Jun 1, 2013 / 2:10 pm
As the sun finally peeked through clouds Saturday afternoon, the streets of Bernard Avenue were once again filled with shoppers, sightseers and others collectively enjoying the improvements and reduced vehicular traffic.
Bernard Avenue between Pandosy and City Park - the busiest section of the local main street - once again opened to vehicular traffic for the first time in more than three months on Friday afternoon.
And it couldn't have come at a better time as most entrepreneurs breathed a collective sigh of relief that things are back to normal.... or at least getting there.
The Bernard Street revitalization project, which began last summer on the north section of Bernard between Richter and Ellis, has now completed its second phase and only the lone block between Pandosy and Ellis Streets remains to be upgraded. That portion will be revamped beginning after Labour Day Weekend in September.
Meantime, it was business as usual for Bernard Street businesses.
Ìt`s very nice to have it open,`said Shanna Albrecht, an employee of Blonde, a clothing store on the block between Water Street and City Park.
``We do anticipate for sure that things will be back to normal or better,`said Thomas Dimitriadius of The Paramount Theatre, located on the same block.
Across the street, at the Bean Scene Coffee House, barista Pam Higgins reflected a sense of humour she hasn`t lost in spite of the lengthy inconvenience.
`Kelowna seems to be more awake, suddenly` she said. `Good thing we`ve got coffee`.
Meanwhile, many businesses, which left applying for a patio license with the city until the last minute, are now caught up in the waiting game for approvals. However, that isn`t the case with one restaurant.
``It seems like summer in the Okanagan again,` said Tyler Nielsen, manager of Mimi`s Italian Grill Restaurant which quickly set up its outdoor patio area and welcomed early diners Saturday afternoon as the sun showed itself on that side of the street.
The revitalization included widening of the sidewalks, to allow more outdoor patios and easier movement for pedestrians, while vehicular traffic has been reduced to a single lane in each direction. There are also new and numerous benches and other niceties.
May 31, 2013 / 11:14 am
The speed in which Phase 2 of the Bernard Avenue Revitalization project was complete has allowed the city to do some work on Phase 1 originally scheduled for next year.
Beginning Monday, June 3, crews will begin raising manholes and preparing the road surface between Richter and Ellis streets for the final round of paving.
Because of the prep work, motorists will experience intermittent traffic interruptions starting Monday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Top lift paving is scheduled for the following week - weather permitting.
Final paving of the section of Bernard between Richter and Ellis was scheduled for spring of 2014, however, with Phase 2 of the three phase project finishing a month ahead of schedule, there was an opportunity to complete the final paving of Phase 1.
Bernard Avenue between Abbott and Pandosy, closed since the beginning of February, is expected to re-open to traffic at 5 p.m. Friday.
The final phase of the $14M Bernard Avenue project is scheduled to begin Sept. 3 and conclude Dec. 6.
That phase will see Bernard closed from Pandosy to St. Paul.
May 30, 2013 / 9:00 am
The second phase of the $14-million revitalization project on Kelowna's "Main Street" is nearing completion and Bernard Avenue will reopen to motorists in its entirety on Friday, May 31 after 5 p.m., weather permitting.
"We are so pleased to reopen this phase ahead of schedule and in time for the busy summer season just as the businesses asked," says Bill Berry, Director of Design & Construction Services.
"We are really pleased with the performance and demeanor of the contractor, CGL construction. They really help to make a challenging project easier."
Remaining works will continue through June, including adding the public art components on the light standards and other minor esthetic improvements.
The traffic pattern has changed with the completed sections of Bernard Avenue now narrowed to two lanes from four, with a centre turning lane.
Parking between Richter and St. Paul streets and Pandosy and Abbott streets is now parallel parking only. Temporary line markings from Pandosy to St. Paul streets connect the two completed sections with the same lane configuration.
Motorists and bike riders will now encounter the new shared lane markings or "sharrows" on Bernard Avenue.
These markings indicate that a cyclist may ride in the traffic lane and assists them in correct positioning between traveling cars and parallel parked cars.
Motorists are urged to drive carefully and be aware of all posted signage, particularly at St. Paul and Pandosy streets.
"It's great to see public and private investment making a mark on downtown Kelowna with two-thirds of the Bernard revitalization project now complete, the public pier and marina underway and Stuart park and parkade expansions planned to name a few," says Berry.
"Downtown is really happening and we invite residents and visitors to see it for themselves."
Phase 3 of the Bernard Avenue revitalization is expected to begin following the Labour Day long weekend. Bernard Avenue will close to traffic from Pandosy to St. Paul streets September 3 and is scheduled to reopen in early December.
The City of Kelowna thanks residents, businesses and motorists for their patience while construction was taking place.
Click here for the most up-to-date information and to learn more about the many projects happening downtown.
May 28, 2013 / 5:00 am
Could Bernard Avenue open up for traffic Friday?
While nothing official has come from City Hall, that's the talk around the construction site.
Phase 2 of the Bernard Avenue Revitalization project, which includes upgrades from Abbott to Pandosy streets, was scheduled to be complete by the end of June.
However, favourable weather through the winter and spring has allowed the project to move at a quicker pace.
Over the weekend the rains of the past week eased enough to allow the final lift of pavement to be put down.
All that is left now, according to workers on the site, is for lines to be painted on the road and some additional brickwork.
Line painting is weather dependent and showers are forecast to fall for much of the week.
The contractor responsible for the project does have a clause in its contract that pays a bonus if the project does come in ahead of schedule.
The final phase of the project from Pandosy to St. Paul streets will begin immediately following Labour Day and is scheduled to be complete by early December.
Any additional work, such as final paving and road markings will be done in April and May of 2014.
Cost of the entire project is $14M.
May 18, 2013 / 5:00 am
It won't be long now before Bernard Avenue is once again fully open to traffic.
Phase 2 of the Bernard Avenue Revitalization project which has shut down Kelowna's main drag between Pandosy and Abbott streets since early Feb. is nearly complete.
The major work remaining on the second phase of the project centers around paving.
"Top lift paving is currently scheduled for Wed. or Thurs. (next week) but top lift is very weather dependent," says Kelly Kay, business liaison for the project.
"Even if the road is damp - if it rains the day before - that could delay that. It's scheduled but that doesn't mean it will occur."
At the present time, the forecast calls for showers Tue., Wed., and Thurs.
Once the final top lift of paving is complete then the line painters will come in and lay down the road markings.
After than, Kay says all that will be left will be smaller items such as furniture and curbing.
While there has been talk the project could be complete and the road re-opened by the end of the first week of June, Kay reminds people the contracted end of the project is June 30.
"Some of the remaining things like paving and line painting are so weather dependent we aren't really talking about an end date yet," says Kay.
"The contract does say they need to be done no later than June 30 so the contractor can actually be in the site until June 30."
There is however a provision which provides the contractor with a bonus if the project is complete and the road opens earlier than June 30.
The third and final phase of the Bernard Avenue project (Pandosy to St. Paul streets) will begin after Labour Day and is scheduled to be complete Dec. 7.
Again, depending on weather some additional work, such as top lift paving and line painting, may have to wait unti the spring of 2014.
Meantime, frequent visitors of downtown will have noticed several 'themes' within the design project.
Three distinct themes are being featured with unique design elements in each phase of the new streetscape.
“The themes are derived from our local natural and cultural heritage with tributes to the First Nation people of this area,” says Parks and Public Space Projects Manager Andrew Gibbs.
“Placemaking draws on a community’s assets, inspiration and potential to create vibrant public spaces that promote discovery and enjoyment, and enhance the community’s attachment to public spaces.”
At the east end of Bernard, the street emphasizes the hillsides and grasslands of the valley. The west end emphasizes the lake and our aquatic environment. And in between the theme highlights the cultural history of our community.
Specific features to note include:
- Traffic bollards at the crosswalks inset with naturally rusting corten steel and cut out images relevant to the themes
- Natural wood plates on the light posts
- Natural basalt stone benches and pavers
- Local animals and plants engraved in sporadically placed polished basalt pavers
- Garbage cans, utility boxes and bike lockers uniquely wrapped with historical images
- Gobo lights projecting images onto the sidewalk
- Sidewalk etchings at pedestrian crossings
- Thematic public art components built into the light standards
Read more Bernard Ave. Revitalization articles
Time Lapse Video: City of Kelowna
- It's concrete, the businesses are open Apr 16
- Taking a stroll through Bernard revite Apr 12
- Residents weigh in on Bernard paving Apr 4
- Council endorses sidewalk patio rates Mar 25
- Rental break coming for sidewalk patios Mar 23
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