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EDITORIAL – Traffic plan should return Seymour Street to two-way

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

KAMLOOPS CITY HALL is in the last days of its public-input phase for a new transportation master plan. If you haven’t read the draft plan, you should because it includes a lot of good concepts.

It talks about bike lanes, transit, crosswalks, signage and so on.

One thing that strikes me about it is the emphasis on the importance of walking. No matter where we go or how far, at least part of the journey for most of us involves some walking.

According to the draft plan, and I quote, “Walking is the highest priority as it is the primary human mode of transportation….”

In a city that was built for cars, it’s important to recognize that. But the plan as envisioned seems all about getting from A to B, and nothing in between. By that I mean the impact of getting from A to B on what’s along the way.

So let’s talk about Seymour Street one more time. Kamloops simply has to pay attention to the detrimental effect of having one-way streets go through the downtown core, especially Seymour.

It’s not a friendly street for those on foot. It’s all about speed, a way of getting traffic through the downtown area as fast as possible.

There was a plan years ago for returning Seymour Street to two-way traffic, a move that would slow things down and bring back pedestrians, boost business and improve the lifestyle of the downtown core.

Shelved years ago by timid City councillors, it never shows up in discussions on the future of transportation in Kamloops. The Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association worries about parking, but never talks about what to do with Seymour Street.

The new master plan looks like a good plan. It covers a lot of things, even mentioning the old proposal to extend the bypass along the benchlands below Juniper, a concept that drew outrage before it was quietly abandoned years ago.

And yet, Seymour Street sits, ignored. Time for traffic planners to bring it back into the picture.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5769 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

12 Comments on EDITORIAL – Traffic plan should return Seymour Street to two-way

  1. Lorraine Zimmer // May 26, 2018 at 8:38 AM // Reply

    Extend the No. 1 bypass through benchlands below Juniper and take traffic off Valleyview.

  2. Tom Freeman // May 26, 2018 at 7:18 AM // Reply

    Totally idiotic proposal. Mel you should model impacts and see what happens. Gridlock.

  3. As I recall, the one-way streets were to service the Weyerhaeuser mill, so the big trucks could get through town both ways with minimal disruption.
    If that’s so, and the volume of truck traffic is significantly reduced, then IMO, the streets should revert to two-way.
    ‘Twould be much more pedestrian friendly and it would disperse some of the “wealth” that is on Victoria Street to the other two streets.

  4. Denis J Walsh // May 24, 2018 at 2:20 PM // Reply

    I agree Mel, and would like to hear more on this idea.
    I think we have to change Seymour St. from 1st to 6th as a two-way street, not Lansdowne, as currently there is nowhere for our Downtown retail district to grow, without this crucial change. It’s ridiculous to encourage fast moving traffic to slice thru the heart of your Downtown core and stifle retail growth. No experienced planner would ever design a Downtown retail district with only a linear single street retail option. It’s like believing Kelowna’s Harvey avenue is a great design for walkability and enhancing a sense of community.
    We need to efficiently divert traffic “around the Downtown core” rather through our vital Downtown retail district. Having two one-way streets acting as moats blocking in any retail expansion from Victoria St., simply is unmanageable for the future retail growth and viability of our Downtown. Where is the KCBIA on this issue?

  5. Bob Gamble // May 24, 2018 at 8:22 AM // Reply

    Should also look at Lansdowne . Both streets are setup to move traffic as quickly as possible though the City. Two-way streets would make for more the downtown core more attractive and accessible to shoppers and visitors. Kelowna is looking at changing some of their one-way back to two-way.

    • Mel Rothenburger // May 24, 2018 at 8:28 AM // Reply

      I agree on Lansdowne as it’s really part of the same one-way system as Seymour; I focused on Seymour Street because I think that’s the one where there would be more pedestrian presence if it went back to two-way.

    • Lorraine Winter // May 25, 2018 at 1:35 AM // Reply

      Yes, good note and good call.

    • Lorraine Winter // May 25, 2018 at 1:39 AM // Reply

      Excellent points. Keep talking!

  6. Cynthia Friedman // May 24, 2018 at 6:59 AM // Reply

    That is a great idea!

    • It has been talked about at least 1/2 dozen times, perhaps more since the last municipal elections. Also ideas about removing all heavy truck traffic from the downtown have been forwarded to the generality.

      • Would removing all heavy truck traffic mean no more deliveries to London Drugs, Save-on-Foods, etc.?

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