Stewart Ave Complete Streets Corridor Study

Each year the City’s Transportation Group works with engineering consultants to develop functional corridor plans for roadways. These strategic projects follow the goals and objectives of the City’s Transportation Master Plan. As part of the City’s strategic planning process, the 5-year Capital Plan identifies these projects and, where possible, combines projects of similar scope and location for cost, time and work efficiencies

The Stewart Avenue Complete Streets corridor plan is one such project. The City retained a nationwide consulting firm to develop a corridor plan that will incorporate a section of Waterfront Walkway that shares space on Stewart Ave. This plan aims to increase the safety and comfort for people who walk, bike, take transit and drive.

The Complete Street concept will provide a comprehensive design that:

  • Ensures comfortable and effective mobility for people of all ages and abilities;
  • Improves safety, especially for those walking, cycling, or taking transit; and
  • Enhances public amenities in the corridor, makes the streetscape more inviting and provides connection to other trails.

The following is a rendering of one possibility where the Waterfront Walkway integrates with Stewart Ave at Cypress St.

Cypress Street / Waterfront Walkway section

Public Engagement

Public engagement is on hold while the City responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is some potential the project maybe delayed for two years or more. Up to date information will be shared here as it comes available. 

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  • Progress

    * The construction of the Stewart Ave Complete Streets project will likely be deferred by a year or more as Council re-prioritizes projects as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19. 

    April 2020:  Phase 1, when complete, will provide a functional corridor plan which is anticipated to be complete in the Fall/Winter 2020. Two options are being proposed. One would include uni-directional bicycle lanes on either side of the street, while the other would have a bi-directional bicycle facility on the east side of Stewart Ave.  Drawing of each option is provided under the “Details” tab.

    A virtual preview is being prepared so residents and stakeholders can provide their valuable input into the proposed concept development.

    Check back often for updates.



  • Documents
    Stewart Ave Street sign

    Planning Documents

    Council, staff, and residents are becoming more supportive with Complete Streets principles and have recently completed a Draft Complete Streets Guide with the intent of creating a greener, sustainable, and multi-modal network that accommodates and moves people as well as motorists.

    In June 2019, following stakeholder and public consultation, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) released the BC Active Transportation Strategy and the BC Active Transportation Guide

    In 2014, Nanaimo’s City Council approved the Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan (NTMP), which included recommendations to create Complete Street standards and to expand the cycling network. Included within the Master Plan, Stewart Ave (from Terminal Ave to BC Ferries (BCF) Departure Bay Terminal) has been selected for these improvements.  

    Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan

    • The City of Nanaimo “OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN BYLAW 2008 NO. 6500” (planNanaimo), was adopted in September 2008. Within this Official Community Plan (OCP), Goal Seven and the development of neighborhood plans, as critical to achieving the objectives of the OCP. By working with stakeholder groups, the Brechin Newcastle Neighbourhood Plan was arrived at and was adopted by City Council in May 2016.


    Some technical consultation has taken place with MoTI and BC Ferries, which has shaped the concept development to date. Managing ferry overflow requirements, while maintaining all types of vehicle traffic are just a few of the obstacles to overcome with the two functional design options.

    Public consultation will begin when the project is re-initiated in the future.


  • Details

    The Stewart Avenue Complete Streets project is broken down into two phases.

    Phase 1 is to complete (Fall 2020) the conceptual corridor plan with cross sections that will fit between the existing curb lines.

    Phase 2 is to complete (winter 2020/ 2021) a detailed design of the corridor to work out the fine details. Phase 2 is on hold until further notice.

    Three different cross sections (a 15-metre, a 17-metre and a 19-metre) currently exist along the Stewart Ave corridor and the consultant will be developing a consistent cross section for the entire length of the road. The figures below show possible options for this, showing a uni-directional bike facility and bi-directional bike facility around the Stewart Ave / Townsite Rd intersection.

    Uni-directional concept:

    unidirectional bicycle lanes

    Bi-directional concept:

    bi-directional concept

    As part of the virtual open house, stakeholders will be able to provide comments or have questions answered about each of the concepts.

    Stay tuned for more information and engagement opportunities.


  • Background

    Stewart ave Ferry terminal

    Stewart Ave is part of the Trans Canada Highway and is under the jurisdiction of BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Only 700 metres north of Downtown Nanaimo, Stewart Ave follows the coastline and connects to BC Ferries Departure Bay Terminal. Stewart Ave provides vital links to other parts of the city and Vancouver Island via Stewart Ave to the south and Highway 19A (Brechin Rd) to the north. Stewart Ave has two travel lanes in each direction with some parking on both sides. 

    Stewart Ave also separates the residential neighborhood from the waterfront. Its flat topography supports active transportation, however there are five uncontrolled mid-block crosswalks along the two-kilometre corridor. The length of the crosswalks makes it difficult for pedestrians to judge the speed of approaching vehicles and to cross quickly and safely.

    Currently, RDN Transit runs the #20 and the #25 buses along the corridor. The #20 in an inbound/outbound bus with stops along the east and west side of Stewart Ave, while the #25 is an inbound ferry shuttle and operates on an infrequent schedule.


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