The City of Nanaimo has begun detailed design work for downtown streets.

The city announced, in a news release this week, that it has completed a “functional design draft” for the commercial street reconstruction and has begun detailed design work for the first phase of construction.

“In order to elevate this exciting project to the next level, we have assembled a design team that includes civil engineers, landscape architects, and electrical engineers,” notes the city’s project website.

The first phase of construction will be the commercial section from the Great National Land to the intersection of Bastion Street, and is scheduled to begin early next year.

One notable aspect of the design, as mentioned earlier, is the removal of constraints.

“Flow barriers provide flexibility to the street to accommodate a wider range of settings, activity spaces and uses,” the draft functional design document noted, adding that they also improve accessibility.

The road will be narrowed to encourage slower vehicle speeds for “pedestrian convenience” and to create shorter crossing distances for intersections.

The reconstructed streets will include “flexible zones,” which are areas “that can be used by businesses adjacent to patios, signage, and displays that create attractive spaces and encourage downtown activity.”

The Pride intersection at Commercial and Bastion Streets will become an elevated intersection, and will be repainted with the Pride of Progress flag.

The city says the “careful design and construction” work will protect “existing key trees” and there will be new trees planted to achieve a net increase in the number of trees on the street.

Other design elements mentioned in the document include new seats and other seats; public art and artistic elements in features such as candlesticks, benches, and lampposts; bike racks and integral spaces for secure bike parking; new lighting at intersections as well as “decorative lighting elements”; and retractable barriers to allow temporary street closures for private events.

As for the impacts on parking, the document notes that “most of the sidewalk area remains available for on-street parking,” and that retractable barriers and decorative sidewalks will create flexibility in the use of spaces for parking, temporary yards, or other purposes.

The city said design development is still underway at Diana Kral Plaza and Dallas Square Park.

“Once the first phase is established, we will proceed directly to the design of the second phase of construction which will include the front portion of Diana Krall Plaza,” the city’s website stated, adding that there would be additional public participation related to that phase.

Related: The City of Nanaimo is looking into removing all commercial street restrictions

Related: Nanaimo City Council endorses multimillion-dollar Commercial Street redesign plan

The elevated and repainted pedestrian walkway will be part of the first phase of the commercial street reconstruction. (Photo: Nanaimo)

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