The City of Kamloops will be working to create a new neighbourhood plan for the McGill Corridor this year. This post is part of a series is to highlight the unique history, geography, culture and potential of this rapidly changing neighbourhood before the planning process takes place. Thompson Rivers University Students’ Union (TRUSU) understands the impact that the proposed changes could have on students, as well as the broader campus community. TRUSU is committed to doing everything we can to share information, start discussions, and connect people to engage in this process. To stay informed about opportunities to provide feedback to the city on the McGill Corridor plan, sign-up at the end of this post.
Traditionally, the McGill Corridor has played an important role in connecting neighbourhoods to destination retail shopping locations and has supported traffic flows that are necessary for light industrial operations. This has meant that road networks around Thompson Rivers University (TRU) are largely high-speed thru roads. However, the increasing densification of the neighbourhood has led to conflict between these traditional modes of transportation and pedestrians.
On the surface, wider and higher speed roads are important to move people around the city. However, this conflict between pedestrian-focused infrastructure and vehicle infrastructure has led to numerous accidents, including fatalities. But what if there was a way to slow down and beautify McGill Road, in front of TRU, that didn’t stop vehicles from efficiently getting across the city?
The Summit Connector was built on the north side of TRU in 2008 and it connected the far side of McGill Road with Summit Drive, below the university.
But this was only the first phase in this project and there is still a second connection that may be built in the near future. This second connector could link up Hillside Drive with “Hillside Drive North” roughly along the red line (as you can tell, the city has already planned this into their naming structure).
Why does this matter? This linkup would allow thru traffic to bypass the congested and busy area of the McGill and Summit intersection. And if there is an alternate, quicker route for traffic to use, the area along McGill Rd could see significant traffic calming.
Traffic calming itself doesn’t sound that exciting — but if we imagine this as including things like on-street parking, bike lanes, shade trees, and other amenities, the impact of traffic calming becomes more clear. Not only would the street feel safer and more walkable, but this would help to connect the campus with new developments that are campus adjacent. This could lead to larger numbers of pedestrians at TRU accessing surrounding areas, further facilitating new types of businesses and amenities.
The McGill Corridor plan could provide the opportunity to address the growing conflict between pedestrians and thru traffic in the McGill Corridor. And with a new road bypassing this area, it could be done without significantly impacting traffic flow through the area.
TRUSU will be encouraging all interested students, faculty, staff, and community members to share their visions for the future of the McGill Corridor. If you want to be notified when there are updates on the McGill Corridor plan or opportunities for you to provide feedback to the City of Kamloops, please enter your information below.