Georgia Avenue is now being made in a Slow Street. A Slow Street has minimal traffic volume and speed so that people can walk, wheel, and bike safely.
Why a Slow Street on Georgia Avenue?
The Georgia Greenway project is meant to implement directives from the 2013 Harewood Neighbourhood Plan, the Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan, and the Official Community Plan. Phase 1 of the Georgia Greenway (Harewood Centennial Park) was finished in 2019. Phase 2 was not originally planned to start this year. However, when the Covid 19 pandemic began, Nanaimo City Council voted to create a Slow Street on Georgia Avenue starting immediately, to make it easier for people to stay active and choose walking, wheeling and cycling during this challenging time.
How is the City making the Slow Street happen?
The City has been able to make this project happen by reallocating funds from other projects, and by using low-cost, temporary "tactical urbanism" style improvements. This allows the City to make projects happen more quickly, and to test out measures to make sure they are a good fit before investing in making them permanent.
All of the improvements proposed for Georgia Avenue this year can be built upon in the future.
Stop Sign Reversal at Georgia Avenue and Nova Street
Currently there are stop signs placed along Georgia Ave at the intersection of Georgia and Nova. The stop signs are going to be switched such that they are placed along Nova Ave instead. This will improve flow along Georgia Ave and give priority to pedestrians and cyclists. The simple graphic below demonstrates this change.
To help ease the transition for road users, the intersection will go from only having stop signs along Georgia Ave, to becoming a four-way stop (stop signs on both Georgia Ave and Nova St) for two weeks, and then finally to only having stop signs along Nova St.
Complete Streets and Georgia Greenway
Complete Streets refers to transportation guidelines and design approaches that support safe and comfortable travel for users of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation. The Georgia Greenway supports Complete Streets guidelines. While Phase 1 was mostly an off street multi-use trailway, Phase 2 will be much more involved with existing streets and therefore takes Complete Streets guidelines more strongly into account. Want to know more about Complete Streets and how the City of Nanaimo is working to develop our own Complete Streets Guidelines? Check out the project web page at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/CompleteStreets.
The proposed active transportation route was first identified in the 2013 Harewood Neighbourhood Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan includes an Urban Design Framework that is intended to provide overall direction and help guide future development within Harewood. The neighbourhood bikeway is one of the key strategies identified in the plan. The plan states that:
The Georgia Greenway is also supported by the Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan, the Harewood Centennial Park Master Plan, and the Official Community Plan.
Our goal is to create a comfortable experience for users of all ages, abilities, and confidence level by incorporating a variety of pedestrian and cycling facilities such as multi-use pathways, traffic calmed local streets, and improved road crossings. Doing so has the benefit assisting in lowering vehicle speeds in the area making the neighbourhood more welcoming and comfortable for all users.