Options to meet future mobility needs will need to take into account a wide range of considerations, including those listed below:
Congestion Reduction Techniques
There is more to congestion reduction than building more roads. Great strides have already been made to help address congestion through improved transit, support for car-pooling, cycling and walking.
Land Use Impacts
Any transportation improvements should, as much as possible, be integrated with existing and planned future land use. Review of official community plans and ongoing stakeholder engagement are essential.
- Air Quality and Emissions: In 2007, the B.C. Government set a bold target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia by 33 per cent by 2020. Some of this reduction will come from cleaner fuels, but some will also come from reducing congestion-related idling, and reducing our dependency on the single-occupant vehicle.
- Habitat: The balance of human interaction with nature is often a delicate one. Plants, animals and fish require consideration and protection.
While the economy of the Central Okanagan is currently strong, future transportation improvements need to ensure that this strength is enhanced and not jeopardized. We will work closely with local governments and business organizations in this regard.
The Highway 97 corridor through the Central Okanagan is part of the National Transportation System. However, it is not a primary through route for goods movement and the majority of traffic is regional. Nevertheless, future plans need to support the movement of goods into and out of the area.
Tourism, Recreation & Health
With the increasing importance of tourism to the Central Okanagan, the corridor of the future must do more than provide safe and efficient travel and access to services. It must also support visitors and residents alike in their desire to view and experience savour the boundless natural beauty and recreational opportunities in the area.
Any improvements to the corridor, including route changes, will occur with consideration of community impacts. Communities must remain accessible, there must be consideration of visual impacts, and noise impacts must also be taken into account. Public and stakeholder consultation will be essential in assessing and avoiding or mitigating such impacts.
Heritage & Archaeology
Engagement is ongoing with the Westbank First Nation and the Okanagan Indian Band to identify and address matters of heritage and archaeology, as well as current and future economic opportunities and development.
Affordability & Cost
The study will provide cost estimates to be applied in a business case that will be required to assess the feasibility of significant initiatives.
Consideration of past studies (local & provincial), including possible crossing locations, bypasses etc.
It is not necessary to re-do valuable past work. Wherever possible, past studies will be applied in the current study and updated as necessary.