British Columbia

Traffic woes driving City of North Vancouver mayoral candidates to campaign on solutions

Each week until election day on Oct. 20, CBC's The Early Edition is looking at a key issue in different municipalities that voters want to see addressed.

Each week until election day, CBC’s The Early Edition looks at a key issue in different municipalities

Rows of cars and bikes cross a bridge leading into the mountains.
Congestion has become a major election issue in the City of North Vancouver. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Traffic in North Vancouver is such a problem that it's becoming a significant election issue for a number of the city's mayoral candidates.

"There are always issues with trying to get out of the city and out of the North Shore in general, and those issues, unfortunately, affect getting around the city as well," says resident Brent Hillier.

"What the solution is, I'm not totally sure but something certainly does needs to be done."

Four of six of the mayoral candidates for the City of North Vancouver — Linda Buchanan, Kerry Morris, Rod Clark and Guy Heywood — debate what should be done about the municipality's traffic problems. (Clare Hennig/CBC)

Mayoral candidates debate

Each week until election day on Oct. 20, CBC's The Early Edition is looking at a key issue in different municipalities that voters want to see addressed.

Four out of six candidates from the City of North Vancouver, selected for their track record of significant civic engagement or with strong public support, have differing ideas about what needs to be done.

"As far as I'm concerned, we just haven't had the attention that we need," said mayoral candidate Coun. Rod Clark.

He said there are plenty of "simple solutions" that could help ease congestion from restricting trucks on the bridges during rush hour to changing traffic patterns to giving priority to buses.

He also hopes to see SkyTrain or another rapid transit link to North Vancouver.

"That will be down the road somewhere but unless we get in the queue, we're not going to achieve it."    

There is currently no SkyTrain link to North Vancouver, just the SeaBus and regular buses. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Money for infrastructure

Kerry Morris, a former 2014 mayoral candidate, thinks the solution lies in expanding road capacity.

"We haven't put any money into infrastructure in our road system," he said.

"We've got one lane [in some areas] as oppose to two and we put our buses in that mix and they grind to a halt."

The traffic problem is exacerbated by development and lack of affordable housing pushing people further away and creating longer commutes, Morris said — a sentiment that former city councillor and mayoral candidate Guy Heywood agrees with.

"Part of the problem has been created by the fact that we focused on development in two different municipalities and we don't actually plan traffic," Heywood said.

He wants to see an "integrated approach" between municipalities on the North Shore to tackle congestion.

'We have to be giving people alternatives to how they are moving around,' says Linda Buchanan. ( Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Transportation for everyone

But city councillor and mayoral candidate Linda Buchanan says development is not the problem.

"The solutions that I'm hearing from other candidates in this race around no growth, slow the growth, wait for infrastructure to catch up ….  are actually not true," she said, citing a recent report that lists some of the causes of congestion in the area.

Instead, she's advocating for "inclusive" alternatives to transportation that don't just rely on four wheels..

"This is about making sure that everybody in our community can move, not just people who own cars," Buchanan said.  

With files from The Early Edition.

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