The recent decision by the District of North Vancouver Council to abandon the proposed lane changes on East Keith Road between Sutherland and Brooksbank Avenues is more than just a lost opportunity to reduce speeding and collisions and improve safety. The decision amounts to a flagrant misuse of taxpayers' money, and it puts into question the planned massive densification in the Lower Lynn area.
The Keith review process started more than a year ago when the city and district of North Vancouver hosted an open house and collected feedback about several possible lane marking options for the road. Feedback from that event, together with traffic studies, supported reconfiguring Keith from two uphill car lanes to one uphill car lane and one bike lane.
District of North Vancouver council then asked engineering staff to host a second open house and to study the impact of the planned Low Level Road construction on Keith Road. So an engineering firm was contracted by the district to carry out the additional analysis.
The result of that study, which anticipated no significant impact from Low Level Road construction closures on Keith Road uphill traffic, did not seem to please several councillors. They promptly ignored the study, despite having requested it.
The 4: 3 decision by council to go back to the previous two uphill lanes was guided by anecdotes and emotions, while the evidence from the repeated traffic studies and public input were ignored. The process that led to this decision lacked public accountability and shows contempt for staff resources and taxpayers' money.
If Keith Road is an indication of how council arrives at decisions, there is little hope that the district's newly minted Official Community Plan will be successfully implemented.
And if Coun. Roger Bassam thinks that the Seylynn highrise development should proceed without putting in adequate alternatives to car use, district residents can look forward to nothing but major congestion from the planned densification of Lower Lynn.
Jay MacDonald Chair, HUB North Shore Committee