The final phase of the $14-million revitalization project on Kelowna’s “Main Street” gets underway on Monday, March 3 from Ellis to Pandosy.
“This Bernard Avenue project has really led the way in the revitalization of our downtown,” says Bill Berry, Director of Design & Construction Services.
“We’re starting to see the beginning of a lot of really exciting developments and plans that will make downtown a hub for the community.”
During construction it will be business as usual for restaurants, retail outlets and the unique shops that give Bernard Avenue its distinct character. Walkways and access to businesses will be maintained.
“We’ve had successes as well as challenges in the delivery of this project but in the end hope we have met the expectation of residents and the business community,” says Berry.
“I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to see the finished product.”
The $14-million improvements will see four lanes narrowed into two lanes and a centre turning lane, expanded outdoor retail and cafe space, wider sidewalks for pedestrians, street furniture, intersection plazas, landscaping and replacement of utilities.
The existing trees were evaluated prior to the start of the project but removal was necessary because of their declining health and the need to improve sidewalk drainage and pedestrian circulation.
The new trees, which are Skyline Honey Locust, are a species more appropriate for urban settings. About 140 new trees will be planted along Bernard Avenue in total in all phases, while about 70 were removed.
Final paving, finishing work and permanent road markings of the previous phase between St. Paul and Ellis streets will occur this spring with completion of the revitalization scheduled for June 2014.
The final piece of the Gateway feature at the east end of Bernard Avenue was completed today (Tuesday) with the installation of banners designed by Westbank First Nation artist Janine Lott.
The theme of the banners is “The Land is Our Culture” and celebrates the Syilx/Okanagan people and their connection to the land. In a traditional First Nations practise Lott also mentored junior artist Jordan Coble through the process of creating the banners.
“Everyone shares the land, the water and the culture of the Okanagan and we need to be considerate of that,” says Lott.
This public art collaboration between the City of Kelowna and Westbank First Nation is a first for the two governments.
The banners continue the placemaking approach used throughout the new Bernard Avenue streetscape.
“The First Nation culture of this area is connected to the natural landscape,” says Patrick McCormick, Urban Design Planner.
“We’ve reflected that connection along the street by using the Syilx language on inlaid polished pavers describing local flora and fauna and on the Gateway poles where these banners are now displayed.”
Public art installations on the new Bernard Avenue streetscape are used to help create a distinctive sense of place and reinforce the design of the other elements along the street.
“Street features were chosen to be in keeping with the natural elements and history of the Okanagan, with benches and pavers made of natural stone, and light poles that, like the downtown library building, draw their inspiration from the heavy timbers used in the Kettle Valley Railway trestles,” says McCormick.
The design theme that emerged from the community consultation process was “landscape inspired” and the execution is contemporary rather than historical in form.
With the dramatic change in street configuration at Bernard Avenue and Richter Street, a gateway treatment offered an opportunity for public art to welcome visitors downtown and mark the transition from the residential to the commercial area.
Phase 3a of the $14-million Bernard Avenue revitalization project is nearing completion.
It is anticipated Bernard Avenue will to reopen to motorists by 4 p.m. today (Thursday).
The section of Bernard was completed nearly a month ahead of schedule, likely due in part to the fact only one block was worked on, not two as was originally anticipated.
“We are happy to see another section of Bernard Avenue completed,” says Bill Berry, Director of Design & Construction Services.
“It was unfortunate to see Phase 3 split into two phases, but it has really just put the project back to the original schedule with completion for Summer 2014 and, as promised, active construction will not impact businesses during the holiday retail season.”
Remaining works may continue through November, including street furniture installation and plantings. Temporary ramps at crosswalks and along the parking pads are in place until top lift paving is completed next spring.
The truck route will be reinstated on Ellis Street until the planned improvements are made to Gordon Drive in 2014.
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 moving vehicles and parallel parked cars.
Motorists are urged to drive carefully and be aware of all signage, particularly at St. Paul and Pandosy.
“This is actually a great time of year for residents to see and experience all the public and private investment that is happening in our downtown,” says Berry.
“Walk and shop along Bernard’s widened sidewalks, check out the new public pier and marina, skate at Stuart Park and watch the development of the new yacht clubhouse expansion.”
Construction of the final phase of the Bernard Avenue revitalization is scheduled for Spring 2014, when the street will be closed to traffic from Pandosy to Ellis streets and be completed in June 2014.
The Pandosy to Ellis portion was slated to be done this fall, however, the current lockout of FortisBC employees meant that section had to be delayed.
The City of Kelowna thanks residents, businesses and motorists for their patience while construction was taking place.
Visit kelowna.ca/cityprojects for the most up-to-date information and to learn more about the many projects happening downtown.
The time frame for completion of the Bernard Avenue Revitalization project has been moved back seven months.
As first reported by Castanet News last week, the labour dispute at FortisBC has thrown a kibosh into plans to complete the project as scheduled at the end of November.
That dispute has forced the city to revise the schedule for the project.
Phase 3 (now 3a) began as scheduled Tuesday morning, however, only the area between St. Paul and Ellis streets, including the Ellis intersection will be completed because all electrical utility work was previously done.
"It's a regrettable situation, but to mitigate impact to businesses only the area where we know the work can be completed will be started," says Director of Design and Construction Services, Bill Berry.
Completion of Phase 3a is scheduled for the end of November with the remaining section from Pandosy to Ellis streets (3b) to begin in early spring.
The entire Bernard Avenue project is now expected to be complete by June of next year.
The $14M revitalization project began in September, 2012.
The city thanks residents, businesses and motorists for their patience.
Businesses are open during construction.
Beginning Tuesday, September 3, at 5 a.m. Bernard Avenue from St. Paul to Ellis Streets will be closed to motorists to accommodate the utility replacement and streetscaping as part of the revitalization of Bernard Avenue.
The Ellis Street intersection will be closed to motorists and the truck route will be rerouted temporarily to Gordon Drive. Detour routes will be clearly marked and traffic safety personnel will be on site directing traffic.
Access to businesses and pedestrian walkways is a priority and will be maintained. Pedestrian crossings located at St. Paul and on the west side of Ellis streets will be permitted when safe.
All transit routes into and out of the Queensway transit station will continue as usual, routes serving downtown may experience delays due to construction. Visit here for schedules and plan travel accordingly.
An amendment to the noise bylaw was granted by council to allow extended construction hours of 6 a.m. to midnight. Occasional work may also occur outside of these times to minimize impacts on businesses and limit the time of active construction in the area.
Completion of the third phase of construction is anticipated at the end of November.
The City of Kelowna appreciates the patience of residents, businesses and motorists while construction is taking place.
Visit here to learn more about the project.
Read more Bernard Ave. Revitalization articles
Time Lapse Video: City of Kelowna
- Patios bring sidewalks to life Aug 29
- Fortis dispute could disrupt Bernard Ave. Aug 29
- Artful enhancements on Bernard Jul 22
- Biz booming again on Bernard Jun 1
- More construction on Bernard May 31
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