The Canadian Automobile Association named Vancouver as having some of the worst bottlenecks for traffic Wednesday, but one North Shore city councillor says her region is dealing with equally bad big-city-style congestion, too.

Lisa Muri, a councillor with the District of North Vancouver, told CBC's The Early Edition the trouble began five years ago.

"We got to our summer season and the traffic didn't lighten up as it had always lightened up in previous years," she said.

The Ministry of Transportation did a study of the Second Narrows Bridge and found there was a 14 per cent increase in counterflow traffic. 

The congestion is not just in the North-South direction between Vancouver and the North Shore, but in the East-West direction across the North Shore, she said.

Muri said residents have had to change how they live.

"I don't leave my house to go to West Vancouver anymore after 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon," she said. "Chances are I'm not going to get back to be able to pick up my kids at school."

Development boom

Muri said a big reason for the increase is a development boom in the three major North Shore communities: the cities of West Vancouver and North Vancouver and her own district.

"We've had an 850 per cent increase in single family development permits for new houses for instance. The market is ripe," she said.

In addition, there's been an increase in port activity and commercial business that's driving traffic.

Solutions

One of Muri's main solutions is to better coordinate development plans between the major municipalities so that individual development projects don't exacerbate traffic congestion.

She said the Mountain Highway interchange is being improved to be more efficient and provide better flow — but also said it was five years away.

As for public transit, the Metro Vancouver mayors' transit plan includes more buses, an additional seabus and improvements to the Phibbs Exchange bus depot.

"Our challenge is that we're sort of strapped up on the side of mountain, on the edge of the ocean, with rivers and creeks running through us," she said. "Our geography is not simple."

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the audio, click on the link labelled What's being done to deal with North Shore traffic congestion?