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West Van puts brakes on one-block bike lane in Dundarave

Proposal stopped in its tracks after residents voice concerns over losing on-street parking
West Vancouver council has rejected a proposal for a westbound bike lane between 25th and 26th streets on Marine Drive. The current bike lane starts at 26th Street and continues to 31st Street. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

West Vancouver council has hit the brakes on a proposal to build a one-block bike lane on Marine Drive in Dundarave between 25th and 26th streets.

The majority of council voted at their last public meeting in March to reject a staff proposal to build a one-block westbound bike lane on the north side of Marine Drive, after residents who live on the street voiced concerns about losing on-street parking.

The proposal for the bike lane was first suggested last year, as a way to extend an existing bike lane that runs along Marine Drive from 26th to 31st streets.

According to a staff report, an uphill grade on the section of road between 25th and 26th streets slows cyclists down and can result in driver frustration when they can’t pass cyclists on the uphill stretch, increasing the risk of collision.

Building a bike lane would cost between $10,000 and $15,000 and would mean permanently removing the parking on the north side of the street, according to the report.

Last June, staff met with residents who voiced concerns about losing parking on the north side of street. Residents said removing parking on the north side of the street would cause parking on the south side of the street to quickly clog up.

In response, staff changed the proposal to include resident-only parking on the south side of the street and a two-hour parking time limit during daytime hours for others.

But at the council meeting March 11, several residents showed up to tell council they still didn’t like the idea of losing parking for a bike lane.

Eileen Wright said construction in Dundarave Village means there’s already pressure on parking in the area.

“This is our neighbourhood. It’s supposed to be residential,” said resident Liz Lynch, adding many homes in the area have shared driveways making it impossible to park in them.

Don Wright also quoted from an email response he received from Mayor Mark Sager on the issue, assuring him “there is no support for putting the bike lane in.”

Other people spoke in favour of the bike lane.

Cyclist Peter Scholefield said the current situation is a safety hazard for cyclists that’s led to him avoiding that section of road.

Alexis Chicoine, who uses a powered wheelchair, told council bike lanes aren’t just for bikes, but are important for a range of users, including people with mobility challenges.

“Please don’t listen to the few,” she said. “Listen to the many who are using these bike lanes.”

Coun. Nora Gambioli spoke in favour of the bike lane. “It’s difficult to remove space from cars in our society. Especially in this town,” she said, adding “The roads are public space and should be available to all of us. Not just people who own cars and need to park cars.”

Gambioli urged her council colleagues to “walk the talk” on improving transportation options.

But most other members of council said they’d prefer to see bike traffic routed down to Bellevue Street as a safer and more common-sense solution. The proposed bike lane was voted down by most of council.