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More restrictive parking proposed to curb Deep Cove traffic woes

The changes currently being discussed would give more priority to residents in the busy North Vancouver tourist hub

The District of North Vancouver appears to be driving in circles when it comes to addressing parking problems in Deep Cove, one of most touristy destinations on the North Shore.

Mayor and council gathered for a Monday evening workshop in hopes of creating new solutions for congestion issues that have only gotten worse despite past efforts to reduce traffic clog in the area.

Discussions at the workshop aired out short-term solutions like additional mixed resident-only and time-limited parking zones, along with better enforcement. Meanwhile, previously abandoned ideas like shuttles were pitched as worthy of a second look. If given the go-ahead by council, staff said these changes could be in place by the busy summer season.

The workshop began with a staff presentation, where emphasis was placed on balancing the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.

“No single group can get everything that they want,” said Peter Cohen, deputy general manager of engineering services for the district.

“Historically, in dealing with parking concerns, we’ve effectively looked at specific streets whenever a complaint arises and start investigating further,” he continued. “In Deep Cove particularly, all this is doing is moving the problem around to the next street, effectively creating a neighbour-versus-neighbour, street-by-street situation.”

Instead, Cohen said that staff are advocating that council view the issue with a holistic, “neighbourhood lens.”

The core updates proposed by staff included adding year-round resident-only parking on the northern section of Panorama Drive, starting a block north of Gallant Avenue, as well as another block of the same restrictions east of Deep Cove Park and west of Deep Cove Road.

Staff also suggested adding three larger blocks of parking where visitors would be limited to hourly parking, and residents would be exempt from those restrictions.

When council started discussing the ideas, a divide formed between those who believe residents’ needs should be put at the top of the list versus those who sought a more balanced approach.

Parking should favour residents more, some councillors say

Coun. Lisa Muri said she was intimately aware of the challenges faced in Deep Cove, as someone who has lived and worked in the community for many years. Striking a balance of needs in the area means allowing locals to return to Deep Cove and support businesses like they have for decades, she said.

“I’m a bit disappointed that the [resident parking only] is not a strict RPO. In most of the things that are outlined in your presentation, we’re still trying to have it both ways and we can’t,” Muri said. “You can look at Kitsilano, you can look at Horseshoe Bay. I’ve been giving those examples for years. They have strict RPO parking and they have commercial parking, and they have parking lots. And they do that because they don’t want people driving through the neighbourhood.”

Coun. Jordan Back said he thought that staff was doing a good job at striking a balance between the different groups that live in, work in and visit Deep Cove.

“I think we go too restrictive without offering alternatives to get to this area, and we’re only going to continue to have problems,” he said.

While staff previously stated that paid parking was not currently under consideration, Mayor Mike Little commented that there’s too much free parking in the area. He also questioned enforcement windows in the proposed zones.

“If you’re not starting enforcement till 10 a.m. and then they get three hours, that means you’re not actually in a position to potentially ticket someone until 1 p.m. in the afternoon,” Little said. “Either you need to shorten the total available hours from three down to two, or you need to start [enforcement] earlier and potentially go later.”

Coun. Catherine Pope said she supported more restrictive parking to address residents’ needs. “However, I feel at the end of the day, it’s not going to end the gong show that we have in Deep Cove. That is only going to get worse,” she said.

She proposed that staff consider shuttles on weekends.

“I know people have said, ‘Well, we tried shuttles before.’ But I think it’s time to try them again. I think people are just going to keep going to Deep Cove no matter what because it’s such a great place,” Pope said.

A date has not yet been set for the matter to come to a council meeting.