Discussion 3 – Congestion

What should be done to deal with congestion on the Highway 97 corridor?

36 responses to “Discussion 3 – Congestion

  1. Mike

    Very little. It is not that bad first of all (as compared to other centers). Congestion periods are short and off peak demand is easily accommodated leaving lots of additional capacity.
    Stronger, regular/ongoing investment in transit and the Central Okanagan Regional Active Transportation Network is required to shift demand to other modes. Increased capacity on the highway, on other corridors (eg. Clement bypass) and a second crossing will only be met with increased demand.

    Adding capacity to address demand is an old school model that has proven ineffective everywhere.

  2. Bill

    There is a very strong need for a second bridge crossing in Kelowna or close, Don’t wait until an accident on the floating bridge closes it for several hours and somebody needlessly dies by not reaching the hospital in Kelowna in time

  3. Ann

    Discourage suburban development, and provide transportation alternatives to the existing suburbs. Increasing capacity on Highway 97 will only result in increased use – if you make it easier to drive your car from the suburbs into Kelowna, then that’s exactly what people will do.

  4. Donald

    There is transit across the bridge, it gets stuck in the same traffic as private vehicles. They should move the multi use trail to the side of the bridge like on the Port Mann Bridge and add a 3rd lane eastbound, but make that lane an HOV lane. That would help the 97 bypass traffic (until it has to get into the left lanes to make its way to Queensway Exchange that is) and add capacity for carpoolers and motorcyclists.

    They also need to step up HOV enforcement through Kelowna. I do counts from time to time and observe 50-70% non compliance to the lane rules.

  5. Sara

    Highway 97 traffic is only going to increase. We can’t ignore it any longer. The city of Kelowna desperately needs a by-pass. Having Harvey as part of the main highway through the interior is ludicrous. It is unfortunate that better planning had not occurred years ago, but we can do a better job planning “now” for the future.

    The only by-pass that makes sense is to bypass traffic behind the airport east and above the city along the mountain ridge. This bypass would intersect hwy 33 and continue, meeting up with Myra canyon and behind Chute Lake until it reached penticton. Long term, the hwy could continue paralleling hwy 97 but being located East of penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos until it meets hwy 3 by the border. It would be a straight line from the airport down to the border on the east side of the interior cities.

    Congestion leads to frustration and frustration leads to accidents. We need a major highway that bypasses the interior stop lights, pedestrian crossings, tourists taking pictures, slower “in town” speed zones.

    Another bottleneck is in Peachland. A bypass needs to be put above that community towards the coquihalla.

    1. tim

      Build the highway 97 bypass starting in Trepanier through Glenrosa above Smith Creek /Tallus Ridge connecting on Westside rd.Build a second crossing to land on Clifton/McKinley landing area, or even Ok Centre area

  6. John

    I think that we need to consider how much congestion is really a problem. Congestion of motorized traffic leads people to stay local, choose alternatives, etc. The more efficient the road network is for motor vehicle traffic, the more people will choose to travel with motor vehicles. If we are genuinely interested in getting people to choose alternatives and reduce their climate change impact, we should be cautious about expanding road capacity.

    An alternative would be to put a toll lane on 97 from the end of the Okanagan Connector to north of Winfield. I’d make this the center lane, using transponder and licence photo recognition equipment such as for the Port Mann Bridge. Time sensitive traffic, such as trucking, etc., can pay the toll and use the lane. People who don’t pay the toll stay in the slower land. Keep the car pool lanes, with some stricter enforcement. Some jurisdictions even combine HOV and toll lanes, where the HOV lane is free for vehicles that have two or more occupants, and a toll is charged for other users.

  7. Cheri

    A second crossing or alternate route through or around Kelowna is desperately needed.
    Why is the other side of the lake not being considered?
    Being there is a huge national park that is not easily accessed and a road already in place why not continue the corridor straight through to Penticton?
    The traffic that does not have a destination of West Kelowna or Vancouver can completely avoid Kelowna, West Kelowna & Peachland easing the traffic flow considerably in these areas.

  8. Joshua

    As much as a east lake highway would be nice, the fact remains that the majority of the traffic originates within metro Kelowna and terminates within the metro. Most people want to buy a single family home, therefore expanding the suburbs and building more single family homes is what is going to happen predominately. By burying our heads in the sand and saying the problem will solve itself we are only pushing the solution further down the road, and at much higher cost. put hwy97 into a trench through Kelowna a la glenmore dr in Calgary. Six through lanes including hov with a collector distributor system on top at grade, but elevated directly above the cut with a centre gap between the elevated collectors to ventilate. This option puts through traffic on a grade separated freeway while maintaining access to all streets currently crossing Harvey. Rename Harvey blvd and Ogopogo Frwy. Cross section would look like this
    — —
    A rail option is still years in the future. This highway needs to be upgraded to modern freeway standard today. This option is the least intrusive in my opinion.

  9. Dianne

    Contributor Ann Jackson is very smart. We need to build up in Kelowna and not out, and in light of climate change, we need to imagine alternative public transportation systems. If we build roads and bridges, personal automobile use will be encouraged — so let’s not build them. We need instead to survey potential commuter and casual ridership from one end of the valley to the other and model future population growth Can light rail running the full length of the valley be an economical solution to meeting these needs? There’s nothing economical about a fleet of personal automobiles spewing carbon day in and day out!

  10. Nelson

    First of all, the HOV lanes in Kelowna are causing more traffic congestion issues than they solve. Secondly, we need to take away more lights on the West Kelowna side and replace them with on/off ramps (no left turn off) and turning circles on both sides like what’s been proposed for Westlake and Mt Boucherie Rd interchanges. Thirdly, we need a more robust public transportation system that actually makes sense and people would use. It takes too long to bus from West Kelowna to the other side of Kelowna or Vernon or Penticton.

  11. Dan

    Build a bypass route. Kelowna already has one identified – the Central Okanagan Multi Modal Corridor.

    Additional interchanges are also needed, like at the airport and at Glenmore/Beaver Lake Road and Highway 97. There is plenty of room at those locations. Why is the BC government dragging its heels to deal with this ridiculously overcrowded and quite unsafe organization of roads?! (referring to Glenmore and the Highway) Another reason for putting an interchange there is the big need for an alternate route to Highway 97 when there is an accident blocking that route. Right now Glenmore can’t handle it when it happens.

  12. Bryan

    Hwy 97 needs to be four lanes continuously, so the two lane around Peachland needs to be eliminated. It would seem that the cost of a second crossing would be immense, and would likely just end up going through another congested part of Kelowna, so why not build an alternate route from Kelowna to Penticton via the Chute Lake area? And continue to upgrade Westside Road, so that people wouldn’t be forced through Kelowna when they don’t want to go there? I don’t live in Kelowna, but do find myself travelling through now and then, and I always am glad when I’m out the other side.

  13. Brandon

    Solve the problem for the next Century.

    Build a by pass from the Okanagan connector Hwy 97c through Bear Creek Main FSR. Put a second bridge from Bear Main to the rail road in Kelowna they just removed and continue the by pass along that route to UBC. Elevate it if needed.

    Another by pass could be built starting at Hwy 97C that goes south to Antlers Beach by passing Peachland.

    “The Okanagan By Pass”

    1. Brandon

      This could be built with minimal disruption to the current system.

  14. Kevin

    Delete all of the traffic lights and replace with a few strategically placed off ramps/overpasses.
    ie: Rieds Corner, Leathead Rd, Hwy 33, Cooper Rd, Spall, Gordon Dr, Richter St., and Abbott St.

  15. Nick

    Yes, go ahead and fix the Okanagan and leave the 1960s two lane accident prone Trans-Canada bottleneck for all the traffic coming from Alberta. This is already full to capacity every summer weekend and can’t wait another 30, 40 or 50 years for you to deliver on the Kamloops to Alberta 4 laning promise. Heck, it is so busy that non-essential maintenance isn’t allowed in summer because there is too much traffic to single lane after 10 am on a weekday. Give it a few more years of traffic growth and that will apply to the shoulder seasons too. When are you going to do the maintenance then? Winter? Night? (really safe on a winding road with LOTS of heavy commercial vehicles driven by drivers many of whom don’t slow for construction signs).

  16. Russell

    I believe that there is no one solution. It is reassuring that it appears that all aspects of the problem are being considered.

  17. Kelly

    2nd crossing and completion of the rest of the bypass through to near UBC-O

  18. dennis

    Most large centres around the world are starting to build fewer and fewer bridges to accommodate vehicles in favour of more rapid transit systems.

    Personally, I can envision a raised rail system similar to Vancouver’s to move more people without having to be in a vehicle. Such a system could initially start with West Kelowna to the Kelowna downtown..then on to the University..and onto the Airport. When additional funding is available, I can envision a system that would eventually run from Penticton to Vernon.

  19. collin

    the reason for the current congestion is the planning not the capacity. Remove several of the cross streets across the highway, remove the cross streets from springfield and make it an express route to highway 33. Another big reason is the total lack of commercial development from the City of West Kelowna, all they want to do is build subdivisions for developers to increase the tax base so it just becomes one big subdivision where everyone needs to drive to Kelowna for work.

  20. paul

    Bypassing West Kelowna using an upper bench parallel to Westside Rd. to Vernon.

  21. Ken

    Proceed with the corridor options 1A and 2A that will link up with a future second crossing,

  22. Steve

    Transit people! Transit!

    I know it’s a dirty word anywhere out of the Lower Mainland. It took Vancouver 20 years to realize it’s better to hop on the bus than to drive.

    Outside the LM, the mentality is that one takes transit only because you can’t afford to drive or own a car….that’s it. Nothing else need be said. Just like Vancouver in the 1970s.

    Well wake up Gang. I can here the wailing all the way out the door…”It takes too long”. “I need my car at work (sure you do…yeah right)”. “What if I need to go shopping after work”. “What if someone talks to me on the bus!” Blah, Blah, Blah. It’s all been said a trillion times by people who whine about traffic.

    If you see the traffic jams heading to the bridge through you windshield…YOU are the problem.

    If we start packing the buses, PC politicians will stampede at the chance to improve transit to show how concerned they are for the planet. And maybe your pozer-wanna-look-like-a-rich-guy neighbour in their latest model leased car will realize the bus is the answer.

    Make driving less attractive and transit more acceptable to those too good to ever say they ride the bus. Do as little as necessary to get cars across the bridge and grease the bus system to make it a no brainer to get to work.

    C’mon. You can do it there Sunshine. Step away from the keys. That’s good! Just think…with the money you save riding transit, you can park a bigger shiny pickup in your driveway and not even have to feed it! Now, doesn’t that feel good.

    1. Pro

      Well said….Kelowna/Canada is so backwards in terms of transportation. Improving public transportation is desperately needed. Go to Europe and see what they do. You really don’t want to bother driving a car, suffering to find parking , which costs a fortune, when you can hop on a bus/metro (which comes every few minutes, not 20) and not spend half of your life commuting in your car!

  23. Chris

    More over-passes will help. Stop growing UP the mountains to reduce population growth in the valley. Build up, especially downtown. Look at more mass transit.

  24. Stallion

    Run frontage roads from Westside/Sneena thru to Gorman’s Mill with overpasses/interchanges as practical. Get rid of lites in Kelowna and add overpasses and improved thru frontage roads. This will get rid of local traffic and highway will be adequate for many years.

  25. Sharon

    Need to start syncronizing the Hwys traffic lights. A person shouldn’t have to stop at all the traffic lights all the way through Kelowna all the way onto the existing bridge. Its pathetic. The side roads onto the highway should be the ones stopping.

  26. Sandra

    1. An efficient park and ride public transportation system to areas with high density workers such as down town, landmark square and Orchard Park Area. 2. Through traffic lanes with no stopping between the bridge and Gordon Drive or Spall Road. 3. Development of the West Kelowna employment force to encourage people who live there to work and shop there so they won’t need to cross the bridge during rush hour traffic.

  27. Paula

    make park and ride available for patrons on the westside who would like to take the 97 express bus

  28. Jeff

    Open 1a, 2a and 3 make the most sense to us. This would be the best of both worlds in assisting with non-stop flow for through traffic and allowing for local traffic to more quickly navigate through the city too. It would solve the congestion along the highway all the way from the airport right to the bridge. It’s great that this solution can be built in stages vs all at once which would cause chaos. To be able to have 3 lanes going each way non stop sure would be amazing.

  29. Derek

    Eliminate the HOV Lane. What an ineffective incumbrance to traffic flow and embarrassment to both the city and Highways. Kelowna is not a major metropolis that supports significant industry or businesses that employ a high volume of employees going to and from work collectively!

    I spend a great deal of time daily up and down Harvey due to my job, and regardless of how optimistic I try to feel about the current right hand HOV Lane, anyone who monitors the traffic all the time can see that it inhibits the flow of traffic, constantly challenging the entry and exit of vehicles onto the Highway. Kelowna isn’t Vancouver (no, really).

    1. Matt

      How does a lane with fewer occupants inhibit entry and exit onto the highway?
      It’s really not a problem to turn into the lane, and then merge out onto a non HOV lane, or vice versa. The problem comes from high occupancy due to non HOV vehicles illegally using the lanes.

  30. Bob

    Interchanges/overpasses at all the major intersections are the most obvious solution and limiting or eliminating on/off access to commercial properties from 97. Nowhere in the report do I see a discussion of the use of road or bridge tolls. A lot of the traffic on the bridge is people who have chosen to buy cheaper properties in West Kelowna, Peachland and surrounding areas and then complain about the bridge traffic.
    Also, the existing configuration of the HOV lanes on the right hand side render them next to useless due to right turning traffic to all the businesses along 97. The HOV lanes should be the center or left lanes

    1. Matt

      most cities use HOV lanes on the outside lanes for buses, and merging.
      HOV lanes on the inside lane only makes sense on freeways

  31. Glen

    One word. Overpasses. That is all.

Comments are closed.