A multi-year concept to modernize a busy street in Dead Man’s Flats is set to begin planning during the MD of Bighorn’s 2024 budget discussions.
Council is expected to review connecting a sidewalk on the north side of 2nd Avenue from Copperstone Resorts to River’s Bend Gate, engage with south side commercial property owners for funding discussions on improvements, and look at adding pedestrian lights at the 2nd Street and 2nd Avenue intersection as part of its budget planning.
“This is a big package with lots of plans in the works,” said Reeve Lisa Rosvold. “I just want us to make sure we’re being cognizant of the development pressures that are happening on 2nd Avenue and for the development community of that area to really understand that this is the direction that we see 2nd Avenue going.”
The plan aims to identify the long-term requirements for the roadway, including the number of lanes, sidewalks, landscaping sites, access locations, and land requirements.
At its Oct. 10 meeting, council reviewed proposed changes to the plan based on public feedback at an open house in June.
CAO Shaina Tutt said accepting the changes allows administration to explore upgrades and associated costs in upcoming budget talks, but it won’t delay development along the roadway – current or future.
“These projects are going to be municipally backed projects that we’re budgeting for, again, as we go through the next series of eight weeks of meetings,” she said.
The June open house was attended by 36 people and received 16 written responses with feedback. Most of the written responses suggested residents were comfortable with exploring the changes as proposed, but there were concerns with parking capacity, lighting and bumping up the speed limit from 30 km/h to 40 km/hr.
After further discussions with the streets and roads committee, it was recommended the current speed limit remain.
Recommendations also advised against proceeding with the installation of lighting and paving for a trail between River’s Bend Gate and Pigeon Creek Condominiums, and to have administration prepare an implementation plan to execute the remaining 2nd Avenue streetscape enhancements.
The inclusion of lighting is part of the existing concept and will be further elaborated as plans advance.
The municipality previously rejected a proposal from Copperstone to construct and manage parking on the 3rd Avenue loop road right-of-way. The MD rejected the proposal due to concerns private parking on the public road would be legally challenging to enforce and that it would set development expectations for future projects.
“Private property owners should not be permitting and collecting revenues for parking on public roadways,” a staff report further noted.
“Alternatively, planning is in the process of preparing a consultation program to create public parking. The MD would then have the option to collect the parking revenues and would be in complete control of the situation.”
In response to community requests in 2019, the MD conducted a review of pedestrian safety and traffic calming options along 2nd Avenue. In 2021, council approved funds for a gravel trail on the north side of 2nd Avenue and for further exploration of permanent solutions.
The streets and roads committee initiated discussions for stage one planning in 2022 and later that year, the MD, in collaboration with CIMA+, began exploring various options for 2nd Avenue, including increasing the speed limit, developing a lit asphalt trail along the roadway east of Pigeon Creek Condominiums as a potential solution for extending a sidewalk to River’s Bend Gate.
Other suggestions included erecting a sidewalk on the north side of 2nd Avenue, running in front of Pigeon Creek Condominiums, stretching between 3rd Street and the suggested lit asphalt trail, as well as installing flashing pedestrian lights and a crosswalk and offering further consideration for the potential expansion of the sidewalk to the west of 2nd Avenue.
The concept plan will enable the MD to assess expenses associated with the enhancements. It also aims to foster cooperation between the MD and developers to incorporate upgrade construction into future projects.
“It gives us the direction we need to continue moving forward with revamping the streetscape,” said Tutt.
By Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Oct 18, 2023 at 14:57