Ask Pat: Braids

Rudy asks—

Hey, Pat. Is the Braid section of the Brunette Fraser Greenway still planning on being constructed in then near future? I know the city webpage doesn’t seem to have been updated in over a year, and still states that it’s due to be completed by December of 2017. Has the uncertainty over the design of the Brunette Interchange project affecting this? To be honest, while I would appreciate this section being completed soon (as I bike from Sapperton through to United Blvd every weekday), it does sound like a bit of waste if the interchange ends up making all of this irrelevant in just a few years.

Short answer is yes, for the most part, though it should be done by now.

There has been a plan to improve the connection between Braid Station and the Bailey Bridge, Canfor Avenue, and the rest of the Braid industrial area for cyclists and pedestrians for a couple of years. It’s been a pretty well-developed plan for long enough that I went to one of those run-up-to-the-election funding announcements for the money we got from the Federal Government to pay for part of this. The federal election of 2015. Here is my understanding of what has happened since:

After a year of design and consultation, which led to some pretty significant re-design, the plan was to do the work this summer. However, the changed plans were changed again when a significant sewer line under the road was found to be in unexpectedly poor condition, and in need of replacement. In general, we try to avoid putting fresh asphalt and curbs on top of a pipe you are going to have to dig up very soon, so the pipe work needs to come before the road improvements. To add fun to the mix, the portion of pipe needing the extra work is near the existing rail lines, which significantly increases the complications related to doing the pipe work. So the project was delayed, but will be moving forward, and we should see some work done this winter and spring (the City page has been updated!), pending interesting findings during excavation*.

As far as I know, the work should not be influenced by the Brunette Interchange work. The greenway section where works are planned will be a greenway for the foreseeable future, and the related driveway improvements for the adjacent buildings will need to be there to provide access to those buildings regardless of Braid/Brunette upgrades. The eventual interchange project may influence the ends of the greenway, or even intersect it, but the majority of the pedestrian/bike improvements will still be needed. As far as I know, we are good to go.

Rick asks—

Whatever happened to the Coquitlam-New Westminster Brunette Interchange joint task force? The announcement press release states that reports back to council were due by February 27.

These folks?

I have no updates since the news release of March. At that time, the Task Force had established some common interests, and we issued a letter to the Ministry to let them know where we found agreement, and to provide some opinions on the proposed interchange options. Perhaps not surprisingly, the work came to a pause shortly after that as we went into an election. I’m not sure the lengthy period between that election and a new Minister of Transportation being given a mandate expedited the work in any way. As the new Minister has a pretty full plate, I expect a moderate-priority project like this will be addressed after a few more raging fires are stamped down.

If I was to guess (and this is nothing more than a guess), I suspect we will hear something in the spring about next steps on this project, and the Ministry’s goals in light of the suggestions set forth by Coquitlam and New Westminster.

*one of the charms of a 150 year old City is that most times you dig a hole, you are surprised by what you find down there. These surprises apparently delay a large number of City projects, which gets me thinking about how we do contingency budgeting in this City needs a bit of a re-vamp.

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