Ucluelet’s Village Green Revitalization project is taking shape, though it has left some locals scratching their heads on how to manoeuvre their cars downtown, particularly along the waterfront’s now much narrower Fraser Lane.
During their May 9 regular meeting, the town’s municipal council reviewed a letter from resident Patricia Sieber questioning whether council was aware the project would narrow the roadway so significantly.
“The community deserves an explanation as to how the present traffic flow in the Village Green area is safer than what we had before,” Sieber wrote.
Sieber also asked about the future of Fraser Lane, noting that a proposed second phase of the revitalization project suggests removing the roadway altogether and connecting the Village Green space to the waterfront.
“This was an interesting letter from a community member wondering why Fraser Lane is so narrow. I chatted with our CAO this morning asking about that and I believe the answer was it’s an optical illusion,” said mayor Marilyn McEwen.
CAO Duane Lawrence confirmed Fraser Lane has been narrowed, but added that it still meets the necessary requirements for two-way traffic.
“It’s 3.5 metres wide for each lane. It will make more sense once the line painting is complete, but they are the standard width; they do meet the road specifications,” he said. “But, it is so much narrower than was previously seen. It’s definitely a change.”
McEwen asked about the progress of the project’s envisioned second phase and Lawrence responded that removing the roadway is not currently on the table.
“That is unfunded and has not been discussed by council in the last while,” he said. “I don’t see it as being an item that is coming before council in the near future unless there’s a new, wonderful grant opportunity that would fund it all.”
Coun. Jennifer Hoar asked about trucks navigating the narrower roadway.
Lawrence responded that engineers took truck-traffic into consideration during the planning process.
“The new corner does accommodate the fish plant trucks going around that corner,” he said. “They do enter into the oncoming lane to make that corner, which they were doing previously as well. Although it’s a lot narrower, it slows them down, which is a really good thing and they will have to yield to traffic coming down towards the water from Fraser Lane which they had to do previously. It meets the requirements under the road development and design specifications, but it is narrower so they’re going to have to go slower and, yes, they will have to enter into the other lane when they make that turn.”
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