Less than 2 years ago, without fanfare and without consultation, the City decided to close the Ellis Street Truck Route from 7pm to 7am, diverting all night truck traffic to Gordon Drive. Disregarding the single family homes and duplexes along Gordon and west to St. Paul and east to Burtch (Lower Glenmore), and Centurion and Kiwanis Tower condos and the square blocks of condos and apartments opposite, and the new Regency Northwood Seniors’ Resort, their stated prime rationale was the “increased residential component on Ellis“.
Once again without consultation, the City has decided to completely shut down all truck traffic on Ellis and are looking to upgrade Gordon to handle the expected daily increase of 400 trucks.
There’s not a lot that can be done to move any more traffic. North of Springfield, Gordon Drive narrows considerably where it originally was only a single lane in both directions. Instead of continuing the bike lanes, the City has already removed the boulevards and banned parking during peak hours to accommodate an additional lane each way.
In addition to exacerbating the parking problems on the side streets, this has created an extremely dangerous situation for pedestrians and home owners. There is absolutely no buffer against the traffic. In 2 accidents during this school year, in a period of 2 weeks, cars travelling on Gordon have ended up in the first and second yards on Stockwell, one of them taking out the stop / street sign. This is where the Store Front and Bankhead School students cross, where parents and kids and seniors cross to attend programs at the Martin Centre, or services at the many churches in the area, or to skate at Stuart Park.
Across the street, several vehicles have jumped the curb over the years, the last a truck that took out the home owner’s fence and caused debris to make a hole in his roof. He now has a 4 foot concrete barrier in front of his place, courtesy of the City.
Compounding the problem are the obstacles on the sidewalk - poles, metal utility containers, waste and recycling containers (no accommodation for them on the road) - sometimes forcing pedestrians and scooters directly onto the road.
Contrast Gordon with Spall Road, where there is no residential or business components, where there are wide multi-lanes equipped with safe and proper turning lanes and lights and easy access to the Clement connector.
There is far more rational to close the Gordon Drive truck route - close it and continue the bike lanes right through to the Cawston Multi-Purpose Pathway. And the City should be asking for input from all stakeholders before they make these decisions - a public meeting with Council would be the best venue to accomplish this.
If you agree, phone or email the Mayor and Council. You will find contact information on the City web site (www.Kelowna.ca) or in the phone book.
You can also contact one of the 3 neighbourhood associations that border this section of Gordon Drive - one, Glenmore Valley Community Association (GVCA), is a holding an open meeting with Councillor Singh in attendance, at the Vineland St. Church, Nov. 28, 7 pm.