A bike lane for Keith Road between Brooksbank and Sutherland Avenues is still in the running, but District of North Vancouver councillors want to explore more options before settling on a plan for the road's redesign.
At a council meeting June 12, district staff presented one proposed reconfiguration of the busy arterial road. Instead of two vehicle lanes going either way, the new layout would see one lane going westbound with a marked bike lane, and one lane going eastbound with parking and some space for right-turn lanes.
Planner Erica Geddes explained that the main reason for taking out a westbound lane was to improve safety for drivers.
"The results of an independent study showed twice as many accidents going uphill (westbound) as going down," said Geddes. "Cars speed up to try to pass each other, and then there are intersections too; it makes sense there would be problems."
Based on the study by engineering firm Declan, taking out the passing lane will mean 20 per cent fewer accidents, said Geddes. Speeding should also be reduced.
But some North Vancouver drivers are worried the changes will slow traffic along the route.
Council reversed a previous decision to put a bike lane in and reduce the number of lanes in November 2011 after hearing concerns from the public.
But a survey posted on the district's website between November 2011 and May 2012, which was filled out by 392 people, showed there was also substantial support for the road changes. Sixty-two per cent of the respondents thought one lane should be removed.
The positive response tended to be waited toward cyclists, however, with 72 per cent of the survey-takers who said they were not cyclists wanting to keep the road the way it is now.
The bike lane proposal is part of a collaborative effort between the City and District of North Vancouver to revamp Keith.
While the city approved the option that removes one lane of westbound traffic and adds a bike lane, the district still needs to decide whether they want to go along with the plan.
While most District of North Vancouver councillors now agree a bike lane should be part of the new design, Coun. Mike Little said he would not support removing the traffic lane until decisions are made about another major road project.
"Until Lower Level Road is sorted out, I am not inclined to reduce extra eastwest capacity," said Little.
Mayor Richard Walton and Coun. Roger Bassam also asked whether removing the parking lane would free up more space for an extra lane for either cars, bikes, or both.
"I want two lanes, and a bike lane," said Bassam.
But Geddes responded that there simply wasn't enough space in the road for cars to get around stopped buses, and the removal of a parking lane for a traffic lane wouldn't help to slow down speeding cars.
Bassam also asked whether creating lay-bys for buses would be possible.
Lay-bys are portions of a road that are cut into the sidewalk or boulevard at bus stops, and take buses out of the flow of traffic while they are stopped.
TransLink and property owners would have to be consulted, said Geddes.
The consultation would add to the cost of the project, he said.
Council asked staff to look into the option of adding the lay-by feature to the road redesign.