White Rock rejects idea to narrow Marine Drive into a single lane for patios

May 6 2021, 5:57 pm

An idea to reduce Marine Drive on White Rock’s iconic commercial waterfront into an eastbound-only, single-lane road for expanded restaurant patio spaces has been deemed to be too costly, disruptive, and unsafe.

Last week, White Rock City Council soundly rejected all options, following the recommendations of city staff, which stated the roadway’s existing bi-directional configuration is an important collector route serving more than just the restaurants along the beach.

City staff noted that while any one-way, single-lane configuration is undesirable, the closure of the westbound lane — the side of the street with businesses — would have fewer negative consequences than closing the eastbound lane, which is closest to the beach and parking lot entrances.

“The relocation of the westbound travel lane to the south side of the street to facilitate patio space adjacent to restaurants poses a serious safety risk both at the transition points and along its full length. This would be especially significant during nighttime hours when drivers could become disoriented,” reads a city staff report.

“Pedestrians could be confused and look the wrong way when crossing the street not expecting that westbound vehicles are shifted to the usual eastbound lanes.”

Access from a shifted lane would also not be possible for the parking lots due to the resulting tight turning radius for the westbound lane on the south side of the street, and TransLink bus routes on the street would need to be rerouted.

Delivery vehicles unloading for businesses along the strip would also block the only remaining lane for vehicle traffic.

It is estimated the less impactful option of closing the westbound direction is $50,000 for traffic management equipment, not including 24-hour flagging costs of at least $1,000 per day.

City staff also explored the possibility of implementing staffed barricades on Friday evenings and throughout the weekend, with crews closing Marine Drive from Oxford Street to Maple Street when parking capacity is reached. This would carry a cost of up to $40,000 for each three-day cycle.

white rock marine drive westbound lane closure option

Westbound lane closure option for Marine Drive. (White Rock)

white rock marine drive westbound lane closure option

Westbound lane closure option for Marine Drive. (White Rock)

white rock marine drive westbound lane closure option

Westbound lane closure option for Marine Drive. (White Rock)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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