The 29th Street East joint CNV and DNV project is a big topic on the North Shore these days. The design that those involved with the creation of this project are following through with as I type this was not seen by the residents who live, work and play along this corridor. For example: the maps presented to residents in 2018 show bike lanes on one side and on-street parking on the other from Fromme Rd to just past William Ave. Less than two weeks before the project began, residents in both the City and District received a brief letter with maps that demonstrated otherwise.
This is just one example of how significant changes were made to the diagrams presented in 2018 without any further research, data collection, consultation or consideration to the residents.
Some of you may feel that we are arguing about convenience or that we have something against cyclists. Our issue is much more complex and dynamic. Mayor Little of the District and several of the councillors have stated that they inherited this project from the previous council. This is a gross attempt to avoid responsibility for not identifying where further input was needed in May 2019, before the new diagrams were voted on.
An example of where further input was needed comes with concerns being raised by those and for those with mobility impairments. This includes seniors that do not have a front driveway and cannot navigate a narrow, one way in and out back lane that then requires them to walk up a steep staircase in order to enter their home.
The only solution those involved with the creation and implementation of this project have suggested is to park on the nearest side street. When 200 vehicles are competing for on-street parking on the already full side streets, along with Car2Go in the city section of North Vancouver, these seniors are wondering how they will navigate from their vehicle to their home with groceries and other items. Consider the weather patterns of this area too. How far will their walk be and in what weather? How about when grandparents with walkers come to visit their families? It won’t even be possible for them to park briefly for a family member to assist them and then have that family member go locate side street parking for them or to be dropped off on the side of the street in front of the home they are visiting when dedicated bike lanes along both sides of 29th Street East from Fromme Rd to Royal Ave are installed.
There are many residents along 29th Street East who enjoy multi-generational living arrangements. They care for their loved ones and support each other. Are they now supposed to push their father-in-law or adult daughter in a wheelchair up hill, down hill to find the nearest crosswalk, in inclement weather as they navigate their way to the side street parking they managed to find but is four or five blocks away?
How about the people who are currently nursing their spouses with a variety of health issues that utilize on-street parking in front of their homes to assist them with getting wheelchairs in and out of vehicles, due to the inadequate off-street parking that they have on their properties? Health crises happen without warning, and most of us are not in the position to renovate our properties to accommodate unexpected mobility impairments. We are going to be spending our resources on navigating our finances, jobs, families and the health-care system.
We have families on our street who utilize HandyDART and have at-home care providers visit regularly. They have yet to be provided anything in writing regarding supportive solutions for the on-street parking in front of their homes being removed.
Transportation Section Manager Steve Carney talks about careful consideration for a safer, more accessible, sustainable community in his transportation study but in this document not once is there a voice for those with mobility impairments or for those who support friends, family and clients with such impairments. Mayor Little and those involved with the implementation of this project do not want to spend any further money or time identifying where further consideration is needed.
Advocating for my neighbours about the challenges of mobility impairment concerns is just one example of where further resources should have been spent before the final vote on this project happened.
How will cyclists feel when the garbage and recycling bins are on the bike lanes? Will the DNV and CNV be putting money into improving and maintaining the back lanes that do exist? Will the snow plows now have more high priority routes, including the back lanes? How about SPUD delivery or having a pizza delivered? Or the families needing to do drop off and pick up at the home-based daycares along 29th Street East?
DNV Councillor Muri requested Mayor Little and the council to meet with the 29th Street East residents prior to July 22, 2019 council meeting. We are looking forward to hearing from them but none of us have been contacted about a meeting by letter, email, phone, text or a knock on our front door yet.
Brenda Irving is a resident of 29th St. East.
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