February Project Update
We are pleased to announce the interim Agnes Street Greenway is now officially open! There is some remaining signage to be installed – including directional wayfinding – but the route is safe to use and the temporary barriers have now been removed. We invite all New Westminster residents to get out and ride, walk or roll along the interim Agnes Street Greenway.
An online community survey, accessible through this site, will be launched in February, 2021 to collect feedback from Agnes Street residents and other community members about their experience using the interim Greenway. The survey will also be an opportunity to provide your comments on how you would like the permanent design to look. An online open house is planned for late February. Stay tuned to this page for the latest information on engagement opportunities.
We want to thank everyone for the comments, questions, and suggestions since we launched the design process. It is important to acknowledge that we are in the beginning stages of the Greenway’s design process. We understand that the interim Greenway construction resulted in changes to how you may use the street. The interim Greenway was built to find out how all road users use the space and to address your concerns before the permanent infrastructure is built.
We have received dozens of questions on this site, through email and by phone. Many of the questions and comments have revolved around three key themes, which have been summarized below.
1. Public transit routing
In response to early concerns raised about transit changes and accessibility, we worked with TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company to revise the eastbound re-routing for route #105. Route #105 now uses northbound Fourth Street and continues eastbound along Royal Avenue, before resuming its existing routing northbound along Second Street. A new bus stop has been implemented on Fourth Street at Agnes Street to replace the previous stop on Agnes Street at Fourth Street. With this adjustment, people will still be able to reach the area of Agnes Street at Fourth Street from New Westminster and Columbia Stations by bus.
Eastbound route #103 travels along Carnarvon Street and continues northbound on Elliot Street before continuing on its current route east of Elliot Street.
These two routes provide additional choices for how residents can travel through the neighbourhood by transit. Westbound transit routes remain unchanged for both routes for the interim design.
We understand that the new #105 routing affects those who used to travel to Uptown from the eastern end of Agnes Street. The changes to transit routing are being monitored and we will continue to work closely with TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company on long-term solutions for this neighbourhood, with a strong focus on accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities.
2. One-way streets and on-street parking
We acknowledge the installation of the interim greenway has meant a significant change for many residents living along Agnes Street. With the addition of the Greenway, there is not enough space to accommodate on-street parking on both sides of the street and vehicle traffic in both directions. As a result, we have tried to balance the needs for access and parking along the corridor.
Vehicle traffic has been changed to one-way westbound for the two blocks between Merivale Street and Sixth Street. This change provides the space needed to accommodate dedicated cycling facilities while also retaining on-street parking on both sides of the street in those blocks. For residents on Agnes Street traveling east to their homes, Royal Avenue or Carnarvon Street may be used to travel to the block where the resident lives.
Two-way vehicle travel has been maintained on the remaining portions of Agnes Street and adjoining streets to ensure residents and visitors can reach their destinations, including Qayqayt Elementary School.
Although the Downtown Transportation Plan recommends making Fourth Street one-way southbound, we have decided to put these plans on hold due to concerns raised about transit service to the Agnes Street area.
During the planning process we have taken into consideration both parking and vehicle travel needs. On-street parking on both sides of the street has been maintained for much of the corridor, except on one block between Sixth Street and Seventh Street and two blocks between Merivale Street and First Street. The single-sided parking was necessary to allow for two-way vehicle travel and to maintain access for transit.
We are committed to listening to all feedback on the interim Greenway and are open to making adjustments where possible, including further changes to parking regulations.
During the engagement process we will ask residents for feedback on how best to balance the need for vehicle traffic and on-street parking to better understand community priorities. The feedback will be considered as the project team develops the permanent design.
3. Interim vs permanent design
The Agnes Greenway is in the first phase of the design process. The interim Greenway has been constructed through a ‘quick-build’ process using low cost, temporary design elements. The City has envisioned the Agnes Greenway for more than a decade and consulted with community members about the project during several larger planning processes, including the Downtown Community Plan and Downtown Transportation Plan.
To fully understand the real-life implications described in the planning processes and documents, the City decided to build the interim Greenway and use it as an engagement tool during the design process. Think of the interim Greenway as a real-life mock-up of the planning documents. This approach gives community members the opportunity to experience Agnes Street changes and to provide informed feedback based on their experience about how the greenway can be improved for all road users.
The interim Greenway also allows the project team to collect data and observations and make adjustments easily before a permanent design is finalized and constructed. We anticipate construction on the permanent design to begin in late 2021.