Bike lanes in, hedge creature out (for now)

Work is set to begin on some significant changes to Lynn Valley Road leading into the town centre.

The District of North Vancouver will soon be installing separated bike lanes on either side of the road between the Morgan Road and Mollie Nye Way.

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In a pilot project for the district, the bike lanes will be separated by “flexible delineators” similar to the bollards found in parking garages to direct drivers.

Gavin Joyce, director of parks, engineering and facilities for the district, said this was the best option available without having to expropriate land.

“We’re quite land challenged in the district. There’s always competing interests so, certainly when we have pedestrians, vehicle, cycling – it’s a challenge for us on our road right-of-ways,” he said. “With the use of these delineators, we’re not taking any more space because they’re going to go right on the painted line for the bike lane, so we’re able to keep the widths for the sidewalks, the vehicle lanes and the median without reducing any of them,” he said.

To accommodate the new lanes, the city will have to remove the existing boulevard on Lynn Valley Road, including the trees and treasured “hedge creature” that greets people as they make their way into Lynn Valley.

“It’s one of those things that the community seems to appreciate. We’re aware of that,” Joyce said. “So I’m sure we’ll try to make some accommodations somehow.”

The total cost of the project is $1.35 million but that includes updated street lighting and redoing the median with new hedges and trees.

The project is being done to co-ordinate with the City of North Vancouver’s new Green Necklace bike lanes running around the perimeter of Grand Boulevard.

“On the North Shore, we’re trying to put together, bit by bit, the bicycle network. There is a network and every time there’s construction, that’s one of the things we think about to try and seize those opportunities and fill in the gaps,” Joyce said.

The change is welcomed by HUB North Shore cycling coalition members.

“This is going to be a great precedent for the district. This is the place where you want to have this. This is a place that’s densifying and the important thing to manage traffic - which we already know to be an issue - is to provide people with alternatives,” said HUB chairman Tony Valente.

While more solid barriers are preferred, Valente said the flexible bollards will help deter drivers from drifting into bike lanes. HUB members helped in the design process, something Valente said the group was grateful for.

Designs are underway as well to add a new southbound vehicle lane under Highway 1 where there is currently only one serving both Grand Boulevard and Highway 1.

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