REMOVED (see accident link below) even though there isn’t sufficient distance to pass according to the Ministry’s own damn guidelines! The residents of Brent Rd. have been pleading for a turn lane here for some 30 years and we’ve got….let me see….NOTHING!

    There was a STUDY performed prior to 1988 to 4 lane this section. Now our area has been summarily lumped in with this ignorant pipe-dream second crossing STUDY. STUDYING for the past 30 years has done NOTHING to prevent the dead and maimed yet you’d like to STUDY this same area for another 20+ years? Personally I’m sick and tired of your STUDIES.

    Just how many bodies does it take before you actually do something besides STUDY?
    It does NOT take another STUDY to figure out that a passing lane here isn’t logical and as a result people are dying.
    Do I have to buy a gallon of yellow paint to reinstate these no-passing lanes myself?
    Maybe organizing a 70’s style sit-in where these peoples and their families have been destroyed will warrant your attention.

    You have my email, respond!

    http://www.49h.com/accident.jpg

    http://www.49h.com/study.jpg

  24. John

    I expect that the most cost effective solution would be to upgrade the existing 97 corridor with grade separated interchanges. Straightening the jog on the east side of the bridge – which would mean moving some heritage buildings and realigning Mill Creek – would be a good start. Get rid of the Abbot interchange. Replace it with a pedestrian and cyclist overpass. This would be great for the city blocks near the lake. Replace the Water/Pandosy interchange with an over pass (or get rid of it completely and direct traffic to Richter). Close the Ellis connection and the other side streets joining Harvey to Richter. Overpass at Richter. Pedestrian/cyclist overpass or tunnel at Ethel. Overpass for Gordon. Next overpass at Spall. Put some connection from Sutherland/Bernard to the Parkinson Recreation Center.

    I was talking with a visitor to Kelowna from Chicago recently, and he asked about the visual impact of a second crossing. Right now from Downtown Kelowna there is a nice view north along the lake, towards Bear Creek Park and from some vantage points, far further north along the lake. A second crossing north of downtown would destroy the view.

    1. Rod

      Like the BILLBORDS on the west side of the lake looking at Kelowna also make the view better.

      NOT

  25. Sara

    In just one half hour, I pulled the following stats off the internet. I know I have missed many many more accidents. Here is what I pulled off:

    1. Reported on June 20, 2013 – on the Saturday night before June 20th a 33 year old woman and 3 children under the age of 6 were ejected into Okanagan Lake
    2. June 27, 2013 – 3 car crash at the intersection of Hwy 97 and 13th Street in Peachland. I believe 1 woman may have died in this crash
    3. October 24, 2013 – crash at Hwy 97 and Houston Road in Peachland. Car was T-boned when turning onto Hwy 97
    4. December 19 2013 – Single Vehicle Accident in Peachland
    5. Jan 9, 2014 – Single Vehicle Accident at Buchanon Road and Hwy 97
    6. Jan 16, 2014 – A two vehicle accident (“roll over”) at Drought Road area in Peachland
    7. June 8, 2014 – 2 car head on accident with a third vehicle also involved, 4 people with serious injuries, at Highway 97 and Todd Road/Trepanier Bench Rd
    8. Reported on June 10, 2014 – On the Sunday before June 10 a head on accident sent 38 year old woman and 3 year old son to hospital with serious injuries
    9. June 26, 2014 – Head on accident at Trepanier creek/Bench Road and Highway 97. One woman died
    10. Dec 30, 2014 – Accident North of Sumac Ridge on Hwy 97 (this is in Summerland area, but still in “our” location.
    11. June 4, 2015 – Accident in Peachland near Brent Road. One man dead, one woman seriously injured. Highway was closed both ways.
    12. Sept 2, 2015 – Head on collision at Renfrew and Hwy 97 in Peachland. One woman dead, One man injured, one woman injured
    13. October 22, 2015 – Accident near the okanangan connector. Traffic backed up passed Gorman Lumber and highway blocked both ways for over 40 minutes.
    14. Jan 4, 2016 – Accident at Trout Creek area near Penticton (not in Peachland but still in our location) 42 year old woman died when her vehicle spun into the lake (where are the traffic guards protecting vehicles from entering the lake??)
    15. Feb 3, 2016 – 3 vehicle accident, one head-on collision involving a third vehicle. Bottom of Drought Hill in Peachland. 47 year old woman was killed and a 2nd woman was sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries
    16. Feb 10, 2016 – Car went into the lake at Sage Mesa Drive and Hwy 97 (North of Penticton – not in Peachland but still in our location … again, where are the traffic cement guards protecting these types of common winter accidents?)
    17. Feb 10, 2016 – Southbound closed at Westbank at Hwy 97 and West Lake Rd.
    18. Feb 15, 2016 – head on crash at Brent Road in Peachland. one fatality and one victim with life-threatening injuries.

    A by pass above peachland is the only logical solution. Let’s make that happen before more people lose their lives!

    1. highWAY

      How could a bypass possibly solve speeding, bad drivers, lookie loos, dangerous curves, overhangs and narrow shoulders and snowy conditions on the existing HWY 97?? Unless you permanently close that road, all will remain as ongoing hazards.

      A bypass will only serve to ruin our environment, enough roads already!! AND a bypass will cost your provincial taxpayers pocket book 3-4 times more than widening in place, and your municipal coffers will have to cough up the $300-500,000.00 annual maintenance fees to keep the former 20 kms of HWY 97 drive-able, NEVER MIND ALL THE IMPROVEMENTS you speak of TO MAKE IT SAFE SO NO MORE DEATHS OCCUR ON IT!. You can also add to that the cost or improving and maintaining Princeton Avenue, as it will become the only on /off access to the a porposed bypass for residents in Peachalnd.
      I winder how homeowners in Peachoanld fel about that? I am so tired of this Bypass pipe dream, AIN’T NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, the reality is widening highway 97 in place, IT is cheaper, safer, less disruptive to citizens, and the environment, and the sooner the better. Widening in place has been on the books since the 80’s.

      It is unfortunate that those who chose to live on the longest Highway in North America have to experience the inconvenience of widening, but better the devil you know than moving their problems up into our recreational back yards, or the devil they DON’T know!!

  26. Sara

    I am writing out of deep concern for our Peachland British Columbia area and specifically the safety (or lack thereof) on Okanagan Highway 97.

    I just heard of yet another horrific car crash, April 14, 2016, in the Peachland area, which has prompted me to write this letter begging you to research this local problem and run a news article on it.

    For about 5 years now the Ministry of Transportation has been contemplating making a highway by-pass or widening the current highway that goes through Peachland to make it a 4 lane highway. Most of the residents in the area have grave concerns about the dangers of widening the existing highway. Widening the existing road would only make accidents even more horrific by increased speed that people drive through our town, not to mention reduce tourism and destroy the beauty of our town. A “wider highway” would still require a slower speed zone (which by the way no one obeys). The 3 traffic lights stopping the thoroughfare traffic would still be problematic in Peachland. So, a by-pass above Peachland and closing off the town’s existing road, making it only for local traffic, is the only logical solution, yet logic often surpasses those in government power.

    Given the many accidents around the Peachland area (many fatal) it is absolutely ludicrous that the government is dragging its feet on this decision and not going forward immediately with a by-pass ABOVE PEACHLAND! In fact, I believe the government, sadly, has blood on its hands and by ignoring this issue is responsible for many of the accidents and deaths.

    In just one half hour, I pulled the following stats off the internet. I know I have missed many many more accidents. Here is what I pulled off:

    1. Reported on June 20, 2013 – on the Saturday night before June 20th a 33 year old woman and 3 children under the age of 6 were ejected into Okanagan Lake
    2. June 27, 2013 – 3 car crash at the intersection of Hwy 97 and 13th Street in Peachland. I believe 1 woman may have died in this crash
    3. October 24, 2013 – crash at Hwy 97 and Houston Road in Peachland. Car was T-boned when turning onto Hwy 97
    4. December 19 2013 – Single Vehicle Accident in Peachland
    5. Jan 9, 2014 – Single Vehicle Accident at Buchanon Road and Hwy 97
    6. Jan 16, 2014 – A two vehicle accident (“roll over”) at Drought Road area in Peachland
    7. June 8, 2014 – 2 car head on accident with a third vehicle also involved, 4 people with serious injuries, at Highway 97 and Todd Road/Trepanier Bench Rd
    8. Reported on June 10, 2014 – On the Sunday before June 10 a head on accident sent 38 year old woman and 3 year old son to hospital with serious injuries
    9. June 26, 2014 – Head on accident at Trepanier creek/Bench Road and Highway 97. One woman died
    10. Dec 30, 2014 – Accident North of Sumac Ridge on Hwy 97 (this is in Summerland area, but still in “our” location.
    11. June 4, 2015 – Accident in Peachland near Brent Road. One man dead, one woman seriously injured. Highway was closed both ways.
    12. Sept 2, 2015 – Head on collision at Renfrew and Hwy 97 in Peachland. One woman dead, One man injured, one woman injured
    13. October 22, 2015 – Accident near the okanangan connector. Traffic backed up passed Gorman Lumber and highway blocked both ways for over 40 minutes.
    14. Juan 4, 2016 – Accident at Trout Creek area near Penticton (not in Peachland but still in our location) 42 year old woman died when her vehicle spun into the lake (where are the traffic guards protecting vehicles from entering the lake??)
    15. Feb 3, 2016 – 3 vehicle accident, one head-on collision involving a third vehicle. Bottom of Drought Hill in Peachland. 47 year old woman was killed and a 2nd woman was sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries
    16. Feb 10, 2016 – Car went into the lake at Sage Mesa Drive and Hwy 97 (North of Penticton – not in Peachland but still in our location … again, where are the traffic cement guards protecting these types of common winter accidents?)
    17. Feb 10, 2016 – Southbound closed at Westbank at Hwy 97 and West Lake Rd.
    18. Feb 15, 2016 – head on crash at Brent Road in Peachland. According to the latest report, there is at least one fatality and one victim with life-threatening injuries.

    19. April 14, 2016 – single vehicle accident. Vehicle lost control and veers into the lake. Man is in serious but stable condition.

    Highway 97 Task Force Society has been formed to encourage the government to by-pass the Peachland area with a new highway up above the town of Peachland. The government is, I believe, dragging its feet on this decision; the longer they wait, the more lives will be lost

    1. Adam

      My sentiments exactly ! wish I could be at Monday’s Meeting but have out of town work commitments.

      We need a real long term solution not a band aid by trying to widen the existing route. A by-pass should have been built or at least land set aside a long time ago and factored into the re-development of the Ponderosa Golf Course and earlier 97 Connector to take advantage of the natural bench.

      Let those who want to stop and visit our wonderful town of Peachland take an exit, slow down, relax and enjoy our lifestyle ( and the reasons why we don’t live in Kelowna or Vancouver) and visit our businesses. Let others such as logging trucks, semi-trailers taking the 97 Corridor with dangerous cargo, commuters who are rushing through take the by-pass and away from the towns people and our pristine lake.

      Another traffic light at either Trepanier and/or Buchanan, although needed will only increase the congestion and exacerbate the real problem. Just look and see in the summer how the new lights have backed the southbound traffic already up Drought Hill.

      I’ve lived in Peachalnd for 10 years and we have kids who have been passengers in vehicles that have rolled into the lake, kids friends sliding off the highway on Drought Hill, older parents terrified to drive up Drought Hill ( especially in the dark or winter), witnessed that horrible head on crash and fatality of a woman just south of Drought Hill and those numerous other accidents noted by the previous author .

      How much longer does blood have to be spilt on what really should be our city street and not an incredibly dangerous thorough fair?

      How many more have to die ? Will it be your child, your spouse, your elderly parent, your friend ?

      How much longer till a fuel tanker, chemical transport truck ends up in the lake killing the fish and our lake ?

      Come on Peachlander’s and government officials listen to the facts and make the right decision to do it right and build a proper bypass to save lives not just for today but for the future !

  27. Joshua

    I prefer a second crossing and elevated freeway through downtown north of the current alignment. Following the path of the tracks from Manhattan point until clement ave, elevated over a multi use path with heated pavement. The towers of downtown would block out the view of the elevated road from the rest of town. As for the view of the north lake, well you just take the new bridge for those views. As northerners, we are dependant on the automobile 3-4 months of the year due to the cold. We need to embrace the change of the urban landscape of this ever growing region and implement a plan that includes both transit as well as new freeways for the region. I would extend spall ave south as a limited access expressway with an interchange at the new clement freeway and Harvey ave to connect to the future east okanagan lake connector. Of course this is going to cost a bit of money. The next best option is to put highway 97 into a trench with a cantilevered road on each side above the new freeway to act as a collector distributor above the highway similar to the grandview cut freeway plan of the 70’s. With six lanes of through traffic and four lanes of collectors above providing access to almost all existing street connections, this option is a winner for sure.
    Josh V.

  28. Cheri

    I believe widening HWY 97 as it exists now, is the solution for the Peachland area.

    I would not like see to more of the Okanagan terrain chewed up for new highways – we have to preserve our areas for future generations to enjoy & for the wildlife.

    Yes, it is unfortunate that the highway was built the way it was, but in my opinion that is what we have to work with. There are plenty areas where it is already wide enough to 4 lane and the amount of damage to the homes & land around the highway would be minimal. If it is done correctly I strongly believe it will boost the prosperity & beauty of Peachland.
    Peachland is a very small community with no infrastructure to support the higher taxes of road maintenance should a bypass be put around the town. A lot of businesses in town depend on that thru traffic – Peachland residents cannot afford the closure of these businesses and the unemployment caused by the closure.

    Economically, environmentally, safety wise we need the existing highway to be upgraded to a safe 4 lane highway. With the aging population, the endangered species, the homeless! the countless amenities needed in the province – spending $100-200 million, compared to spending $500+ million for a highway is a no brainer. Improve the transit system and get more drivers off of the roads. We need to seriously start thinking more towards saving our environment, our land, our animals, our trees, our health – us – for a better world for our children. Leaving them concrete scarred mountains is not the way to go! We need to improve our care for seniors, our education system, our public transit, our water sheds – not spend millions on hwy in the mountains that will be dangerous to drive & kill our surroundings!

  29. Neil

    This questionnaire is rigged. The real problem is that congestion will not be solved by any of the solutions proposed. Another bridge will invite more cars into Kelowna. Wider highways will bring more cars. The evidence is all out there. We are replaying the days of Robert Moses. Will someone please introduce the people behind the Second Bridge campaign to the writing of Jane Jacobs. This entire exercise is spin. We need to reduce our impact on the environment. Bicycles work. Walking works. Stop building roads. The more roads we build the more maintenance subsequent generations will be required to finance. Stop destroying the land.

  30. Monty

    I live in Peachland and avoid Kelowna at all costs, this is due mainly to congestion. Quite simply put, I will head to Penticton for purchases instead of Kelowna. I have noticed during peak tourist season that insufficient advance notice for upcoming cross roads, individual businesses and services leads to new comers slowing down to find services. Typically it will take several light changes to make it through an intersection. Underpasses may alleviate traffic light congestion, as well as deleting some of the cross streets (ie: less traffic lights by virtue of having no access) parallel roads or local bypass routes.

  31. Susan

    traffic congest and does not flow at lights and bottle necks – need overpasses – check out kamloops planners

  32. Gillian

    Okanagan is a very desirable place to live and visit, plus the airport is growing and all this generates more and more traffic in the future. It is obvious that we will need an alternative route from the airport to Summerland for motorists to get from A to B as quickly and safely as possible. Self driven cars are the future, but it may be pointless using that option in a busy city and therefore, Freeways are going to be even more the choice of motorists. An area which has efficient infrastructure will become even more attractive. Because of lack of planning of infrastructure in the past, a second route will become more challenging and expensive as time goes on as more is building permits are approved where an alternative route/bridge could have gone. A prime example is Kelowna where a second route could have been planned for 25 years ago and the development of the town could have been planned around this. Coming from the UK where infrastructure has been built over 100 of years we did not have the benefit of hindsight to go on. The Okanagan does and I do not understand why it did not dawn on the planners 25 years ago that the population in the area will indisputably grow, unlike some towns in Canada, due to the demographics and desirability of the Okanagan and earmark an alternative route for the future.

    1. Gillian

      Meant driverless cars not self driven

  33. Russell

    The most serious concern for me is the lost productivity that congestion that results from congestion.

  34. brian

    What is a second crossing going to do other than temporarily separate traffic and then funnel everyone right back into a series of stop-go traffic lights. It’s not the crossing itself, it’s the stopping of traffic on either side of it that is the problem.

  35. Cam

    We don’t need a second crossing or a ring road. We are a hub, and we need a road systems that realizes that points in the city are destinations for all types of traffic. Bypassing traffic accounts for a small portion of traffic moving through DWK and Kelowna.

    I believe the single biggest issue with the Kelowna corridor is not the crossing, but the historical reluctance on the part of the City of Kelowna to make the difficult decisions around transforming the existing Harvey Avenue performance. We now have a bridge that can handle an immense volume of traffic for the size of the communities it connects, and BC Highways and West Kelowna are making strides on improving traffic movement through to Hudson Road. However, Kelowna seems unable to make similar, substantive changes to Harvey Avenue to this end. Doing so involves the difficult decision of closing intersections to left turn traffic, and building overpasses or underpasses. Business owners and land owners along the Harvey corridor seem to be making the policy decisions here, rather than transportation planners, and this needs to change.

    If Kelowna and Highways could restrict left turns at more intersections (Ellis, Burtch, and possibly Cooper), and replace the busiest with interchanges (Spall, Dilworth, and possibly Highway 33 or Leathead, and definitely Sexsmith) Harvey Avenue could move the traffic needed to support the growing cities.

  36. Yvette

    Loss of natural areas, noise, unnecessary use of funds.
    No to new hwy!

  37. Kelly

    NIMBYs blocking the corridor.

  38. Holly

    The lights on either side of the bridge (along Harvey and again at the intersection of Boucherie) are the greatest cause of congestion on the corridor.

  39. Ed

    Don’t need second bridge , just a bypass that comes out at Armstrong, from just before Peachland to Armstrong.

  40. Adrian

    the destruction of park land and entering a watershed of Rose valley regional Reservoir for option 2B

  41. Steve

    Most Serious Issue?

    How about planners and politicians who don’t think more than a few years beyond their own retirement on their indexed government pensions.

    Sure, the pretty graphics and charts that project into our children’s senior years are often posted at the public meetings showing spiraling curves and nightmare statistics from crystal ball gazing and explained often by young planners or assistants eager to show their PPT at the drop of a GIS.

    The “new” bridge has 2 lanes eastbound. The “old” bridge had 2 lanes eastbound. Yeah. Forward thinking.

    And now the same wisdom from on high is talking about blasting new roads in the mountains above quiet neighbourhoods, through parks and watersheds and planning a gazzillion dollar shiny new bridge in the shadow of the other one…that has 2 lanes eastbound.

    Different dressing, same salad.

    What’s wrong with the plans I’ve seen (and I just heard about it a couple of days ago. Sorry, I don’t read local newspapers or have coffee at the Pepperpot every day) is a mentality of Big Hammer Solutions that win awards and recognition and have names put to bronze plaques and careers hustled into the fast lane with arms firmly clasped around shoulders from shady unknown suits lurking in the system.

    Most serious issue? No faith in public planners or policy makers who can’t count to 3 lanes of traffic. It may not be the same ones this time around but the cookies come out of the cutter pretty much the same every time until someone bends the cutter.

    God help us. The Planners are coming.

    R.I.P. Rose Valley Park, Rose Valley Reservoir, West Kelowna Estates, Rose Valley neighbourhood and the rest of West Kelowna.

  42. J

    I live in Tallus Ridge, approximately 200m from where the proposed highway would be. I think this is a detriment to the environment. The wildlife corridors that we have in our community that connect to a water source would be severed. This highway would also run right through what is now a regional park. How is this even being considered?
    I strongly oppose a “solution” to one problem that causes all new problems.

  43. Chris

    I will be extremely upset if RV or smith creek parks are disrupted for a hwy. very short sighted. Have the by pass go way around West Bank no yhrought two wonderful parks. I moved here to be closer to parks.

  44. Cat

    PEACHLAND is a beautiful little town. Twining the existing highway will turn it into another ugly highway kilometres long strip mall. I think that there is no other country IN THE WORLD that would put highways in on a beautiful lakeshore.
    A bypass MUST be created around Peachland for safety as so many people have identified so well and also to preserve the beauty of Peachland.

  45. Steven

    Public input/whining gets us a bunch of non-expert opinions. I’m not a traffic expert and neither is a single person here. Find the expert and ask them, then implement.

  46. Jill

    The biggest issue with the corridor are the lights. We need to lower the highway and create pass overs eliminating the lights.

  47. Gary

    I agree with those comments below regarding the NEED for a SkyTrain model of transportation – elevated rapid transit – from Westbank to Lake Country. Adding increased capacity for motor vehicles will only attract more vehicles and, within a decade or two, we will be in the same diffculty or worse.

  48. Sandra

    Rush hour traffic is the only time that there are serious problems. The backups are primarily from the bridge north to Gordon Drive. Alternative transportation such as park and ride sites to high density work destinations such as downtown, landmark centre and Orchard Park area would alleviate this problem.

  49. Nathaniel

    Future expansion of Kelowna and its districts will continue to put huge pressure on this single corridor. Overpasses won’t solve this problem either, just turn a beautiful city into a concrete jungle. Interchanges will break up West Kelowna and make it unlivable. The really only answer is for people who are travelling back and forth (the majority of people apparently), to get our of their cars/trucks. The city needs big foresight and to run light rail lines from the university all the way down beside the bridge and parallel to it down to West Kelowna and Westbank. Kelowna needs to embrace a clean technology and energy future.

  50. Amy

    Second bridge in Kelowna North/Knox mountain/Manhattan point is absolutely the WORST possible solution ! That would ruin downtown and parks!

  51. Jeannine

    That it has to go through protected parkland.

  52. Bill

    Build the 2nd Crossing from the Hwy 97/Connector/Interchange to cross Okanagan Lake and go in behind the Kettle Valley, Galagher’s Canyon and Kirschner Mountain subdivisions to cross Hwy 33 at Black Mountain and continue along those eastern benchlands to Oyama connecting with Hwy 97 at that point and then build the previously planned “Western Bypass” to take through traffic away from “Hospital Hill”, Vernon. That would help totally bypass West Kelowna and Kelowna and help Upper Mission residents not to go around , and they already desperately need a faster way to get to Kelowna anyways. It will also help Peachland, Summerland , Penticton etc residents to bypass West Kelowna and thus reduce congestion in Kelowna as well.

    DON’T build bridge that goes through through Kelowna ( Kelowna North). That will not solve any problem , but will actually make more congestion since that area is already heavily congested and there are lots of high density residential and commercial development going on . Clement Rd. will not be able to accommodate local and bridge traffic. You are wasting time on that proposition!

  53. Cameron

    The most serious issue is that the Ministry doesn’t care what the public says!

    So far there are 235 comments on this site-May3/2017 .
    None of them is in favor of building a bridge in Kelowna North !!!.
    Yet on March 29 ,2017 , both Kelowna Now and Castanet published and article stating the Ministry is going ahead with plans to build a bridge there.
    They have already spent millions of tax payers money in 2008 when they built an insufficient 5 lane ( show me a bridge in any of the civilised countries with odd number of lanes ! ) Why did they built such a bad project? Because they stole our money and put it in their pockets so they can justify another major expense. . So now, somebody needs more money from taxpayers , so they will build another bridge on totally wrong location so they can build another in 20-30 years and so on.
    Read these comments! They make sense!

  54. Michelle

    The most serious issue on the corridor plan that is presented is that it focusses on the present day travel patterns and in particular the single occupant vehicle. It does not fully take into account transit, biking or other alternative forms of transportation.

    Additionally, the design options presented bi-sects Kelowna, will hinder alternative transportation options, and is not innovative or visionary. I feel that there is no visionary options presented and therefore will not comment on the options as they stand today. I hope that this planning exercise will be reconsidered and looked at with a visionary, equitable and resiliency lens.

  55. Bob

    The current traffic situation in Kelowna and West Kelowna is a reflection of a total lack of planning over the past 100 years. No doubt the amount of traffic through Kelowna, across the bridge and through West Kelowna is the most serious issue at present, particularly in the summer. The volume of traffic causes most locals to avoid 97 and makes a trip through Kelowna and West Kelowna a major frustration. The fact that commercial development continues at key intersections along this corridor highlights the lack of planning that still exists. Options need to be provided to allow traffic to completely bypass Kelowna. The current report that has concluded that a second crossing in Kelowna’s north end is the best route A route that crossed in the south end and tied in on the other side of Peachland would be a far better option and would avoid West Kelowna completely

  56. Diane

    The biggest issue with the corridor is that both the large number of people going through Kelowna to another destination and those who live in the area or are wanting to visit the Kelowna area are all crammed onto the same main corridor. Just like Calgary developed a “ring road” for those who just want to get around the traffic mess and get to the other side, the Okanagan needs a similar option – a streamlined highway with minimal traffic lights and exits. Given our mountainous terrain, this would be difficult, but when you look at how they managed to widen the highway through rogers pass and build the connector to Merrit, the possibilities are there. One option might be a highway on the west side of Okanagan lake that connects Vernon to West Kelowna (or even better has the option to get off in west Kelowna but then continues around the northern outskirts of west Kelowna and westbank with exit options for the various communities (ie Shannon lake, glenrosa etc). A west Kelowna ring road would be challenging terrain for sure but could be a huge traffic relief long into the future, taking both the travellers wanting to go through the area without stopping and the commuters who lives in the communities off the main 97 stretch through west Kelowna).