Major changes are planned for the Marine Drive-Main Street corridor in the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver to speed up the future North Shore B-Line rapid bus and 11 existing local bus routes that already use the route.
TransLink released its plans earlier this week for both municipalities, and the improvements revolve mainly around new bus-only lanes, turning lanes, and turning restrictions. Some bike lanes will also be introduced.
All of this will be done by maintaining two through-traffic lanes in each direction of the roadway by creating additional road space from pushing back curbs and sidewalks in some locations, shifting some lanes, reallocating some median space, and implementing some parking restrictions.
Relatively few on-street parking stalls will be eliminated, including a net loss of seven stalls in the Lonsdale Quay area to accommodate a left-turn bay, a large bus stop for the B-Line, and some bus route diversions. Some stalls will also be reduced on 3rd Street, but the public transit authority has yet to determine an exact number.
One of the more significant road design changes will be the westbound outside lane of Marine Drive between the Lions Gate Bridge and Taylor Way. This lane will be dedicated to buses and vehicles turning right onto Taylor Way to ensure buses do not get stuck in the area’s infamous congestion.
“In some sections, the changes for transit priority will create minor delays but in other areas there will be improved travel times for all vehicles,” reads the plan.
“The overall impact along the entire corridor is anticipated to be relatively unchanged for vehicles, given we are maintaining two regular traffic lanes in each direction.”
Significant upcoming retrofitting projects for the Lonsdale Quay bus loop and Phibbs Exchange will provide both facilities with added capacity to handle the rapid bus volumes.
Late last year, the public transit authority revealed its plans for the West Vancouver portion of the B-Line route, which called for a similar roadway standard with bus-only lanes and new turning lanes for the route from Park Royal to Dundarave. To achieve this, 15 parking spots will be reduced over a 20 city block stretch of West Vancouver.
However, in recent weeks, these plans have proven to be controversial for a vocal group of business owners and operators in the Ambleside area of the municipality. Another round of public consultation over the coming weeks will lead to a final decision over the matter by West Vancouver District Council in March.
On Thursday, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond told the Mayors’ Council in a public meeting that the North Shore B-Line’s western terminus will be relocated to Park Royal if West Vancouver rejects the street changes on its portion of Marine Drive.
According to TransLink, 89,000 people use the buses within North Vancouver City and District, with 46,000 people using the bus between Park Royal and Phibbs Exchange. It is anticipated the B-Line within this portion of the route will be up to 15 minutes faster than a local bus route.
In the last year, overall transit ridership increased by about 9% in the District and nearly 6% in the city.
The North Shore route is one of three new B-Line rapid bus routes that will be launched in the region later this year.
Here are the detailed Marine Drive-Main Street corridor designs: