I am writing this letter to express my concern for safety, accessibility and well-being along Flood-Hope Road connecting the neighbourhoods of Silver Creek to Hope Town Centre Proper.
I live in Silver Creek and commute daily to Hope for work and for recreation. To reduce greenhouse gases and expenses our family made an investment in pedal assist electric bicycles.
I use Richmond Hill twice a day in that commute, and feel it necessary to bring to your attention the risk of using this route as a cyclist or pedestrian. It is rare that I use that route without passing at least one pedestrian, usually numerous. If it isn’t a pedestrian it is another cyclist.
There is a very small paved shoulder that is pot-holed and unsafe for cycling that has me moving out onto the roadway for stability. There is a larger unpaved shoulder, but even that does not suffice, nor is it safe for street cycles. Even when I drive that route, it is a rare occurrence to not see pedestrian traffic on that stretch of Flood-Hope Road.
As a resident of the neighbourhood for more than 20 years, I have borne witness to the steady increase of traffic. The residential development in Silver Creek has seen dozens of new houses built recently, with dozens more in the development stage. All this development has resulted in increased residential traffic to Hope and back. New industry (truck stops, gas stations, mechanics, RV storage, cement building factories, etc.) has also meant an increase in commercial traffic as well.
I took some time to understand what the District of Hope has planned for this corridor, and in conducting my research, I did find some interesting points:
There have been two fatalities on that stretch of road that I am aware of. In 2012, a resident wrote to the Hope Standard about the need for a walkway on the hill due to a fatality.
After being elected in 2018, Mayor Robb recognized that “Silver Creek, (is) ‘a neglected part of the community’, and adding a sidewalk and lighting on Richmond Hill” was needed.
Councillor D. Smith stated, “completing a walking path to Silver Creek over Richmond Hill is top of mind.” Even new Councillor Traun stated there are ongoing issues such as …. Richmond Hill.”
In 2018, it was added as a budget line item and the preliminary design was completed.
To quote a Hope Standard article, “To build a pedestrian path from Silver Creek to Hope over Richmond Hill, $840,000 has been put aside in this year’s budget. The project is put into the budget, Fortoloczky explained, as having it in the budget is a pre-requisite for getting a grant to partially fund it. The project will not go ahead until grant funding, around 50 per cent of the cost, is secured.”
Then, in 2020, it appears as though the project was granted funding and then “shelved” when COVID hit.
In the current year’s plan (May 5, 2021), I recognize that this project is perhaps a ‘highlight,’ but to me it feels much more like an unfulfilled promise I’ve heard before, and with it being a grant-dependent that’s been granted funding, I believe it’s high time that it is completed.
I want to bring to your attention a reminder that our IOCP speaks directly to Mobility through Motorized & Active Transportation in Goal 8. You can reference pages 62 – 66 of the OCP Bylaw 1378 Consolidated to BL 1434-Nov. 2018 – “Goal 8 Objective 8.2 Encourage local trips by foot and bicycle.”
Policy 8.2.2 supports the development of a safe and accessible pedestrian and bicycle route from downtown Hope to the Silver Creek neighbourhood.
Finally, as a mother, a resident, taxpayer, former business owner, and as a person currently-employed in human services helping vulnerable populations, I implore you to please create a safe network to connect Silver Creek to the Hope town centre.