White Rock's Marine Drive was a busy spot Sunday afternoon as temperatures hit 19C. (Aaron Hinks photo)

White Rock council to review report on turning Marine Drive into one-way street

City staff recommend against Marine Drive lane closures

City of White Rock council are to receive a report Monday regarding the challenges and consequences associated with turning Marine Drive into a one-way street.

On April 19, White Rock council passed a motion to request a staff report regarding temporarily turning Marine Drive into a one-way route. Part of the rational was that one-way traffic would allow restaurants to expand their patio to the sidewalks and also provide more space for pedestrians to stay physically distanced.

Monday, councillors are to discuss a staff report which indicated staff are against lane closures due to potential safety concerns, impacts on residents, reduction in available parking spaces for visitors, logistical challenges associated with restaurants obtaining supplies and potential expenses.

Staff said that if lane closures are pursued by council, closing the westbound lane would have fewer negative consequences than closing eastbound.

In the report, White Rock Fire Chief Ed Wolfe and White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls expressed concern regarding turning Marine into a one-way route.

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“Marine Drive is an emergency response route, and any closure of the westbound lane may negatively impact accessibility and response times,” Wolfe said in the report.

“Any emergency response required within the westbound land closure area would result in a complete closure of Marine Drive due to staging of apparatus for the duration of the incident.”

Pauls expressed concern over the potential impact of motorists disobeying traffic control devices or flags.

“This will create an additional demand on policing resources where the community has already identified other priority areas that they would like more police road safety enforcement,” Pauls said in the report.

“If the one-way is approved, great consideration to robust protection of pedestrians with physical barriers in the areas with restaurants should be implemented. Although the majority of driver’s can operate a vehicle safely, a very small minority may be impaired by alcohol/drugs, temporarily confused, experiencing a medical condition, or willfully neglectful.”

If council wishes to close the westbound lane, staff recommended that the closure extend between Maple and Vidal Streets.

Other considerations associated with closing westbound lane include increased congestion, traffic disruptions for residents, resident parking implications, bus routes would need to be rerouted, considerations for individual strata garbage collection, and arrangements for temporarily opening the closed lane for delivery vehicles to park and unload supplies to restaurants.

The staff report can be found here.

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