Design & Development
October 9, 2020

Risk-Taking on the North Shore, CNV-style

North Van City does it again.  Whenever the City or Park Board of Vancouver looks like they will consider doing something risky – like allowing liquor to be consumed in parks and public spaces – CNV does it first.  Curbside patios?  CNV did it years ago on Lonsdale.

And now as Vancouver just starts the process for the redesign of Beach/Pacific, CNV will redo Esplanade – a six-lane arterial the divides Lower Lonsdale:

The English Bay masterplan is a different kind of project, at a different scale, and definitely not the first time for Vancouver has redone a vehicle-dominant arterial. (Burrard and Hornby Streets!)    But this a major step in Metro for a small municipality to undertake.  Not without some nervousness.

The Esplanade) corridor works fairly well for transit, goods movement and people in passenger vehicles. It is, however, not an optimal experience for people on foot, travelling by bike or for local businesses.

Cycling groups have been adamant the street’s bicycle infrastructure must be improved from the current painted bike lanes sandwiched between the road and the curbside parking.

Coun. Holly Back signaled she would be very protective of parking out front of businesses.  “That’s a major concern for me, having been in business in lower Lonsdale. I totally understand the safety concerns for cyclists and everyone else but those businesses are going to suffer hugely,” she said, adding she hopes the Lower Lonsdale BIA will be included in the consultations. …

Mayor Linda Buchanan said the city depends on the Esplanade corridor for a lot of things and warned that Complete Street Project will have to balance those many needs.

 

“This is as a trucking route. We can’t take trucking off of this. It’s a major road network for TransLink, and we do need to be able to move goods,” she said. “I just want to make sure that when we are engaging with the public that they are very clear on what are the givens for this road – what can change and what can’t change.

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She’s the new Mayor of the City of North Vancouver, a former councillor and school trustee with a life of public service in her community. He’s a first-time Council member, who’s devoted countless hours in recent years to advocacy for better cycling policies and more public spaces.

And while they didn’t run on a ticket — few candidates for public office in Metro Vancouver do — Linda Buchanan and Tony Valente are singing from the same song sheet.

Among other ambitions, they want to invite more density to the 6th-densest municipality in Canada. They support car sharing and the new e-bike share program coming to the North Shore, in a city where 30% of residents already don’t own a car. And, seemingly in contrast to many of their political counterparts in the districts of North Vancouver and West Vancouver, they embrace the recommendations of INSTPP, the North Shore Transportation Planning Project led by TransLink and multiple levels of government.

Buchanan and Valente brought the Price Talks team to CNV library recently, a 10-year-old facility just a few steps from City Hall, boasting a new recording studio. They spoke with Gord at length about their adjustments to their new roles, their early priorities, and the opportunities to bring new housing, transportation and employment options to residents in their beautiful, diverse and growing city.

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