BY RYAN WELLICOME
The City’s proposed main street improvement plan was presented to business owners and the general public at a meeting Tuesday, held at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
Attendees of the presentation offered the City feedback regarding some of their concerns; feedback that the City was looking for.
“We had an opportunity to present the plan and receive some comments in an open forum and we had the opportunity to break away into smaller groups after the presentation. Members of the public, from what we heard last night, were very helpful and we are grateful for their comments,” said Engineering Services Manager Jordan Thompson.
“Certainly those (concerns) will be incorporated, where they can be, into the final plan.”
The majority of concerns were centred around the crosswalk addition that the plan proposes.
It proposes that a crosswalk be added on 50th Ave. approximately 20m before the intersection with Hwy. 2A, that runs perpendicular to (directly across) 50th Ave.
It is proposed that the new crosswalk be accompanied by a set of flashing pedestrian lights.
The current crosswalk at the intersection of 50th Ave. and Hwy. 2A, running parallel to the highway, would be removed.
Concerns were voiced regarding the proposed crosswalk’s proximity to the three existing crosswalks at 50th St. Some residents believe it could create more congestion on 50th Ave.
Other concerns regarded the plan’s proposal to make 50th St. one way, travelling north. Some residents believe it will create more inconvenience for commuters travelling to the downtown core from the north.
The City’s goal is to increase parking and add sidewalk space to 50th St. to accommodate more foot traffic and create a greater “pedestrian experience.”
According to the City, changes to 50th St. are not part of the plan for construction currently set in place.
Other proposed changes to infrastructure include the closure of access to 49th St. from 50th Ave., the addition of rounded sidewalk bulges at crossings along 50th Ave., new decorative functional street lamps along 50th Ave. and possibly an entrance feature to the downtown core on 50th Ave. at 53rd St.
The project is still in its design phase until this fall, at which time the plans could become finalized.
The development plan was created following the City’s discovery that the downtown’s sanitary sewer main is in need of replacement due to its deterioration. As the main runs under 50th Ave., excavation must be done, regardless.
”Understanding that doing (this) kind of construction – excavating a road – has a significant impact to the downtown, an impact on the downtown business community, impact to those who shop downtown and an impact to those who travel through downtown, what we want to do is ensure we have a plan that addresses what could be done at the same time to mitigate future impact,” said Thompson.
“What we can do in terms of pedestrian improvements and what can we do in terms of infrastructure improvements.”
The City is currently conducting surveys to encourage more feedback from the public.
Additional information and surveys can be found by visiting www.lacombe.ca.