The District of North Vancouver has drafted a Master Transportation Plan and is seeking further input through an online survey. To help you, I’ve waded through this weighty tome, and have summarized the immediate impacts on our community here.
There is some great background information in the plan, which is worth reading for the trivia alone. For example, dropping the fact that transportation accounts for 43% of DNV greenhouse gas emissions will impress everyone at your next cocktail party. However, in the end, the plan boils down to six key goals:
- Provide Transportation Options for All
- Promote Physically-Active Transportation Alternatives
- Reduce Transportation Demand
- Create Places for People, Not Cars
- Make the Lowest-Impact Transportation Choice, the First Choice
- Make a Sustainable Transportation System Happen.
Overall, the district’s goal is to make 35% of trips by walking, cycling or transit by 2030 (compare with Metro Vancouver goal of 45%). Today about 63 percent of trips are made by driving, 17 percent as a car passenger, 9 percent by transit, 9 percent by walking, and 2 percent by cycling. In other words, today we make 20% of our trips by walking, cycling or transit.
Impacts on Delbrook
The DNV Official Community Plan places Delbrook squarely in between two villages — Edgemont and Queensdale — and nowhere near a town center. As such, we’re not much of a priority. Don’t expect major changes in our immediate neighborhood over the next thirty years, or at least, don’t expect planned changes.
Bounded as we are on the south side by the City of North Vancouver, it would be interesting to know their plans, especially for Westview. However, their OCP is still in the formative stages. It’s open for input via a forum, and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t get involved even though we don’t live in the City.
I guess the District either feels Delbrook’s pedestrian network is either fully built or our density makes us a hopeless case for walking. Watching my own family jump in the car to drive 1.2 km to school makes me believe it might be the latter.
In either case, the draft plan proposes no pedestrian improvements in our neighborhood. A little further afield, they propose extending sidewalks around Edgemont Village, and there is a critical sidewalk need on Upper Lonsdale.
Personally I feel that Delbrook Road, itself, is getting hard to cross safely. Even during off-peak times, it can take over a minute to find a good opportunity to cross. Downhill traffic (that’s us, by the way) is often going much faster than the speed limit, and distracted drivers seem to have difficulty stopping for the crosswalks.
I would love to see the crosswalks get safety islands in the middle of the street or bump outs to make traffic slow down, and make it easier to cross. Safety at the Evergreen crosswalk, in particular will become critically important with more students hopefully busing to the Community Learning Program at Balmoral.
Another improvement we could hope for is access to Mosquito Creek. There are several secret routes down to the creek, but the one I take, for example, is too treacherous for most people. Improving this might encourage walkers to Edgemont Village.
Speaking of walking to the shops, I’m sure most people who have walked to Westview Plaza along Westview would never do it again. It’s just not a pleasant experience. Sadly, there isn’t really much of an alternative for us Delbrook residents.
As a lifelong cycle commuter, I must declare a bias here
Apparently unlike the pedestrian network, the cycling network is being coordinated with the City of North Vancouver. This coordination is important because gaps in the network really discourage riders. Imagine driving your car along a wide well-maintained road, and it suddenly changes to a dirt track barely wide enough for your tires with a cliff on one side and a 1000 foot drop on the other: that is how it feels to have your bike lane end abruptly on a busy arterial road.
But I digress. The plan proposes on-street bike routes for Delbrook, Windsor (between Delbrook and Stanley), Queens (west of Delbrook), Kings (Stanley to Lonsdale), Montroyal and Evergreen. It will be interesting to see how these routes turn out on Montroyal, which I find to be quite narrow.
East-West cycling is challenging everywhere on the North Shore, but I think Kings between Jones and Mahon is one of the steeper roads around, and I believe Windsor might be an easier ride.
Again, further out, the plan identifies a high priority improvement for Larsen. I’ve not been up past Westview recently, but the bike lane is already in at least that far. Sadly for us, there is nothing proposed for Westview, which is a dangerous route for bikes due to the slip lanes for the highway and the limited sight lines going up the hill.
The plan admits that low density makes transit challenging throughout the District, but Delbrook’s continued low density means there won’t be much change for us here.
Southern residents can hope for a high frequency transit corridor along Queens. That means you might be able to hop on a bus every fifteen minutes all day long that would take you to either Edgemont Village or Queensdale, or even the world beyond.
For me, the 246 works fine; I especially appreciate the good connections with the Seabus. Mind you, I wish it had one more good connection at the end of the evening peak period. I quite often miss that one and find myself waiting half an hour at Lonsdale Quay.
As per the key goals, cars take something of a back seat to walking, cycling and transit in the plan. Automobilists should take heart that the plan does state that maintenance of our existing infrastructure should take priority over building out new bike lanes and crosswalks. There are some interchange improvements planned, around Mountain Highway and the Upper Levels, and a few other big projects out there, but largely, we are focusing on sustainable, healthful alternatives to cars.
Here in Delbrook, the plan proposes some improvements to the intersection of Queens and Delbrook. Personally, I can’t imagine what these improvements might be. The intersection seems to work well today. Perhaps they are planning to add a second north-bound lane on Westview, or perhaps clarify the whole left-turn lane there. When I bring a taxi home, they are often confused when they suddenly find they were in a left-turn lane.
The plan proposes no changes to our neighborhood road designations (Delbrook is minor artery, Queens is major artery). Due to the limits to further expansion up the mountain, the District forecasts only low traffic growth on Delbrook itself.
As I mentioned at the start, the District is looking for feedback on the plan. You can either go directly to them or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the Community Association to address something in particular.