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St. Andrews Avenue still needs to be safer, say residents

St. Andrews Avenue has undergone changes to slow traffic and make the area safer for drivers and pedestrians alike, but the area still requires work, says residents and city council

Residents continue to call for further safety measures to be implemented on St. Andrews Avenue in North Vancouver.

While alterations have been made to the area already, including the completion of a sidewalk infill in 2021 and the implementation of a traffic calming component in 2022, residents are still pushing for better visibility and signage on the road.

Justin Hall, the city’s manager of public realm improvements, said the most recent physical changes to the street – making the street narrower, creating room for a new uphill mobility bike lane and moving the northbound parking lane over into the street – has resulted in a “reduction of between 10 to 16 per cent of drivers' speeds.”

But the feedback he has since received from the community focuses on the lack of short-term parking, and on driver confusion around sightlines, he said.

Ann McAlister, a St. Andrews resident, said she is in favour of a bike lane on the street but believes the current design to be in need of modification: the sightline for vehicles travelling down the alleys of the east side of St Andrews needs to be improved.

She also called for less “visual clutter” in the area, adding how the large number of signs give “too much information for any motorist to comprehend.”

City of North Vancouver Coun. Don Bell said the corners of the driving lanes close to the parking area on the side of the road “narrows the sightline down” and makes it difficult for drivers – let alone pedestrians who will also find navigating the area “scary.”

Bell proposed the bike lane be moved up onto the curb to help clear the line of vision, which Hall said had been considered, but was deemed too expensive.

“The cost of implementing such a design is extremely high, and we were looking to develop a design that we can implement quickly,” said Hall.

All touched on concerns for the safety of children in the area, who cross regularly on their journey to Ridgeway elementary. Buchanan echoed the sentiment, adding how she has since fielded concerns from local businesses and parents, and questioned whether removing parking spots would improve vision for drivers and pedestrians.

Other topics broached included what will continue to be done to manage speed in the area – whether the implementation of diversions and speed bumps is necessary – and how deliveries to businesses will be carried out safely and efficiently with the new bike lane in place.

Both council and residents put forward that further consultation with the community on the matter was needed, with Couns. Angela Gerard, Shervin Shahriari and Tony Valente asking what consultative approach will be taken in the future.

Valente acknowledged the need for virtual discussions during the pandemic, but pointed out how in-person, more intimate meetings should be utilized now there is opportunity to do so.

“I would really like to advocate that we try to do something in Sam Walker Park that is open. And if not there, maybe if the weather is not permitting at that time, then in some sort of format where we can really broadly engage folks and give them a chance to speak,” he said.

“I think how we engage is just as important as the end result we get to,” he said.

Shahriari said there should be engagement where “different points of view” can be expressed, with “one block hearing out the other block.”

Hall said a small group consultation will be the primary focus of his engagement from here, while a larger scale meeting is being considered. More information on the rollout of the program, he said, will come "in the new year." 

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