West Vancouver's Taylor Way and Marine Drive is often overwhelmed by traffic, and some residents say a new proposal to put a residential tower on the southwest corner will make the bottleneck much worse.

As part of its Intersections radio series, CBC's The Early Edition is looking at intersections as microcosms of broader community change.

Reporter Jennifer Chen visited the busy intersection to find out how plans for a residential tower on the busy West Vancouver corner will gel with traffic concerns.

Park Royal Mall South

As the site of a transit hub, a popular shopping mall and a major highway connector, the intersection is one of the busiest traffic spots in the Lower Mainland.

Raymond Fung is the head of engineering and transportation at the District of West Vancouver.

He says one reason for the traffic is there is not enough affordable housing in West Vancouver which forces people working in the community to commute from elsewhere.

"It adds to the traffic peak in the morning," he said. "People are coming from south of Burrard Inlet onto the North Shore. Then all of those people have to go off the North Shore in the afternoon."

Fung said the district is working with the Ministry of Transportation to make sure traffic flows through as smoothly as possible, but he said more cars can't be added because road capacity has maxed out.

Raymond Fung

Raymond Fung, the head of engineering and transportation at the District of West Vancouver, says the new development could create more affordable housing. (Jennifer Chen/CBC)

Instead, he supports the plan to build a residential tower on the southwest corner of the intersection, which, he says, will allow people to live, work and shop in the same area.

The current proposal put forward by Larco, the company that runs the adjacent Park Royal Shopping Centre, is for a 27-storey and a 12-storey residential building with a total of 254 units, along with a town square that has childcare and shops. 

Rick Amantea, the vice president of community partnerships and development at Park Royal, says the proposal includes housing for people with disabilities as well as a car share space and a bicycle valet.

"We are absolutely convinced that by providing good affordable housing in the District of West Vancouver, we would see the dependency on the automobile reduced dramatically for those people living here."

Rick Amantea

Rick Amantea, the vice president of community partnerships and development at Park Royal, says the new development will have amenities like childcare, shopping, car share spaces and bike valets. (Jennifer Chen/CBC)

Not everyone is convinced.

A public survey on the proposal received one of the highest response rates on the District of West Vancouver's website.

Scenery Slater is a resident in Ambleside — the neighbourhood which contains the intersection — and is part of the Ambleside Dundarave Ratepayers Association. She says the community hasn't been adequately consulted on the development.

Scenery Slater

Scenery Slater says there needs to be more community consultation on a proposed residential tower on Taylor Way and Marine Drive. (Jennifer Chen/CBC)

"I personally don't think that's an optimum site for a large residential tower. I think if we develop that intersection all around there, we may be losing the opportunity to fix that intersection," she said.

"I'd like to see first and foremost the actual intersection be improved."

For now, the development is still under consideration.

Keep listening! Catch the rest of the Intersections series on CBC's The Early Edition this week, Feb. 20 - 24, 2017.


To listen to the audio, click on the link labelled Intersections: can traffic overwhelm plans to create high-rise density in West Vancouver?