Changes afoot

The section of the Okanagan Rail Trail between Gordon Drive and Ellis Street in downtown Kelowna will soon be converted from a gravel path to a paved one.

Cyclists on the Okanagan Rail Trail will soon have a smoother and safer ride to Kelowna’s downtown waterfront.

The pebbly portion of the trail leading to Okanagan Lake from Gordon Drive is to be paved and intersection improvements undertaken at Gordon and Clement Avenue.

The Rail Trail is one of the city’s most popular cycling and hiking corridors, with an average daily user count of nearly 600 people, according to automated counters along the path. Usage spikes considerably on fine summer days, like Saturday, when 1,436 people used the path.

The trail is paved from Gordon north toward the UBC Okanagan campus, but the section between Gordon and the lake was opened last fall only as a gravel path.

A better bike connection from Ethel Street to Okanagan College is also being planned.

Almost $240,000 is available for city bike projects from Bike BC.

“The advancing of active transportation continues to be a priority for us,” said Coun. Gail Given.

The Okanagan Rail Trail stretches from Coldstream, immediately south of Vernon, to downtown Kelowna, a distance of almost 50 kilometres. However, there is a middle section, from north of Kelowna’s airport to central Lake Country, that is not yet open for public use.