Nice day for a stroll to the museum, eh? New trail to be constructed this year will make that Canuck dream a safer off-road reality
With all of the various plans going on in Rossland in recent years from tackling climate change to saving schools, there has been one plan quietly putting rubber to the road…err… off-road. Rossland’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP) was completed in January of 2009 by Stu Spooner . The latest part of the plan to be implemented includes two new trail segments constructed this summer linking the museum with the downtown core.
The plan includes twenty four segments that could be constructed within the built up areas of the city. These segments are designed to create connectivity between existing trails as well as between identified migration routes around the city.
The two new segments, rated as high priority in the ATP, link together to form one new route connecting the museum and downtown. They will run from the Miners’ Hall to Nevada Street, and from Dunn Crescent along the bank above Centennial Park to the museum.
“From the ATP, the need was highlighted the have the ability to walk to the museum. We want to at least give people the idea that there is a comfortable walking trail to the museum from the downtown,” explained city planner Mike Maturo. “It also gives people an easier time, in a non-motorized form, to walk to the ballparks, bike to Drake’s, walk to the museum and just get from that part of the city to the downtown and back.”
Beginning at the corner of Cliff and Columbia, the first section of the trail will run along the already established laneway between LeRoi and Columbia Avenue. This laneway is already level and thus an inexpensive option. While the ATP initially budgeted the trail segment at $12,000, the tender which went out this week for the work has been substantially scaled down to the bare essentials.
“This trail is going to be cheap,” added Maturo. “By the time the grant was announced the tender was already posted. It’ll be less than the active transportation plan forecasted for the budget as the work has been pared down. We’ve deleted a lot of the unnecessary stuff because it wasn’t in the budget. So we thought, ‘let’s stretch the funds as far as we can and get as much out of it as we can get’. The tendered project is much leaner than the active transportation plan.”
Significant differences include the deletion of an initial plan to close vehicle access onto Cliff Street from Columbia Avenue ( estimated at $1,000) and construction of 50 metres of trail across that closed section ( estimated at $2,000).
The most significant work and cost will be required on the second segment running from Dunn Crescent to the highway across from the museum. Running approximately 200 metres, a moderate grade trail will be cut into the bank with a mini-excavator and manual work where possible.
The idea is to get people off that busy section of Columbia,” explained Spooner. “The sidewalk past the Miners’ hall kind of dead-ends and people are obliged to walk along Columbia Avenue to get out to the museum or to Centennial Park. It’s not a very attractive or inviting section of road to walk right now.”
This section of trail, initially budgeted at $35,750, has also been downsized. It is expected to cost well under that point when tenders are received.
“The first plan was a little more grandiose,” added Spooner. “The idea was to have a really well-refined trail all the way from the LeRoi laneway the entire away along and all the way to Black Bear Crescent with links to the campground and Drake’s. With the money we’ve got we figured people could walk along Dunn Crescent. It’s not a very busy street. There’s already a bit of a developed path up past the parking lot into Centennial Park. From that parking lot we’ll cut a trail up into the bank and up around the park into the pullout opposite the Mining Museum. People are driving to the mining museum now. This should make it a pretty reasonable option to walk or bike to the museum.”
The two trail projects are currently out to tender with work expected to commence on August 30th. Both section of trail are expected to be completed this fall.
Ironically, just after the City released the tender on this project, a new grant for developing bike trails was release by Bike BC. While the City could have potentially rewritten this trail project to apply for the grant they may now add an additional trail project to the schedule later this year.
So far response to the first completed ATP project, the Starr-Gulch trail (see video) completed last year, has been all positive with the trail enjoying a high volume of use. The addition of the Miners’ Hall-to-museum route is expected to also see a high rate of use as a main transportation route from that end of Lower Rossland into the downtown core. With the anticipated future reopening of the Museum Trail, these two new trail projects could potentially create an inner city off road biking/hiking route in the heart of town.
In addition to creating new walking/biking routes around town, the expected benefits of the relatively inexpensive projects are expected to be immense by those involved. A good trail system, they feel, promotes good health, safe and environmentally friendly travel as well as an economic boost.
As the ATP notes, “Trails and walking facilities add to the local economy by providing jobs, increasing access to retail and cultural attractions and by supporting tourism. Creating a walking and cycling friendly community also enhances quality of life, an important feature for attracting new residents and business.”