The City of Rossland has been awarded $24,537 in grant funds from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure under the BikeBC program. The funds make up 50 per cent of the project cost to construct two multi-use trails between the town centre and the Pinewood subdivision in southeast Rossland.
The two trails to be constructed are identified as numbers 14 and 15 in the active transportation plan adopted by the City of Rossland in January 2009. Trail 14, known in the plan as Pinewood–Columbia Ave., would connect residents of the Pinewood subdivision to the downtown core (although route 15 is more direct), the tennis courts, churches and the schools. The trail would be an attractive off-road tree landscaped route offering users views of Rossland.
Trail 15 is described by the plan as Pinewood-Downtown. This trail takes advantage of the opportunity to extend the railgrade path adjacent to Highway 3B to Columbia Ave. and down the Kootenay/Cooke alley and the View St. road allowance to Pinewood.
Pinewood residents have requested this link to divert pedestrian and cycling traffic off the very steep section of Park St., particularly hazardous in winter. The link will allow a well-graded access route to Columbia Ave. where other off-road routes link to the tennis courts, schools, the arena, churches and upper Rossland neighbourhoods.
The project will have to be completed by Feb. 13, 2016 to receive the grant funds. Land and permits have already been acquired where necessary so there should be no hiccups in getting the project underway. The city has committed to contribute the remaining 50 per cent to complete the project on time.
Constructed of crushed limestone and compact gravel, the trails would be available for year round use and when required, have snow removal carried out.
“Rossland’s vertical topography and arbitrary street layout pose a particular challenge to active transportation,” reads the grant application. The sheer physical effort of riding or walking Rossland’s precipitous grades makes driving the only practical option for many.
Currently there are only two routes out of the subdivision: one using the provincial highway which has no safe place to walk/ride, the other using Park St. a very steep street with sightline challenges in some locations which also does not have a safe location for walking or cycling.
Sonia Lowe, public affairs officer for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, praised the City of Rossland’s application saying, “The application clearly demonstrated how the project will increase safety by adding this separated path for cyclists while navigating the challenge of the steep grade within the city.”
“We commend Rossland for taking the initiative to seek funding through the BikeBC program, which is a great cost-sharing opportunity for municipalities to develop their cycling infrastructure, encouraging residents to be more physically active in their community,” said Lowe.