The District of Houston’s consulting company hired to put together the long-range plan to continue improvements in the downtown core now has further direction from council.
In addition to underground works, council was asked to provide direction as to surface improvements in the downtown core so that Urban Systems can further refine and define projects leading to cost estimates.
While the bulk of the underground utility work will involve improvements to the water system and repairs to sanitary and storm drainage infrastructure, District operations manager Chris Lawrence, at the Feb. 2 council meeting, laid out a list of potential surface improvements.
“The surface works will primarily consist of full sub-base and base road reconstruction including asphalt overlay and will include some sidewalks, curb and gutter to be replaced,” he noted in a memo to council.
– traditional zebra-striped sidewalks on Copeland and Butler have been changed to ones using fish stencils, repeating what has happened in already-completed downtown work.
– angle parking on the north side of 10th will be replaced by parallel parking based on extending the width of the sidewalk there by one metre
– on the south side of 10th, a portion of the sidewalk will be narrower than the standard width because of an existing block retainining wall.
– the sidewalk on the southside of 11th Street, near the Service B.C. office, could be widened to 2.8 metres by extending it to the property line.
Council did consider work on the sidewalk on the north side of 11th to replace and relocate it to create parallel parking but is holding off until such time as there is commercial development in that area.
Once Urban Systems has refined the concept plan to create final design drawings, council will then have a much better idea of costs. And from there council can begin planning on how to finance the work, including applying for senior government grants. It already has decided to use a portion of a provincial capital project grant received last year as a financial foundation.