A significant portion of the action plan is reconfiguring 100 Street and 100 Avenue to tame traffic and improve pedestrian mobility.
Joaquin Karakas is a design engineer from Modus Planning and is playing a critical role in the development of the city’s vision.
He says an important aspect of the reconfiguration is widening the downtown core and tightening the roads, while still constructing alternative routes for drivers looking to get in and out of Fort St. John.
“What are the alternative route options that will be more convenient for folks who are traveling from, say the airport to the highway, and guess what? There is a pedestrian oriented downtown in the way…We know and acknowledge the importance of vehicle travel in this community…” Karakas goes on to say. “We need to accommodate the car in the downtown in a way that creates easy, convenient access and movement to, from, through and within the downtown, while also creating transportation choice for others; creating a vibrant, attractive and comfortable pedestrian line.”
There’s also discussion surrounding the creation of a ‘village street’ on 101 Avenue, as well as linked gathering spaces, both public and private.
Karakas acknowledged the need to fill pot holes and maintain snow removal, but says that “does not need to be at the expense of investment.”
Tony and Sara Warriner from the Evangel Church are also part of the downtown action team. They purchased a lot on 140 – 100 Street in November of 2013, still in the process of a $1,000,000 renovation.
They both say they’re excited to play a role in the new pedestrian friendly downtown core.
“We don’t plan to just have church on Sunday; we want to fill that building every day of the week,” Mrs. Warriner said. “We want to have kids and families in there and that’s going to really change the dynamic on the street.”
Mr. Warriner says the city is lacking ‘3rd places’, referring to your home as the ‘1st place’, work as your ‘2nd place’, and the 3rd being a place where you can interact socially with other community members.
That’s why they’re hoping to transform the church into something that resembles more of a community centre.
“We have Whole Wheat and Honey but we need more places like that in the downtown core,” Mr. Warriner said.
If you missed your chance and want to learn more, keep an eye out for the city Canada Day booth during the celebrations on July 1.