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More trees, lighting around Evergreen stations

Big changes are planned for three of Coquitlam's busiest streets with the coming of the Evergreen Line.

Big changes are planned for three of Coquitlam's busiest streets with the coming of the Evergreen Line.

Using the Canada Line as a model, Coquitlam city staff on Monday showed the first of many examples of how North and Clarke roads and Pinetree Way will look when the rapid transit line is built in four years.

At Monday's council-in-committee meeting, Ian Radnidge, the city's manager of the Evergreen Line project, described how the three main streets that are to carry the elevated portions of the rapid transit line will be transformed into more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly zones, and how cars and public transit will flow around the Burquitlam and City Centre stations.

The drawings show tree-lined streets with extra on-street parking, landscaping, curb bulges, more lighting and wide sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists to access Evergreen Line easily. As well, there will be multi-use paths under the guideways and, for drivers, more turning bays and better signals.

Radnidge also touched on Coquitlam Centre's plans for future commercial buildings on its property on the west side of Pinetree (a representative of Morguard Investments, which manages the mall, was not available for comment Tuesday).

But Radnidge did not mention in his presentation what the city intends to do with its vacant land along Pinetree nor was there discussion about park-and-ride locations or washrooms at stations - a topic that came up last year at city council.

City council peppered Radnidge with a number of questions about the plans, including the need for pedestrian overpasses as well as adding components for the disabled.

Coun. Selina Robinson, who chairs the city's universal access-ability advisory committee, said council has been pressing developers building close to Evergreen stations to include adaptable units in their housing.

As well, she suggested the city include bike sensors at intersections, as in Richmond, to give approaching cyclists priority.

Radnidge said a number of refinements will happen as the plans progress to ensure the three corridors are "visually softened" as the area around the Evergreen Line build out.

Already, several projects are underway ahead of construction, with buildings along Clarke slated for demolition, hydro work happening underground and overhead, and North Road being widened.

The provincial government is to announce the Evergreen Line builder this summer.

Meanwhile, the city plans to hold open houses next month to gauge feedback on its new transit-oriented development strategy around Evergreen; the street enhancement drawings will also be available. No date has been set yet for those meetings.

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