A joint project in Richmond, B.C., between the City of Richmond and TransLink has local officials expecting improved transportation links through the city center and to a new 37-acre waterfront park.

The $13.2-million River Parkway project will begin Nov. 23 under the project management of M2K Construction Ltd., the same firm leading the work.

“The opening of River Parkway will provide a huge improvement to traffic flow throughout north Richmond,” says Malcolm Brodie, Richmond mayor, in a statement. “It will provide a great new option for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians traveling to and through the city center. It will also facilitate eventual development of the new Lulu Island Park.”

The project involves extending River Parkway north from Gilbert Road, along the former railway corridor to Cambie Road near No. 3 Road. It is a key component in fulfilling Richmond’s City Centre Area Plan, which calls for the creation of a comprehensive network of additional links in and around the downtown area to improve traffic mobility and alleviate congestion on existing routes.

TransLink, the local mass transit authority, will contribute about $2.55 million toward the cycling and pedestrian components of the overall project.

“Our mandate is to make it easier for people to get around the region regardless of how they travel,” says Kevin Desmond, TransLink CEO, in a statement. “The River Parkway project will build some great new walking and cycling connections, and help people connect to Canada Line (a SkyTrain light rail).”

Richmond officials say that extending River Parkway will enhance traffic operations by eliminating an interim River Road connection next to Dinsmore Bridge and improve overall traffic circulation in the city center by providing a continuous viable alternate route to No. 3 Road and existing River Road. By improving access to Lulu Island Park and other nearby properties, Richmond expects to help facilitate future improvements in the area.

River Parkway will initially comprise of a two-lane road and separate bike lanes protected from vehicle lanes by delineator posts. Additional project elements include paved walkways for pedestrians, a signalized connection at Leslie Road, new traffic signals with universally accessible crosswalks at all intersections, new streetlights along its length and an off-street, multi-use path on the south side of Cambie Road to enhance pedestrian and cycling access between the Middle Arm Greenway, River Parkway and the Aberdeen Canada Line Station.

This portion of the project should be completed in 2020.

In the future, as redevelopment of abutting properties happens, the city expects the project to extend to a four-lane major arterial road with a center median, curb and gutter, treed boulevard, off-street bike paths and sidewalks.

Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb