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Dogwood Street ‘diet’ plans shelved by council, for now

It looks like Dogwood Street won’t be going on a road diet after all.

At this week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, council discussed proposed updates to the city’s master transportation plan, including a consultant’s suggestion to reduce Dogwood Street to two lanes, with bike lanes on either side, in a so-called “road diet.”

Public feedback from community meetings and written feedback to the city was overwhelmingly against the road diet. Some councilors, including Ben Lanyon, suggested major road changes be shelved to deal with more urgent issues.

“I think if we spend tax dollars on this instead of the top priority, which is going to be downtown issues — homelessness, housing affordability, and crime — I think we might be misallocating in this present time, and we should shelve those sorts of thoughts until we solve our major priority,” he said.

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Councilor Susan Sinnott agreed, saying there’s a lot of work to do still sorting out what should take priority in the master transportation plan before bringing it to the public again.

“I think, at the end of the day, having walked for hours along the proposed new streets and routes and talking to people, that there are significant improvements we can suggest before we send it out to the public,” she said.

The revised draft reviewed by council this week includes some changes suggested by the public, including buffered bike lanes on South McPhedran Road and Alder Street, neighbourhood bike lanes on Birch Street, and protected bike lanes on Rockland Road and Alder Street.

Mayor Kermit Dahl said increased traffic on Petersen Road, which will only get busier as development continues in the Quinsam Heights area, needs to be dealt with as soon as possible through the revised plan.

Council and city staff will continue discussing the transportation plan, which will be revised and presented at a future public meeting.

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