A few more of the final pieces of the downtown puzzle will fall into place in the fall.
The District of Maple Ridge held an open house Thursday to preview the plan for rebuilding the stretch of Lougheed Highway from 224th to 226th streets.
The project, yet to be costed out, will complete the downtown renovations started a few years ago that included rebuilding 224th St. from Dewdney Trunk Road to Lougheed Hwy., as well as rebuilding Lougheed from 222nd 224th streets and from 226th to 228th streets.
“From 222nd St., it’s just a continuation of that. Same street trees, same sidewalk,” said Rachel Ollenberger, with the district.
The project entails repaving Lougheed and rebuilding and widening the sidewalk, in sections to the standard three metres. New trees will be planted with underground structures that will speed growth and prevent roots from heaving the sidewalks.
“We will have the wagon wheel crosswalks which people seem to like so much,” added Ollenberger.
She was referring to the circular motif that characterizes the sidewalk lines in the rebuilt sections.
New street lights and furniture identical to that which has been installed on the previous sections will follow.
Costs to complete the two-block section of Lougheed, which will then link to the section rebuilt last year in front of Chances Maple Ridge community gaming centre, haven’t been determined yet.
A completion date hasn’t been set either, only that it will be sometime next year.
Part of the same project and due for completion this fall is the construction of a new sidewalk on the south side of Selkirk Avenue, between 225th and 226th streets.
Currently, there’s only a sidewalk for a part of that distance.
“Selkirk will start to look like a street,” said Ollenberger.
New trees and street lights and hanging baskets will be part of the new sidewalk.
The new sidewalk will continue around the corner of 226th St. on the east side, up to the highway.
The district says the intent of the project is to increase livability and support business growth in the downtown, while improving conditions for pedestrians and shoppers.
Improvements are also scheduled for Edge Street at Dewdney Trunk Rd.
Jackie Chow, of the local cycling group HUB, wants Lougheed Hwy., through the downtown, narrowed to two lanes, bordered by bicycle lanes on either side. Doing so would allow preservation of the parking lanes and could “dramatically improve the shopping experience and vibrancy of Lougheed,” she said on Facebook.
However, she added, the group has been told that traffic volumes are too high on Lougheed Hwy. and that it isn’t part of the cycling network.