MOTI and RDN using Village Way as pilot project for pathways

Vanessa Craig Director, Electoral Area B

Regional District of Nanaimo

Wednesday, February 27 2019

On February 22 I was fortunate to be joined by RDN Parks staff Wendy Marshall and Joan Michel to walk the proposed Village Pathway and to get an update on the project. (see above photo)

The idea of a pedestrian pathway through the village core was first formally developed in 2014, based on community input through open houses and public surveys. 

The creation of a safe pathway for people to move along North Road was repeatedly identified as a priority by residents. 

The issue is that, although municipalities have the ability to build within road rights-of-ways (ROWs), rural electoral areas do not. Addressing this inability means creating an entirely new model for how the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) operates in the Province. 

Since those initial drawings of what a village path could look like, engineering issues such as drainage and road maintenance, and who (RDN or MOTI) would be responsible for construction and maintenance of works in the ROW, have been topics of discussion. 

The project is now entering a new phase as these years of discussion are paying off. 

MOTI is now open to the concept of our Village Path project, and the RDN is promoting it as a pilot project for development of non-vehicular infrastructure in ROWs. 

This is a very exciting opportunity for Gabriola to finally have a safe and accessible pathway along the north side of North Road, stretching from the corner with South road, connecting businesses in the village core, Huxley Park, the school, seniors’ residences, and the entrance to the 707 Community Park across from Tin Can Alley. This pathway design emphasizes safety and water management, and maintains as many trees as possible along the route. 

The current design includes adding a 0.9-m asphalt paved area outside the fog line for bicycle use, then an asphalt curb, followed by a raised, 0.3-m gravelled area, and then a 2 m wide pathway. The curb and raised pathway will provide greater safety for pedestrians, as well as improved water management. 

The current plan follows the original vision as much as possible – using a paved path along the street where the majority of pedestrian traffic is expected (from the North/South road intersection to the Professional Centre), then switching to a mobility-friendly fine gravel path that meanders through the trees in front of the school and continues to Tin Can Alley. 

Next steps for this project include final approval of the design by MOTI and updated cost estimates for the project, including different types of surfacing for the paved parts of the path. 

If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to contact me at vanessa.craig@rdn.bc.ca

Vanessa Craig is the locally elected Director for Electoral Area B of the Regional District of Nanaimo, which includes Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy islands.