The City of Duncan will paint two railway-themed crosswalks on Canada Avenue, near the railway that snakes through the community, to recognize the importance of the rail line in the city’s history.
Council gave the green light for the project to proceed at its meeting on May 17 after receiving a letter from the Cowichan Historical Society requesting a number of railway-themed crosswalks be installed after a society member saw similar ones on roadways in Squamish.
The two crosswalks to be repainted are at Canada Avenue and Kenneth Street, and at Canada Avenue and Station Street, across from the Cowichan Valley Museum.
The city will also re-paint the set of footprints, that show the way to downtown’s iconic totem poles, in front of the museum so that the footprints both enter, and exit, the main museum doors.
A letter from the Cowichan Historical Society to the city requesting the railway-themed crosswalks said the crosswalks “would fold the importance of the E&N railway in the City of Duncan’s history”.
“It would also raise the profile of the federally heritage designated Duncan Train Station building, and draw attention to the museum inside,” the letter said.
As for repainting the footprints in front of the museum, the letter said that, currently, the footprints continue right past the door of the Cowichan Valley Museum, and so discourage traffic into the museum where there is a Simon Charlie totem pole, as well as a portrait of the noted carver.
“Our society would like to see an increase in the number of visitors to the museum,” the letter said.
“Redoing the crosswalks and the footprints might encourage both local community members and out-of-town tourists into the museum doors and view the galleries therein.”
A staff report by Brian Murphy, the city’s director of public works and engineering, said the cost to repaint the thermoplastic zebra-stripe crosswalk bars at the two crosswalks will be $1,440, but that would have had to be done this year or next regardless as part of the city’s maintenance scheduling.
Murphy said the cost to add the parallel lines on each crosswalk to mimic a railway theme will be less than $200.
Before council voted to move forward with the projects, Coun. Tom Duncan asked if plaques, similar to the ones that explain the totem poles downtown, might be placed on the outside walls of the museum close to the railway-themed crosswalks.
“I don’t know how much that would cost, but it would be nice if people could see why the crosswalks look like train tracks,” he said.
Murphy said his department would take the suggestion into consideration as an additional item.