In light of some vocal opposition from small businesses and residents, the District of West Vancouver is reviewing TransLink’s plans to convert one road lane in each direction on Marine Drive into a bus-only lane for the planned North Shore B-Line between Dundarave and Phibbs Exchange.
During Monday night’s heated city council meeting, individuals against the changes dominated the speakers’ list, with concerns ranging from traffic congestion as a result of the reduced lanes for private vehicles to the impact to Ambleside businesses from the planned parking reductions.
But TransLink believes the roadway design changes will benefit both the new rapid bus route and private vehicles, with new left turn bays created to separate vehicles left turning and through traffic.
Its traffic models indicate there will be a net reduction in travel times along Marine Drive for people who travel by car.
As well, the public transit authority says only 15 of the 766 on-street parking spots over a 20 city block stretch will be removed to accommodate the proposed changes.
“We are taking these [resident and business] concerns very seriously. This is not a done deal… council will make the final decision on this,” said West Vancouver Mayor Mary-Ann Booth, who noted that other municipalities on the North Shore will also be adopting similar bus-only lane restrictions and turning lane changes for their portion of the B-Line route along Marine Drive.
She also reminded the public audience and council that during last fall’s election campaign, transportation and traffic congestion was the number one issue for West Vancouver residents.
“Now we have a significant transit improvement proposal before us, which if turned down may not come along for another decade. So, council and the community needs time to carefully consider this proposal before we make a decision,” said Booth.
The district is now awaiting further ridership and detailed designs from TransLink, and it will convey that information to the community during a new public engagement and survey phase over the next four to six weeks.
Booth says Council is aiming to make a final decision on the plan sometime in March.
TransLink is planning to launch three new B-Line routes in the region in the fall of this year. The other two routes are along 41st Avenue between UBC and Joyce-Collingwood Station in Vancouver and along Lougheed Highway between Coquitlam Central Station and Maple Ridge.
A fourth B-Line route along Fraser Highway from King George Station to Langley Centre was cancelled late last year following the decision to advance a Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension sooner than scheduled.
Instead, funding for the Fraser Highway B-Line infrastructure will go towards improving the existing 96 B-Line running along the route of the cancelled Surrey Newton-Guildford LRT, but no timeline has been provided for this B-Line upgrade.
Similar new bus-only lanes, turning lane changes, traffic signal priority, and special bus shelter standards are being adopted for all new B-Line routes.
- West Vancouver businesses against new bus-only lanes for North Shore B-Line
- North Shore B-Line will run from Dundarave to Phibbs Exchange (MAP)
- Real-time displays, WiFi, and enhanced buses and stops coming to B-Line routes
- TransLink rebranding all B-Line buses with new blue and green paint design
- 6 more B-Line rapid bus routes planned by TransLink