The streets within the City of Nanaimo have not changed significantly in previous decades. Getting around by automobile is relatively easy, while travelling on foot, by bicycle, or by transit has not been as safe, comfortable and convenient. While that was not an issue previously, a growing number of people’s transportation preferences are changing, whether by choice or necessity.
Where traditionally, younger generation may have left cities such as Nanaimo for larger urban centers, today, younger generations are seeking locations with more affordable housing, that still provide the amenities they are familiar with in larger cities. Complete streets are just one part of the equation to enhancing the livability of the City. The intent is to provide safe accessible transportation choices for everybody in the community, no matter their choice of mode.
If Nanaimo can better compete with other cities, it can attract a population that will help it thrive in the future
In 2014, Nanaimo’s City Council approved the Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan (NTMP), which included a recommendation to revise the Manual of Engineering Standards and Specification and the Bicycle Design Guidelines. Within this NTMP document, “Complete Streets” was referenced over 30 times, and Nanaimo was listed as one of the earlier adopters on the Complete Streets Canada website.
The NTMP vision states:
"Nanaimo’s multi-modal transportation system will connect the City’s residents and businesses to each other, the rest of Vancouver Island and beyond. It will provide inclusive transportation choices that are safe, comfortable, and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. A system of interconnected facilities and services will provide affordable mobility while supporting a shift towards a more sustainable mix of transportation alternatives. The transportation network will seek to create and support a vibrant, livable, healthy and sustainable community for residents, businesses and visitors alike."
The Complete Streets Design Guideline and the City's updated Engineering Standards will be one part of the solution to achieve the above vision.