North Shore traffic woes get provincial support from local MLA
Local mayors say they're glad to see officials come together to tackle congestion
Traffic and transportation woes on Metro Vancouver's North Shore are getting provincial attention in the form of a project aimed at bringing the region's mayors and leaders together to tackle the issue.
NDP MLA Bowinn Ma, Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink, has put forward a proposal for an Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project to address the area's ongoing traffic congestion issues.
"Every politician on the North Shore knows that transportation is a massive issue, but unfortunately we do not have a collective plan for how we can actually move forward as a region," Ma said.
The project proposes to bring together the mayors of the City of North Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver and the District of West Vancouver, as well as the Ministry of Transportation and TransLink.
Congestion on the North Shore has been getting progressively worse in the past few years, with a construction boom blamed for the increasing counterflow traffic.
The North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce says congestion is so bad it has been affecting local businesses.
On Monday, the District of West Vancouver put its support behind the project at a council meeting. City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto says he expects his council to do the same next week.
"Transportation is one of the top two issues here on the North Shore and it's becoming almost unbearable," Mussatto said.
Mussatto said it's been a long time since all the regional and provincial officials have come together to address transportation problems.
"We've always done a piecemeal approach so I really applaud our MLA for doing this," he said.
Mussatto said he hopes the multi-level approach will help to put together long-term plans to resolve the problem.
He said the priority for the City of North Vancouver is to look at traffic coming to and from the Second Narrows and Lions Gate bridges.
Mussatto said experts have shown that there needs to be better public transportation to alleviate traffic problems.
"We have to give people options to get across the inlet without using their car," Mussatto said.
District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton said he was also pleased with the initiative, and expects council to be supportive of the project.
Walton agreed that public transportation was an important issue. He also said more needs to be done to upgrade highway interchanges to minimize the impact of regional traffic.
Walton said that although upgrades to the Second Narrows Bridge aren't currently a priority for the province, he hopes that may change.
Ma acknowledged that there are competing priorities throughout the North Shore, and she doesn't think the region's transportation conundrum can be resolved with one solution.
Still, she hopes to move the project along quickly — she's hoping to have a report ready by mid-June.