In their haste to remove street parking for residents on East 29th Street and their unwillingness to discuss compromises, the City and District of North Vancouver have ignored the needs and safety of residents and others who use the street daily.
It is clear that what was initially proposed is vastly different to what is being constructed and is an act of unprecedented arrogance.
The only rationale provided by civic officials is that the changes are in the interests of safety and mobility. However, safety has decreased and hazard levels actually increased.
As a long-time resident on East 29th Street I have had the summer months to consider in detail the street modifications currently underway and discuss them with many other residents as well as several experienced professionals in municipal traffic design. The overall consensus is that the proposed 29th Street changes are needlessly excessive and the complete removal of all street parking could easily be scaled back with a few minor changes while still providing bike lanes.
Here are a few observations:
1. Reduction of the drivable roadway to two-vehicle lanes plus removal of the parking lanes will force all traffic to come to a complete stop behind emergency vehicles, transit buses, waste collection vehicles.
2. West-bound left-turn lanes at Brandt and St Andrews Streets are not required and will mainly promote vehicle access to Highway 1 through a residential area instead of via Lonsdale Avenue. Left turn lanes in residential areas are only justified at high volume and controlled intersections. Their use on Brandt and St Andrews streets (minor “Tee” intersections with very few left turns) is a design excess with significant negative impacts. There are no similar left-turn lanes on the North Shore that I am aware of. Further, the St Andrews turning lane necessitates moving a bus stop from a flat wheelchair accessible location to a steep hillside not at all suitable for anyone with mobility challenges.
3. Residents and others who require street parking will now be forced to park on side streets most of which already have high levels of usage.
4. Many 29th Street East residents must back out of their driveways directly onto 29th Street. While not perfect, the buffer of a parking lane has proven adequate. Removal of this parking lane buffer area will significantly increase the hazard.
It is disappointing and frustrating that neither elected civic body has pursued a consistent process in their preparation of 29th Street East modifications. The decree that residents have no right to the street parking they have relied on for past decades is as callous as it is insulting.
Residents have used the only democratic means available to them in presenting their concerns while City and District officials have used their absolute power to diminish and ignore them. This is disturbing in a community where due process, deliberation and consideration of all issues is a fundamental expectation of citizens.
Residents have made it clear they have no objection to bike lanes and look forward to speed reductions, but this coming at the expense of increasing hazards and diminishing safety as well as removal of all on-street parking falls short of common sense and logic.
Compromises could easily have been considered by the City and District that meet ALL desired outcomes. These compromises have been proposed to those in charge but with no response. Both councils have displayed arrogance and a measure of duplicity during the 29th Street project. Good faith and reason appear to be in short supply.
Unfortunately, it is several years until a new civic election but I know a large number of voters who won’t forget the summer of 2019 on East 29th Street and will be reminded of it daily.
(Peter Mickleson is a long-time resident on East 29th Street in North Vancouver.)