COQUITLAM, B.C., Oct. 26, 2021 – Following extensive public feedback and technical work, the City of Coquitlam is advancing plans to extend the popular Coquitlam Crunch Trail.
Known as the Coquitlam Crunch South Extension, the proposed trail will run along a hydro corridor on City lands south of the Barnet Highway from Dewdney Trunk up the slope to Mariner Way connecting to Mundy Park. The planned extension could include amenities such as washrooms, parking, and stairs in steeper sections.
The proposed extension is part of a long-term plan to expand the Crunch Trail network, providing more outdoor fitness options to residents in central and southeast Coquitlam, and to create connectivity to other existing City parks and trails.
Public Supportive of Trail Extension
More than 1,500 people responded to an open survey that was available at letstalkcoquitlam.ca/crunch with approximately 88 per cent identifying as current Crunch users.
Respondents indicated the main preferences for the future trail include easy access, parking, safe street crossings and well-maintained trails.
Staff are also engaged with neighbours surrounding the proposed extension corridor through neighbourhood-focused survey questions. While half of neighbours who responded had no concerns about the proposed extension, there is a recognition that parking, safe pedestrian crossings, traffic mitigation and environmental protection were important.
An infographic summarizing the feedback from the first round of engagement is available at letstalkcoquitlam.ca/crunch.
Staff are working to develop detailed design and anticipate a second round of public engagement in early 2022 to gather feedback. Anyone interested in this engagement opportunity is encouraged to sign up for project updates at letstalkcoquitlam.ca/crunch.
Preliminary Design Addresses Complex Issues
There are several complex issues to take into consideration for the proposed Coquitlam Crunch Extension including:
- Steep terrain that makes trail and parking access a challenge
- Riparian areas, trees and wildlife
- Major utilities located in the area
- Potential indigenous heritage sites
In order to address these unique concerns, the preliminary design took a few months longer than anticipated. This extra time allowed for:
- Preliminary design for supporting amenities (e.g. access from parking lots to trail heads, washrooms) and exploring all possible locations for off-street parking.
- An Archaeological Overview Assessment (AOA) of the area, which found a low potential for undetected archaeological sites.
- Environmental studies including a tree survey and watercourse assessment.
As a result of this work, the primary trailhead location will take advantage of the existing Charles Best Secondary School joint-use agreement, which allows the public to park and access washrooms at Charles Best Field.
A secondary parking lot will provide 30 stalls away from residential streets on City parkland along the south side of Dewdney Trunk Road. The plans for this parking area will tie into future plans for road improvements and the addition of a multi-use pathway (MUP) along Dewdney Trunk Road.
It is anticipated that following a second round of public engagement in early 2022, final design and budget will be brought for Council approval in spring 2022 for construction to begin in late summer 2022.
A Long Term Plan to Expand the Crunch
In 2017, the City engaged the community and heard from over 1,700 people, including residents and Crunch users, regarding proposed improvements to the Crunch. The following year, informed by that input, the City developed the Coquitlam Crunch Trail and Expansion Plan (2018-2023).
The Plan envisions that the Coquitlam Crunch Trail would eventually connect to Eagle Mountain in the north and to Mundy Park in the south, with future connections ultimately reaching the Fraser River.
Addressing Increased Visitor Numbers
A long-time destination for fitness enthusiasts, the existing Crunch trail typically sees as many as 52,000 people each month during peak season. However, increased use during the pandemic has created parking and road safety issues.
The City has been working with neighbours of the existing Crunch trail and have implemented several measures in response. Plans for viewing decks and exercise equipment areas have been deferred until after the extension trail is operational.
Additionally, in fall 2021 a number of improvements to the existing trail opened including:
- Paving the Lansdowne Drive parking lot and more than doubling capacity to 60 parking stalls in order to reduce on-street parking;
- Installing a grant-funded digital sign to provide real-time stall counts which will reduce idling and in-and-out traffic;
- A new paved pathway on the west side of the parking lot access road;
- New gravel trails connecting the parking lot to the existing Crunch trail; and
- Trail improvements south of the parking lot to provide a more direct paved connection for pedestrians to the recently built crosswalk at Guildford Way.
The proposed Coquitlam Crunch South Extension will expand the trail to the southeast Coquitlam area, providing additional capacity for residents to enjoy the outdoor recreation amenity throughout the city.
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