February 23, 2019 9:34 pm
Updated: February 24, 2019 5:27 am

Protesters in West Vancouver march against proposed B-Line bus route

WATCH: Those for and against the B-Line route wanted to make their views heard before city council makes a possible decision next month. Nadia Stewart reports.

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Protestors on both sides of the B-Line debate marched in West Vancouver on Saturday morning.

The protests followed a proposal by TransLink to introduce dedicated bus lanes along a portion of Marine Drive as part of a regional transit plan to expand service in specific communities.

Nigel Malkin, founder of the Stop the Road Closures website and campaign, said residents do not want the service changes.

READ MORE: West Vancouver residents rally against B-Line rapid transit plans

“People of West Vancouver do not want their roads closed. They do not want parking taken away from the business district, and the children do not want to have articulated buses running past
their school,” Malkin said.

Malkin said businesses in Ambleside will take a hit if the proposal gets the green light. He also said there wasn’t much consultation and that there’s little evidence to support the need for a B-Line.

“We’re not against transit,” Malkin said. “But we certainly do not need articulated buses with 10 passengers coming down to Dundarave.”

However, protestors on the other side of this debate — a mix of residents and advocates — say the district desperately needs better transit.

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“The idea that the protest group is saying to stop the B-Line at Park Royal doesn’t make any sense,” West Vancouver resident Peter Scholefield said, adding that some residents might be scared of a plan they don’t fully understand but from which they stand to benefit.

Noah Berson, vice-president external with Capilano Students’ Union, said hundreds of students in the district desperately need better transit options.

“We’ve got these 400 students here who struggle to get to Capilano, who are having to move to other places to access our only post-secondary institution in North Vancouver,” Berson said. “We’re forcing students into cars. We’re forcing patrons of our businesses into cars, and that’s just creating far worse congestion.”

READ MORE: 4 new B-Line express bus routes to link North Shore, Langley, Maple Ridge to rapid transit

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth said council is listening to both sides.

“I’m actually sorry the community is so divided on this and that it’s caused so much anxiety, but I’m hoping that council can regain the trust of the community and make a decision where we can find some middle ground on this,” Booth said.

TransLink said West Vancouver has the fastest growing ridership on the North Shore, and while Malkin and others question the numbers, the transit authority says ridership is only going to climb in the years to come.

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