Why did the City purchase the properties on the 500 block of Terminal Avenue?

    Council is taking the following actions to create a cohesive, thriving, and livable downtown:

    • Through a series of steps, Council has acquired several key properties on the west (south) side of the 500 Block of Terminal, between Commercial and Esplanade (the former Jean Burns building along with the print shop and tattoo shop).
    • Council’s intention is to use this important corner of Commercial and Terminal to create a positive, attractive, and welcoming public space for all to enjoy. 

    How will this project contribute to creating a vibrant, dynamic, and thriving downtown?

    With extensive public realm improvements and surrounding plaza spaces, “The Hub” will be more than a spot to start or end a trip – it will help shape downtown Nanaimo. Projects at this location provide an opportunity to address many long-standing concerns raised by residents and businesses, including:

    • Improving pedestrian linkages across Terminal Avenue to better connect downtown, Victoria Crescent, and the Old City Quarter.
    • Finally filling in the very large hole at the corner of Commercial and Terminal (Jean Burns site) and activating this highly visible, underutilized site.
    • Improving the functionality and safety of the intersection at Wallace Street / Albert / Commercial Street / Victoria Crescent.
    • Improving pedestrian and public safety.
    • Adding beauty and activity throughout the day and into the evening to create a safe, positive atmosphere for the community.

    What is being done for public safety, specifically at night?

    • Plaza and open spaces will be designed to meet Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles and best-practices for designing safe and comfortable public space. 
    • Design elements aim to provide positive activity throughout the day and into the evening hours.
    • Upgraded and attractive lighting will be integrated along Terminal Avenue, at the transit exchange, and within all open spaces to enhance safety, visibility, and public experience.

    How will the final routing for buses be determined?

    The final routes buses will use to access the exchange will be determined through a combination of technical analysis and input from Regional District of Nanaimo, BC Transit, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Emergency Services and will consider feedback shared by the public through this process.

    Why is a transit exchange being proposed at this location?

    The City is exploring the potential to incorporate a transit hub between Terminal Avenue and Shaw Lane.  As the Terminal Avenue Upgrades project is already scheduled for 2022, pursuing the exchange at this location will allow for possible implementation within the next two to three years.

    How has the City considered alternate locations for the transit exchange?

    Through recent engagement and technical analysis, the City has considered three options for a downtown transit exchange. While each location has its pros and cons, the Terminal Avenue exchange has shown the highest number of opportunities over the others. Studies have shown:

    • Port Drive: The development of the Port Drive site still requires a significant level of investigation and the timeline to install a permanent exchange would likely be greater than 5 years. In addition, integrating the transit exchange into future redevelopment on that site (which is currently undetermined) presents challenges. Removing transit considerations allows for flexibility in future redevelopment, including creation of a strong streetscape.
    • Front Street: The Front Street concept would be an "on street" exchange. If possible, it is preferable to have buses leave the roadway to make it safer for pedestrians and to help manage traffic impacts. This location has additional challenges related to Gabriola ferry traffic. Future planning will consider a roundabout to connect the future Port Drive lands, which could affect operation of the transit exchange.

    How will buses be routed to limit traffic congestion and pedestrian experience impacts?

    The project team is currently exploring different options for routing of buses to identify those that best achieve mobility goals.

    • Final routing alignments will be determined in the detailed design phase, based on requirements and input from the Regional District of Nanaimo, BC Transit, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Emergency Services, as well as consideration of public input through this process.
    • Traffic heading south on Terminal Avenue will be stopped at the Gordon Street pedestrian lights to make way for transit vehicles exiting the exchange.

    How will the local businesses be affected? How will they receive deliveries?

    • Service access to all local businesses will be maintained.
    • Service access routing may differ depending on the overall project design. Routing will be confirmed through detailed design.
    • The City will be consulting directly with local businesses on this project.

    How will the project affect parking?

    Changes to public parking areas will be studied during the detailed design phase, based on confirmed directions.

    Will existing trees be impacted?

    • Preservation of existing trees will be a priority; however, tree health and impacts will need to be considered. 
    • Existing trees will be assessed during detailed design.