Discussion 2 – Corridor Performance

Based on the material presented on this web site, is there anything that you feel the study team should know about the performance of the corridor that may have been overlooked?

22 responses to “Discussion 2 – Corridor Performance

  1. Westsider

    Westside Road needs an escape route in case of wildfire and in case Westside Road falls into Okanagan Lake again or in case the Native bands on either end of Westside Road decide block Westside Road again. This is real a safety concern for the approx. 2,500 residents living in the North Westside Road area. In 2009 residents were evacuated from the Terrace Mountain wildfire twice and some had to drive all the way around Okanagan Lake to the emergency evacuation center to seek instruction and help. We need an escape route in case of wildfire or if something were to happen to Westside Road again. I don’t think people will want to commute to work by ferry again. Its not good for the many lakeside rentals or for Lake Okanagan Resort and LaCasa resort of approx. 500 cottages at full build if something were to happen to Westside Road in the summer especially. With large trucks using Westside Road it would be better getting them off Westside Road asap instead of making large trucks travel the whole distance down Westside Road. I think a bridge is needed for people to get to Vernon and Kelowna from Westside Road, somewhere narrow along the Lake to make a cheaper crossing, and half way down the lake between Kelowna and Vernon … maybe the Vernon side of Lake Country if its narrow there?

    1. Mike

      Being a fisherman I had reason to drive Bear Creek Main recently. This has been used in the past as an escape route. If it needed to be used today it would be a disaster as the road from Jackpine Lake to Glen Rosa (I guess) is terrible, larger trucks would be OK, but heavily laden cars would break suspensions.

  2. Westsider

    With large trucks using Westside Road it would be better getting them off Westside Road via a bridge asap, instead of making large trucks travel the whole distance down Westside Road. I think a bridge is needed for people to get to Vernon and Kelowna faster from Westside Road, somewhere narrow along the Lake to make a cheaper crossing, and half way down the lake between Kelowna and Vernon … maybe the Vernon side of Lake Country if its narrow there?

  3. Juliet

    Do not add another major route through Kelowna. Quality of life, a healthy downtown, and important connections to Knox Mountain are at stake. Through traffic and commercial vehicles should be routed on the westside of Lake Okanagan. Businesses on Kelowna’s highway would see an increase in local patronage if the traffic volume created by through vehicles was alleviated.

  4. Downtown

    The beautiful downtown of Kelowna is at stake with the discussions regarding a potential second crossing of Okanagan Lake. Let’s not make the same error we made 60 years ago by building another highway through the downtown core of Kelowna! Instead, let’s consider investing in the future and focussing on more alternative transit options for those who use the bridge daily. If a second crossing is inevitable, let’s choose a bypass route that diverts cars, trucks and the inevitable building of strip malls and fast food chains outside of city limits.

  5. Christine

    The report does not detail environmental concerns related to private vehicle use (emissions, wildlife habitat destruction, water quality concerns), nor does it consider civic repercussions of land-use planning that privileges car culture over walkability and density. The report should also take into consideration the growth of alternative transportation, such as car sharing, cycling and public transit and how these could curb congestion.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. Serena

      I could not agree more. They keep saying that they want to increase ridership on our public transportation, but they are comparing our usage (or lack thereof) to that of areas such as Vancouver that use rail (skytrain, subway, etc.) as an integral part of their public transportation system. Adding a rail component to the Central Okanagan public transportation system (which, as you pointed out, we actually have somewhere to build now that the rail bed acquisition has gone through) would significantly increase ridership and decrease the highway congestion – this has already been proven by the increase in ridership after the RapidBus was introduced. As the studies conducted to date show, the majority of traffic is local commuter traffic so let’s build a fast, reliable public transportation system that people will actually want to use.

  8. Mike

    There needs to be a serious look at installing a Peachland bypass. You cannot cram more traffic through this community. Expanding the existing road to four lanes would be very damaging to Peachland. A bypass would provide LONG TERM benefit to commuters and the surrounding residents and the local economy

    1. Chris

      Right on Mike. A bypass around Peachland would allow the community to prosper and improve the quality of life for all residents. A bypass would also provide environmental benefits and address safety issues. Imagine the disruption to the town that a 2 to 3 year construction project would cause if the highway was expanded in place. Where would the traffic go?

    2. Serena

      After the number of traffic lights in Peachland tripled, with two new lights being installed only months apart, there have been days when the summer traffic backs up to the Highway 97C overpass and continues at a crawling pace until it passes the Princeton lights. I’m not suggesting that the lights weren’t needed for safety concerns, but adding two more lanes to the highway where it stands will not solve this issue – the traffic is still going to back up and be delayed by the lights, with the only feasible solution being removing the through-traffic from the equation.

    3. Sara

      I couldn’t agree more! The Peachland by-pass has got to be a reality … And soon! There have been many accidents in that area. In the summer, the traffic is at a stand still and only advancing at a crawl. Traffic must be diverted above the community of Peachland so that the community can prosper and traffic can be expedited. Tourism will actually increase in Peachland if the highway is diverted above peachland, as the community will be a much lovelier place to visit and live. The community businesses need not fear a bypass … I believe the community and economy of Peachland will flourish by having a by-pass … Not to mention the increased safety of the individuals driving along hey 97! A by-pass has got to happen and soon!

  9. Mike

    Pedestrian and bicycle safety – crossing the corridor at key, busy locations such as at north/south city active transportation corridors (Eg. Ethel, Houghton Rd), Orchard Park area, Gordon Dr (Capri), Richter.

  10. Tonia

    Knight rail transit and highway bypass

  11. John

    I think that the traffic demand modeling seems to be done consistent with normal practice. I think it is revealing that most of the traffic is local, although not surprising. It highlights that the high summer congestion reflects that the road network is near capacity much of the year, and as with any traffic flow system, it doesn’t take a lot of extra traffic to choke up the system.

    I hope that the team fully considers the extra travel demand that is generated when congestion is reduced. It is well known that when new road capacity is built, it often fills up faster than projections based on historic traffic volume growth. People do loudly complain about congestion. They also change their traffic demand as a result, choosing to stay local, rather than travel longer distances. Remove the congestion, and people will take more trips, quickly leading to the new roadway becoming congested.

    I think that the full discussion also needs to consider interjurisdictional issues. At present, the more we do to reduce congestion between Kelowna and West Kelowna, the more these jurisdictions will be poaching each other’s business, and as a result a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of cutbacks on taxes, and resulting cutbacks in the public services provided. Given how much of the traffic using the highway corridor is local in origin, it would seem incumbent on the provincial government to demand that the impacted jurisdictions come up with a cost sharing agreement for important local public goods and services (parks, events, facilities like stadiums, etc.) BEFORE providing provincial government funding. This could also be tied to climate change objectives, modal mix objectives, etc., with continuing provincial funding dependent on achieving such goals. Rather than the province paying for the infrastructure up front, the province should provide the regional district with a loan, and a schedule of provincial contributions to paying down the loan. If the targets are not met, or the interjurisdictional agreement is not abided by, then the provincial payments stop.

  12. Laura

    To the Moderator…I accidentally posted this as a “reply” to someone else’s response. Please delete that one, and post this one.

    Where as I, and many others, disagree with an expansion of 97 through Peachland, a Bypass around our town would DESTROY the quality of life for all the residents who live up the hill from the highway. Residents who chose to purchase their homes far away from the noise of the highway, in order to live in the peace and tranquility that abounds up above the small business centre of Peachland. There would be NO environmental benefits either, and if you were to traverse the wilderness above the residential areas up on the hill, you would know this for FACT. Many species of wildlife and plant life exist up in the mountains up above Peachland, historic trails abound up there as well as important streams and ravines that are all part of a habitat that would be completely endangered or ruined should a Bypass be allowed. We can no longer disregard our Wilderness just so others can get from point A to point B FASTER. I live up the hill in Peachland and I commute part time to Summerland for work, and I have seen my share of the ignorant, entitled, distracted drivers along 97, and moving them to a different route will not discourage them but rather give them a more open road to cause damage to life and property. How about that one driver who flicks his cigarette butt out the window along this magic Bypass…what happens then? A whole new area opens up and is RIPE for destruction for human caused fires. There is a group of us forming here in Peachland who are attempting to find an alternate to the 2 thought processes that we are being led to believe are THE ONLY choices. We need to be Stewards of our beautiful valley, to ensure that its beauty is protected from Urban Sprawl, and from making transport of people and goods as a priority. Encouraging Tourism and sustainable economic growth WITHOUT ruining our small towns is paramount to everyone leaving the beauty for future generations to enjoy.

  13. Nelson

    This is a terrible idea. The current bridge over the lake between West Kelowna and Kelowna should have been planned to anticipate the population/tourism growth. We got stuck paying for an over budget bridge with a huge hump, and 5 lanes. The sixth lane could have been used for emergency vehicles or when there’s a bad accident that takes a while to fix. Also, maintenance issues that close a lane or two would be better handled with that.

    I think if existing roads out of West Kelowna are expanded or put through the mountains then our ’emergency route’ issue could be put at rest. As for traffic issues, please look at what’s being proposed on the highway to ease congestion at the MOTI website before considering more ugly and expensive bridges that could cause environmental damage upon construction, demolition or disaster. I think the money should be spent elsewhere considering the state of our economy

  14. Russell

    I think it would be prudent to explore the question of how much each level of government including First Nations are willing to pay for transportation upgrades. We all benefit from improvements and should all contribute proportionately.

  15. Kelly

    The performance of the corridor is so poor because of decades worth of unchecked residential growth on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

  16. Sharon

    All the emissions from people driving from North Westside Road to Vernon would be cut if there was a bridge from the North Westside to Vernon. People from the North Westside Road area could work in Vernon or the other end of Kelowna which may help to populate Valley of the Sun so that our water rates are not so expensive too. Only about 55 properties at Valley of the Sun (half way between Kelowna and Vernon are developed out of 147 lots. Our water rates are expensive with only 1/4 of the possible property owners using the water system. If there were more properties on the water system, water rates would be cheaper for everyone. Also an escape route in case of wildfire or the native bands closing the road is also needed.

  17. Diane

    The last 2 km of Glenmore road going northbound into Lake Country is severely impacted by the traffic light where it reaches the highway – this is one of the worst traffic stretches in the Okanagan but is not being looked at on many of the maps and graphs because it is not technically the highway

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