Public art, pedestrian crossings and treed medians are part of a re-imagined gateway into the Harbour City.
The Terminal Nicol Re-Imagined Committee revealed early concepts last week to improve the experience of travelling into the Harbour City from Days Inn Hotel to Comox Road.
The highway might be adept at moving traffic, but there are limited places for pedestrians to cross, no on-street parking and storefronts have seen better days. The Nicol Street neighbourhood sees high-street potential, but Pamela James, the committee’s south end representative, says it’s anything but.
Since September, residents and business owners have weighed in on what they’d like the corridor to become. Close to 300 feedback forms have been collected.
The most common fear is Terminal Nicol won’t change, according to Darren Moss, chairman of the Terminal Nicol Re-Imagined committee, who said the public agreed the section of the corridor most in need of help is Esplanade to Comox Road.
Ideas to improve it include time-of-day parking, which would close down curb-side lanes on the four-lane roadway outside of peak-traffic hours to support local businesses, as well as a possible left-turn lane onto Commercial Street and treed medians.
Overall the aim is to make the corridor more attractive, a destination and set the stage for redevelopment while keeping traffic on the move.
“We talked earlier about the image of Terminal Nicol Corridor and the trench and people around our city are just comfortable believing it’s going to be that way because it is that way,” said Moss, who hopes by showcasing strategies that there are “bite-sized pieces that we can take on as a city and as a partnership” that effects real change quickly to start.
Change could need both time and private-sector buy in, according to some of those involved in the Terminal-Nicol project.
Jana Zelenski, principal of Lanarc Consultants, said there’s a potential public investment to increase street trees and entry features but it’s when redevelopment and private-sector investment happens in tandem that there’s the biggest benefit.
Doug Kalcsics, committee representative for the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, called it a long-range initiative that requires patience, agreeing that public and private has to be in step.
The public can weigh in on concepts by filling out a stakeholder response form by March 14 at www. tnreimagined.ca.