Work to develop an updated transportation master plan for the City of Whitehorse is underway with a public engagement phase planned.
Stefan Baer, the city’s transportation engineer, outlined the plans at a council and senior management roundtable discussion Nov. 4.
As Baer described, the plan looks ahead in planning for transportation over a 20-year period along with providing direction on more specific transportation issues over the next five to 10 years.
This plan will emphasize equity, safety and sustainability, he said. Modelling and analysis is ahead of more broad public engagement.
The process will look at all modes of transportation and routes through the city to plan for the future.
“There will be no proposal at this point,” Baer said of the upcoming public engagement phase, noting this stage will serve as a way to gather the input from residents and groups on how they envision transportation in the city.
Work on the plan got underway in October 2020 with a review of existing conditions, plans and studies followed by discussions with interested parties such as local youth and others.
Transportation network modelling work and analysis is now underway with the public engagement process to follow.
In the discussion that followed Baer’s presentation, council members highlighted a number of groups, organizations and others that could be involved in the upcoming engagement process, along with considering methods to get more engagement from the public.
Among them were more seniors groups, community organizations, chambers of commerce, private industry that are impacted such as freight companies and the Department of Education.
Taylor Eshpeter, director of engineering with the city, said it’s anticipated the broader engagement phase will draw more organizations into the discussions.
“We anticipate additional groups will come through this first phase of public engagement,” he said.
Coun. Ted Laking said he would like to see open houses hosted in individual neighbourhoods, as a way of potentially getting more engagement than the planned sessions over Zoom might bring.
Laking and Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu each cited individual concerns they have heard from around the city including the increase to traffic on Mountain View Drive due to development in Whistle Bend and the ongoing plans for Lewes Boulevard in Riverdale.
Coun. Kirk Cameron also questioned how the new Official Community Plan, which is still being worked on, will be incorporated into the transportation plan.
Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, explained city staff will be working with the new council on the expected timeline for the OCP.
“We are looking at how to (consider) the integration of this document,” Gau said.
As Eshpeter said, at this stage there’s no reason for the public engagement phase of the transportation plan not to continue while efforts are also underway on the OCP.
The transportation plan will look at both the current situation in how people move around the city while also considering future development plans that will be outlined in the OCP.
A draft plan is expected in the spring 2022. That will be followed by another public engagement phase focused on the draft. It’s anticipated the final plan will come forward in the summer.
Along with the OCP, the plan would incorporate a number of other city plans and documents that also look at transportation in the city. Among them are the 2020 trail plan, the 2018 bicycle network plan, the 2018 transit master plan, 2015 transportation demand management plan and the transit route modernization study, which is still in the works.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com