Around five kilometres of sidewalks could be built over the next five years, according to the draft Transportation Master Plan to be presented to council at an upcoming meeting.
The plan, which looks at all the ways residents get around town, suggests around a dozen sidewalk improvements to be considered short-term priorities.
The largest of those suggested projects (which don’t include suggested improvements within Abbotsford’s city centre or four urban centre neighbourhoods) is envisioned for Laburnum Avenue, south of Robert Bateman secondary school.
Other major stretches include:
- Bevan Avenue and Bevan Crescent, east of Emerson;
- Cardinal Avenue between Blue Jay Street and Mt. Lehman Road;
- Blueridge Drive at Townline Hill Park;
- King Road and Riverside Road.
Several high-priority projects have sidewalks on one, but not both sides of the road, forcing pedestrians to cross busy thoroughfares in order to walk safely. The King/Riverside area, meanwhile, includes no sidewalks neither at an intersection used by those walking to the Riverside shelter, nor near a popular place for parking during events at the University of the Fraser Valley.
The high-priority projects do not entirely line-up with rating scores given each stretch of road with required improvements. Some high-priority projects rated a moderate scores, while others with figures suggesting the need for more-immediate improvements are slated for long-term upgrades.
The plan, however, is still in its draft stages. Council can choose to alter it prior to adoption, or at anytime thereafter.
The draft plan asks the city to “consider increasing funding for new sidewalks” to close the gap between infrastructure for motorized vehicles and pedestrians. Spending $500,000 a year will yield about 30 kilometres of new sidewalks over the next 25 years. Boosting that to $700,000 would result in the construction of about 40 kilometres of sidewalks.
The City of Abbotsford is hosting an open house regarding the draft master plan for transportation and transit, as well as other new plans for its utility systems, on April 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Clearbrook Library.