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Letter: Will City of North Vancouver reconsider traffic calming on St. Andrews?

In an open letter to the city, a business owner urges local officials to use an alternative plan
Drivers now park their cars closer to the centre of St. Andrews Avenue in North Vancouver, part of an overall traffic calming project. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

Dear mayor and City of North Vancouver council:

Re: St. Andrews safety improvements project

I own a commercial heritage building that I restored in 2011 at 277-279 8th St. E. I live and sleep just meters from the corner and can attest that the plan intended to slow down traffic and calm the street is simply not working.

Other than the hoped-for two-way traffic forcing drivers to give way, there is nothing on the street to impede and slow traffic. As it stands, traffic has not slowed down much at all, few bikes are using the new lane and narrowing of the street has presented a whole new set of problems.

In planning for this traffic calming, the city used the addition of a bike lane as the mechanism to narrow the street, so it mirrors Ridgeway Avenue in width. We don’t know why this was done.

The city has not considered the corner of Eighth and St. Andrews, which is a four-unit, mixed-use commercial building. Businesses there require commercial deliveries and waste removal, which involve trucks parking on the street for several minutes. With the narrowed road plan, these trucks block the entire street to traffic, including emergency vehicles.

The new traffic-calming plan has also affected residential-only parking on the 700 block of St. Andrews, as well as parking for customers of the coffee shop and hair salon.

Also, for the longest time the southeast corner of 8th and St. Andrews was a very dangerous corner for pedestrians. This situation improved when a nearby hedge was removed, and the corner sidewalk widened. However, the situation is far worse than before with the introduction of the curbside bike lane pushing parked cars 10 feet further towards the centre of the street.

Many residents are speaking out against this project. There have been two petitions. The first collected 675 signatures asking for the city to reverse the design. The second has collected 675 signatures, so far, asking the city to use the residents’ alternative design.

The city’s plan for St. Andrews significantly increases risk to public safety. That alone should be enough to end this poorly thought-out experiment. City staff are expected to come back with a solution, but I feel they are not consulting with the neighbours who have to live with the new system.

Will local officials listen to the residents affected, acknowledge the growing number of petitioners and recognize there is a better way?

Brad Hodson
City of North Vancouver

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