The proposal for extending the Spirit Trail through a section of Ambleside on an interim basis hit a U-turn Monday after debate amongst councillors and the public.
District staff proposed changing the angled parking on Argyle Avenue between 13th and 16th streets to parallel parking, creating a larger space and safer situation for pedestrians, cyclists and other trail users.
Raymond Fung, director of engineering and transportation, said there has been a surge in pedestrian and cyclist traffic along those streets.
"We have a mix and a jumble of different situations along this corridor and it's going to take a while to sort out some sort of a permanent routing of the Spirit Trail in this area," said Fung. Fung said an interim standard would improve on the current situation with minimal changes to the current road configuration. John McMahon, manager of roads and facilities for the district, said the estimated cost of the project is around $80,000.
"We originally called this our bucket of paint solution," he said, describing the plan as a temporary low-cost solution that would make it clearer to the users "who's supposed to go where.
"One of the main benefits is that it extends the Spirit Trail through an area that has a lot of conflict right now. What we've tried to do is find the best compromise that still provides all the access for all types of users."
McMahon said there would be a loss of between 13 to 28 parking spots by switching from angled to parallel parking.
Bob Wickham, former West Vancouver councillor, told council he was supportive of the idea.
"The removal of the angled parking I think is important because many people come down Argyle looking for a parking spot and that creates a significant amount of congestion now because of the competition with pedestrians and cyclists," said Wickham.
But not everyone agreed that removing parking spaces from Ambleside was a good idea.
Coun. Michael Lewis said the loss of parking was a mistake.
"I just don't believe it's going to work. I don't believe it's as big a problem as we're suggesting it might be today in terms of problems that exist down there," said Lewis. "I don't see anything that quantifies number of accidents, number of injuries, any of those sorts of things. What I do know is there's going to be a whole lot of construction, there's going to be a whole lot of parking going offline for a period of time and I don't think we should contribute by taking an additional (13 to 28) spots out of the loop."
Mayor Michael Smith said the loss of parking in Ambleside would be huge and was not fair to local merchants.
"This has been going on for 40 years - we have been doing interim measures along Argyle and this is spending $80,000 of public money on another interim measure," said Smith.
While the district had purchased some of the waterfront properties along Argyle, Smith said he is doggedly committed to acquiring the final three.
"I think we need to acquire those properties and make a proper plan with what we're going to do with cyclists, pedestrians, traffic, parking, the whole thing has got to be wrapped up," said Smith. "To spend $80,000 on a band-aid solution, put a line down the road, is in my opinion short sighted and we cannot afford to lose those (parking) spaces."
Council rejected the proposed interim Spirit Trail.
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