New traffic lights coming to Marine Drive in West Van
After nearly two years of evaluating the project, District of West Vancouver council gave the green light Monday night to a new intersection planned for the western end of the Park Royal Shopping Centre on Marine Drive.
The new intersection will replace the western vehicular overpass that connects the north and south sides of the mall as well as the pedestrian overpass located next to the Park Royal Towers.
But before any construction begins, Raymond Fung, the district’s director of engineering and transportation, said “a few minor refinements” were being made to the plan in order to make the new intersection more friendly to cyclists who will come in close contact with the bus stops in the area.
Once those adjustments are made — in consultation with Larco Investments Ltd., the owners of the shopping centre — work will begin. The issue will not be debated again in council chambers.
A caveat to the agreement, added Fung, was a commitment from Larco to enhance the Marine Drive streetscape, a plan he said will be fulfilled by building shops and restaurants in the area of the new intersection.
According to Monday’s council report, some of that construction will be the redevelopment of the eastern portion of the village, the redevelopment of the White Spot restaurant and almost 19,000 square feet of new commercial space.
The lone dissenting voice at Monday’s meeting was Coun. Bill Soprovich who told The Outlook he “simply wasn’t satisfied with replacing an overpass with a traffic light.”
“That road should be unencumbered by lights toward Taylor Way,” he said.
“Quite frankly, the overpass works extremely well. This project is only for the expansion of Park Royal restaurants closer to the street, they need the space. In the short run this brings unnecessary problems and that has been my stance since the beginning.”
Plans for the construction of a new intersection first came to West Van council in 2010. Initially, staff tried to have it dealt with by council at the same time it was debating the dedicated bus lane but were directed instead to present more information before a decision was made.
In October 2010, council endorsed the plan in principle and staff prepared detailed designs and a peer review of the information Larco had presented to date. That peer review was presented on Monday and it recommended the aforementioned refinements to the intersection.
Representatives from Park Royal said they’re prepared to begin construction once final designs are approved by the district and estimated the work will take three to four months.