December 8, 2018 9:12 pm
Updated: December 9, 2018 12:17 am

West Vancouver residents rally against B-Line rapid transit plans

WATCH: Plans to expand West Vancouver transit service spark protests.

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Some residents in West Vancouver are against plans to expand transit service in the city if it means the loss of two lanes of traffic, and causes traffic disruptions on Marine Drive.

“I’m not against buses, I’m not against TransLink, I’m not even against the B-Line,” said Nigel Malkin, a small business owner in Ambleside.

He organized a protest in West Vancouver on Saturday against a proposed TransLink plan to implement bus-priority lanes in the city.

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He and others fear between TransLink and the District of West Vancouver, it’s already a done deal.

“Last week, the members of TransLink and the District of West Vancouver arrived at an information session. They advised us that they were going to close down two lanes of traffic and turn them into bus lanes,” Malkin said.

“They went and said point-blank, staring us in the eye, that there was absolutely nothing that we could do about this.”

WATCH: 4 new B-line express bus routes coming to Metro Vancouver

Malkin said businesses in Ambleside and Dundarave will suffer.

“Business owners are horrified and it’s as simple as that. They are really concerned,” he said.

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On Friday, the District of West Vancouver said on its website that it is still reviewing the proposed B-Line design with TransLink, and that no decision has been made yet.

The Marine-Main B-Line would run from Dundarave to Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver. It’s part of the TransLink Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year-Vision for Transit and Transportation — one of four new rapid transit lines slated for Metro Vancouver in 2019.

TransLink

Capilano University Professor Michael Markwick said businesses in Dundarave tell him they’re struggling because of a lack of fast, efficient transit service.

He says it can’t come soon enough.

“Business are having trouble staying open. One business in fact had to close one day a week because of staffing issues, and that’s directly related to the traffic nightmare and lack of mass transit,” Markwick said.

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“These are not major urban engineering projects. These are very important tweaks to an existing system to allow people to move around more easily.”

In an email, TransLink said its own traffic modelling shows that traffic flows can be improved, saving time for drivers and transit users.

What’s more, of the 766 parking spots in Ambleside and Dundarave, only about 15 would be lost.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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