A contentious project continues to move ahead.
Vernon council gave early 2013 budget approval Wednesday to the second phase of the Polson Greenway on 29th Street from 41st to 43rd avenues. The price tag is $1 million.
“I’ve had letters from people who want to use this pathway to get to the mall or downtown,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe.
The first phase went from 43rd to 48th avenues and it drew widespread opposition from merchants along the route.
Beyond replacing underground works and road resurfacing, the second phase will include sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
“The 29th Street project s totally motivated by reducing traffic on 27th and 32nd streets,” said Rob Dickinson, engineering services manager.
The Polson Greenway has been described as the city’s highest priority when it comes to managing traffic.
“We had a plan in 2008 and we owe it to the community to finish the project. We need a north-south connector,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.
However, some doubts have surfaced about the plan as a result of the first phase.
“I haven’t seen a dramatic increase in traffic on 29th Street and there’s maybe been less,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
“I don’t see a lot of people walking and riding bikes.”
Coun. Bob Spiers raised his hand in opposition to the second phase.
“This is not a required project in this day and age. This is a cosmetic program,” he said.
Council will continue to discuss the 2013 budget Thursday and Friday.