Infrastructure Improvement Highlights from 2021

January 20, 2022   

As 2021 came to a close, the Engineering, Parks & Environment team took the opportunity to reflect on the progress against Council’s past capital commitment to the City. In 2021, the team was able to advance dozens of infrastructure improvements on our streets and in our parks that enable our community to feel safer and supported in how they move and use our public spaces.

Highlights of their work include the following.

Street Upgrades

  • Esplanade Complete Street project had significant public consultation with over 3,000 visits to the Let's Talk page. Staff used feedback from this and other means to influence and shape the design to address themes of safety, speeding and enforcement, accessible and inclusive design, and on-street parking and curb access. The project has now advanced into construction with active work between Mahon and Chesterfield. 
  • Replacement of the Mosquito Creek Bridge which brings the end of life infrastructure up to modern seismic standards and provides safety and travel improvements for cyclists, pedestrians, transit users, and drivers. The new trail connection under Marine Drive is a significant addition to the recreation and active transportation network in the area.
  • Supporting the Open Streets initiative through actions such as winterizing parklets, adding seating, replacing temporary materials, and regular maintenance. 

Pedestrian Realm

  • Improvements for Queensbury Elementary School under the Active and Safe Routes to School Plan by completing over 650 metres of new sidewalk, and making a direct connection from the Green Necklace to the school entrance. 
  • Sidewalk construction as part of the St Andrew's Safety Improvement Project.
  • Prioritization of missing and deficient sidewalk segments along the RapidBus and high frequency transit corridor. With 50% funding support from TransLink, segments in the 300 Block St Patricks and 100 block Chesterfield were completed.
  • Intersection safety improvements on popular walking routes to school as part of the Active and Safe Routes to School. Corner bulges and delineators were installed at Westview Elementary, St Edmunds Elementary, Holy Trinity Elementary, Carson Graham Secondary, Sutherland Secondary, and Queen Mary Elementary.

Bus Speed, Reliability, and Accessibility

  • Two problem areas for transit delays within the City (as identified by the 2019 Bus Speed and Reliability Review) were addressed by installing dedicated transit lanes southbound on the 1300 Block of Jones Avenue and westbound on Keith Road approaching Bewicke Avenue.
  • In 2021, the City regained the top spot for highest proportion of accessible bus stops in the Metro Vancouver region at 95% by adding new concrete platforms that create space for wheeled mobility device users to board the bus at three stops.

Intersection Safety

  • The City’s Traffic Engineering team that monitors, evaluates and implements changes to improve safety of all road users in the transportation network delivered improvements to 37 intersections across the City including: 
    • 2 new traffic signals
    • 7 new pedestrian activated flashers
    • 14 newly lit intersections
    • 11 signalized intersections now include leading pedestrian intervals
    • 11 new raised crosswalks and sets of speed humps to slow driver speeds
    • countless minor adjustments to signal timing to make intersections safer and more efficient

Mobility Network and Greenways

  • Improvements for Brooksbank Avenue which including repaving and improvements for all road users, such as dedicated turning lanes and separated bike lanes.
  • Lights were added to the central path through Grand Boulevard Park, bringing year round safety and comfort for users.
  • The Upper Levels Greenway project began preliminary planning for a very collaborative engagement north of Highway 1 to identify route options.
  • Based on public and stakeholder feedback staff identified and addressed two mobility network conflict hotspots on Chesterfield and East Keith.

Parks, Recreation and the Natural Environment

  • City parks staff focused on improvements at three parks in 2021: Greenwood Park and Kealey Woods, Hamersley Park, and Mahon Park. Improvements included everything from forest and trail rehabilitation to installation of beach volleyball courts.
  • park master plan for Kings Mill Walk was developed to renew and improve the park in response to the growing Harbourside and Marine Drive neighbourhoods. The plan includes shoreline and habitat restoration, mitigation of the effects of sea level rise, and enhancements to the North Shore Spirit Trail and the off-leash area.
  • A concept plan for a new park at 1612 Eastern Avenue was completed, with many playful features such as an in ground trampoline, water feature, hammocks, and porch swings,
  • The City’s Environment team hosted 386 volunteers at 21 events in eight parks for a combined 1,209 volunteer hours. These events included invasive species removal and new plantings. Combined with the Living City Tree Planting program for street trees, 1,953 trees and shrubs were added to the City’s urban tree canopy.


  • The Utilities Section completed the reconstruction and upgrade of 1,132 metres of underground pipe, including 642 metres of water, 168 metres of sanitary sewer, and 322 metres of storm.
  • Crews decommissioned a water main on West Esplanade originally constructed in 1911, reducing the risk of utility network failures.
  • In order to maintain adequate and safe water flow, three key blocks on St Andrews had their connection to the Greenwood reservoir upgraded.

Supporting Development

  • Development Services brought forward a range of amendments to City bylaws and regulations to reduce processing times by simplifying requirements and creating more predictable outcomes from the review process.
  • Through process improvements and efficiencies refined in the review process, staff have been able significantly reduce the permit backlog and increase output.
  • The utility team made over 300 connections and severances between the Water, Sanitary, and Storm water crews to keep development moving in the City. 
  • The Streets team invested considerable effort to catch up on a backlog of off-site construction commitments caused in part by the impacts of COVID-19 on the 2020 construction season. Sidewalk crews placed 400 cubic metres of concrete, or the equivalent to 2.3 kilometres of sidewalks. 
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