Public wants U-District to be a ‘complete community’

Transportation among the challenges facing planners of city's first neighbourhood plan.

Artist's conceptual vision of the U-District.

Arts and entertainment venues and public gathering places were priorities for those who attended a public consultation for the UDistrict Project that aims to build a vibrant neighbourhood around the University of the Fraser Valley.

The project, which is a collaboration between the City of Abbotsford and UFV, formally began in the spring with a public event. The plan has now moved into its second “choices and direction” stage, with planners releasing a 76-page report this week.

The hope is to present preferred concepts to city council and the UFV Board of Governors in December, with an eye towards a final public hearing and approval by April of 2016.

The report suggests that the UDistrict – a 365-acre plot of land that includes the university and surrounding land – could see its population grow from 3,200 people to around 5,650 people by 2040, with the area also becoming a commercial and research and development hub.

At the April consultation event the public expressed hope for a “walkable, mixed-use and complete community” where people can “live, work, shop and play.”

But making those dreams come true will require planners to overcome some challenges.

The report notes that the area’s current structure, with large block sizes and limited street-fronting buildings “does not encourage walking.”

To improve, the report recommends further developing east-west street corridors between McCallum and McKenzie roads and making King Road more pedestrian-friendly, with wider sidewalks and street parking.

There are also a lack of bike facilities in the area, with the report recommending a better connection across the highway to allow cyclists to avoid the McCallum Road roundabout. The report also noted that many UFV students and staff don’t have a direct bus they can take to the campus.

The UDistrict is the city’s first neighbourhood plan. The report notes that the area has 265 acres of re-developable land, although it does not explain where, exactly, that land is located.

The report does note that “the greatest opportunity for integrating the campus with the community exists within the northern portion of the campus lands adjacent to the city.”

Another public event is expected in October to solicit more feedback on concepts for the neighbourhood’s design. A date has not yet been set.

For more about the Abbotsford UDistrict, visit udistrictabbotsford.com.

Just Posted

Abbotsford Police former media officer retires from force after 22 years

Const. Ian MacDonald spent eight years as public information officer

Does the season make you blue? It could be SAD

Seasonal affective disorder can result in mood and health changes

Abbotsford’s Buttar, Kahlon named to all-rookie team

Cascades first year players earn U Sports nods after stellar debut seasons

Carol Young, an artist who fought for timely cancer treatment in Abbotsford, dies before first solo show

B.C. Haida artist’s exhibit to open Saturday at downtown Seattle gallery

Paramedics respond to two-car crash in Abbotsford

Sedan and SUV collided just after 10 a.m. on Ash Street

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Most Read