There might yet be some hope for a better way for pedestrians and cyclists to get up and down Lanfear Hill.
Although the city has now decided to spend $360,000 to temporarily fix the erosion problem on the existing walkway that forced it to close the hill to foot traffic last month, those repairs won’t result in a widening of the walkway.
But city officials are now waiting to find out if a grant proposal made to senior governments has been accepted to spend more than $720,000 to build a stairway up to the Bench by connecting lower Eby St. with upper Eby St. This stairway would also have a channel running beside the staircase to better push bikes up the hill and maneuver them downhill.
Councillor Lynn Christiansen raised the matter of a staircase up Lanfear April 12 when council discussed the ongoing problems with Lanfear Hill, noting that a staircase proposal for Lanfear dates back to a city-commissioned report in 2009.
Such a staircase should now be the focus on city efforts, she said.
City development services director David Block told council the application was made for Eby St. because the city already has a design for the project, something required for an application to be considered.
If successful, Block said the city could then ask that the money be shifted instead to a staircase up Lanfear.
The estimated cost of the Eby St. staircase project is $721,451 with the city being required to cover 10 per cent of that amount.
As designed, the Eby St. staircase would be 266 steps rising 100 metres. The uncovered stairs would be made of aluminum with serrated treads providing a better grip for year-round use. A channel, called a rail, would be installed right beside the stairs to more easily maneuver bicycles up and down.
The 2009 study also said the Lanfear and Eby St. staircases should be lit for safer nighttime use.
That study also called for a raised crosswalk and appropriate signage at the base of the Lanfear Hill to alert motorists to pedestrians and cyclists crossing the road to use the Howe Creek Trail system.
”In the long-term install a pedestrian and cyclist activated crossing light at this location,” its authors added.