About 150 angry West Vancouver residents turned out in the drizzle Saturday morning to protest against TransLink’s proposed new B-Line along Marine Drive.
“We’re protesting the impact (a B-Line) is going to have on traffic in the local community and on merchants along Marine Drive,” said Joe Sutherland. “(A B-line) is not going to help traffic because the amount of traffic from Dundarave and Ambleside going to North Vancouver is minuscule. All the traffic going this way goes across the bridge to Vancouver.
“Consuming these two lanes in front of all these merchants is just going to cause chaos.”
A B-Line is an express bus route using high-capacity buses.
Most in the crowd, waving signs such as “Rise Up West Vancouver”, felt if Translink deems there is demand for a B-Line, that its western terminus should be Park Royal, not Dundarave.
“The whole concept of eliminating lanes to force people to use buses is just wrong,” said Terry McHugh.
Translink announced in April a 14-kilometre B-Line route from Dundarave in West Vancouver to Phibbs Exchange near the Ironworkers’ Bridge in North Vancouver.
“When people say they are going to destroy my community and there is nothing I can do about it, they’ve come to the wrong person,” said Ambleside merchant Nigel Malkin, who owns a dry-cleaning business on Marine Drive and who organized the rally.
To make their point, protesters briefly blocked one lane of Marine Drive heading west at 13th Street.
“We blocked off the road for about four minutes and there was a disruption, on a quiet Saturday morning,” Malkin said. “Let’s imagine that on a busy Friday afternoon. TransLink’s plan is very, very poorly thought out.”
Translink says an average of 21,000 people ride transit along Marine Drive in West Vancouver every week day.
“Today, cars and buses are often stuck behind and weaving around people turning left, parking on the right and buses trying to merge back into traffic,” Translink spokesman Chris Bryan said. “The proposed changes will ensure a smoother, consistent traffic flow on the inside lane.”
The plan is to add more left-turn bays at key intersections and making the right curbside lane for buses, people parking and cars turning right.
There are 766 on-street parking spots in Ambleside and Dundarave, Bryan said. The addition of left-turn bays and new bus stops will require removing 15 of them, he said.
“Translink has been supporting the District of West Vancouver’s work on this plan and we will continue listening to residents and businesses.
“This is a plan that will deliver many benefits and we want to make sure we get it right.”
West Van council issued a statement saying it is committed to addressing traffic congestion and has no desire to unduly inconvenience residents or merchants.
Council has not made a decision yet on the changes for the B-Line, the statement said.
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