Front Street Transportation Improvements Project

The Front Street Transportation Improvements Project aims to increase the safety and comfort for people who walk, bike, take transit, and drive along one of Nanaimo's key downtown road corridors.  The project focuses on active transportation opportunities but will also enhance on-street parking and overall comfort for motorists.

Front Street Cycle Concept Image 1Concept rendering of project prepared by McElhanney

Some key components of the project include:

  • Nanaimo's first two-way protected cycle track,
  • Shortened pedestrian crosswalks,
  • A new elevated crosswalk near the Nanaimo Law Courts,
  • A new pedestrian crosswalk near the transit exchange,
  • Reducing the number of vehicle travel lanes to two (one in each direction),
  • Creating new on-street parking stalls
  • Closing the right turn lane at the intersection of Church Street,
  • New and improved transit stops,
  • New asphalt paving and road markings,
  • Upgrades to electrical hardware at the signalized intersections, and 
  • Overall traffic calming, improved visibility and reduced speed limits.


The Front Street cycle track is one of the short-term cycling priorities identified in the Nanaimo Downtown Mobility Hub Project. The Downtown Mobility Hub Project defined several short-term priorities that could be constructed in the next 5 years, which will advance the vision of an integrated downtown transportation network that safely and comfortably accommodates pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, goods movement, and motorists.

To learn more, check out


Want to Know More?

Check out the project map and other additional information under the tabs below.  Or contact:

  • Kurtis Noble, Capital Project Management Specialist
  • Email:  Phone: (250) 756-5330
  • Progress

    Originally scheduled for construction in summer of 2020, the project has been delayed in part due to COVID-19 as well as technical challenges discovered through the early stages of engineering design work.  These challenges include how to provide improvements to the aging electrical infrastructure at several of the signalized intersections. Taking the necessary time to resolve these issues will help facilitate safer movements at the signalized intersections for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.   

    Tendering and construction work will commence late 2020 / early 2021 with an anticipated completion late Spring 2021. 

  • Documents
  • Details

    Project Map

    Click on the image below for a map that shows the preliminary details of the proposed improvements.

    Front Street Project Map

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q1. Why was the east (water) side selected for the cycle track?

    A1. There were several factors in this decision:

    Safety: There are fewer driveways and intersections on the east (water) side of Front Street, which offers reduced potential for conflicts between cyclists, motor vehicles, and pedestrians.

    Connections: The east (water) side of Front Street offers easier and more direct connections to Maffeo Sutton Park, Pearson Bridge, the harbour wharf, and the Transit Exchange.

     Parking: The smallest number of parking stalls are impacted as compared to either a cycle track on the west side or protected bicycle lanes on both sides.

    Q2. How will parking be affected?

    A2. On-street parking will be eliminated on the east side of Front Street between Chapel Street and Church Street.  This change will be offset by the creation of additional on-street parking in suitable locations on the west side of Front Street between Church Street and Port Place Centre.

    Q3. How will transit be affected?

    A3. Existing transit stop locations within the project area will generally be the same as they are today.  Transit stops on the east side of Front Street that are adjacent to the new cycle track will include ‘floating bus stops’.  In this design, the bus will stop at a raised concrete island, and the cycle lanes will detour behind the island and between the island and the pedestrian sidewalk.  This design provides a protected space for cyclist to bypass both buses and passengers while they load and unload the bus.  The crossing between the sidewalk and transit island will be the same elevation to allow for easy crossing for bus users and to slow down cyclists.  The crossings will include walking surface indicators used to alert passengers, and particularly passengers with visual impairments, that they are approaching an area that is used by a different mode (ie the cyclists).  Floating transit stops are the preferred treatment for transit stops along corridors with bicycle facilities according to the BC Active Transportation Guide. See example picture below.

    floating bus stop example

    Q4. What is a Mobility Hub?

    A4. A mobility hub is a concentrated area of activity including employment, housing, recreation, and shopping interconnected with multimodal transportation options. Complete, compact communities focused around mobility hubs are more sustainable as they reduce reliance on personal vehicles. The 2014 Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan identifies seven mobility hubs in the City, including downtown.


    Complete Streets + Front Street Cycle Track

    Complete streets refers to transportation guidelines and design approach that supports safe and comfortable travel for users of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation. The Front Street Cycle Track supports Complete Streets guidelines.

    Want to know more about Compete Streets and how the City of Nanaimo is working to develop our own Complete Streets Guidelines?  Check out the project web page at


    Project Renderings

    Concept renderings of the proposed improvements prepared by McElhanney


    Image 11

    Image 10

    Image 03

    Image 23



  • Background

    Some historical photos of Front Street courtesy of Nanaimo Community Archives.


    Commercial Front St

    View From Malaspina Hotel



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