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West Vancouver residents call for better Eagle Harbour bus service

Too many kids getting driven to Rockridge Secondary, petition says
Rockridge Sec Traffic MW Web
Eagle Harbour resident Gavin Froome stands outside of Rockridge Secondary as a parade of parents drop off their kids in the early morning, on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Froome has launched a petition seeking better bus service.

A growing group of West Vancouver residents say they’re tired of missing the bus – specifically the 262.

Almost 300 people have signed a petition calling on TransLink to extend the 262 bus through Marine Drive, giving neighbours in Eagle Harbour and Gleneagles access to shopping, services and Rockridge Secondary in Caulfeild above.

The 262, which links Lions Bay to Caulfeild via Horseshoe Bay, used to run along Marine Drive. It now goes straight from Horseshoe Bay to the Upper Levels Highway.

“There are no bus stops on the highway, obviously, and there are no passengers up there,” Froome said. “The whole point of transit is to service the people in the communities and right now, that bus is bypassing 3,500 people on the low road.”

Currently, the only transit option would be to take the 250 bus to Horseshoe Bay, which is 15 minutes in the wrong direction, and then transfer to the 262. Walking to Caulfeild via Westport Road and the Great Trail would be a strenuous 60 minutes uphill.

“It's a nightmare walk, and it just seems ridiculous to have to take two buses to get to a place that’s just above your neighbourhood,” he said.

The lack of attractive alternatives is evident in the parade of SUVs into and out of Rockridge Secondary each morning, Froome said.

“I’ve seen these traffic jams outside every high school in West Van,” he said. “I think it's like a cultural problem where we're sort of helicoptering kids to school when they should be learning how to navigate the world on their own, and it's hard to navigate the world when there aren't transit options available.”

(In his day, being seen getting a drop-off from your parents wasn’t worth the social ramifications that would surely follow, Froome noted.)

Beyond making the residents more car dependent, the lack of bus service flies in the face of climate goals, Froome said, and changing the 262’s route would open up the Gleneagles Community Centre, beaches, Gleneagles Golf course and restaurants in his neighbourhood to the residents of Lions Bay and Caulfeild, he added.

“To me, it's a no-brainer to flip that switch and get that route tweaked,” he said.

Froome said he’s acutely aware of West Vancouver’s reputation when it comes to expanding transit service. In 2019, council voted unanimously to stop the R2 RapidBus from going beyond Park Royal. But, he added, he and the rest of his neighbours signing the petition show there is an appetite for change on a cultural level.

“If you're complaining about traffic, you are traffic,” he said. “We need to make an effort to get out of our cars, and this is one way to do it."

In a statement, TransLink acknowledged the petition.

“Route 262 is a community shuttle route operated by West Vancouver Municipal Transit. TransLink has proposed changes to route 262 in the past to better serve the communities of Caulfeild and Westmount. However, after a thorough community engagement, these changes were not implemented due to a lack of support,” it read. “TransLink is open to working with our municipal partners to improve West Vancouver transit service, and we are open to exploring how to better serve these neighbourhoods as part of a future Transit Network Review or an updated Area Transit Plan.”