More than two years after 80-year-old pedestrian Gwen Chisholm was killed in a hit and run, the upgrades to Roberton Boulevard are finally complete.
The upgrades were undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to improve the safety of the pedestrian walkway along Roberton Boulevard.
The pathway is a mixture of off-road trails with added pavement markings to delineate shoulders to separate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicle traffic, according to the ministry. Work also included re-configuring the Lakes Boulevard intersection, improving pedestrian signs along the corridor, and adding new crosswalks at Morningstar Drive, Lakes Boulevard, and near the existing golf cart crossing.
The total project cost $150,000.
Work began last summer, according to the ministry, and pavement was completed this spring.
When the upgrades were announced in December, 2016 — close to a year after the fatal accident — by Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, work was expected to be completed the following summer.
Stilwell said there was a little bit of a delay with the work because of the weather.
She said it’s a good improvement for the area as it’s “providing that safety for pedestrians to now have a pathway to walk on.”
Just months before Chisholm’s death, she was involved in a movement calling for safer streets in the Morningstar area.
She was the third person to sign a petition ultimately garnering 169 signatures in November of 2015.
The petition read: “There is a most urgent need to improve safety for walkers and bikers in our community with the installation of a proper sidewalk, speed bumps on the road or very visible road markings indicating a slow speed and to watch for pedestrians and bikers.”
In January of 2016, Regional District of Nanaimo Director Joe Stanhope made a motion asking that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure be requested to “recognize the unique urban nature of Roberton Boulevard within electoral area G and take immediate action to install traffic calming measures to reduce the speed limit and install improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians”
The board passed the motion at the time.