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Page Six To “B” or not to “B”

You’re no doubt familiar with this famous line from Hamlet. But how well do you

charge of this project, Malkin is actually talking to people. And even though he

know the local version being staged in the little hamlet of West Vancouver right

appears to have a big “B” in his bonnet, he’s doing what the government should

now?

have been doing all along - communicating.

It’s called the B-Line, which is a new “express” type bus service, and its storyline is

Now that a ruckus has been raised, WV Council is responding with a series of

quickly becoming famous for a few key reasons. Some even say there’s something

changes, information meetings and pop-up sessions to help clarify the whole deal

rotten in the proverbial state of Denmark.

(go to www.westvancouverite.com for more). They’ve also postponed voting on

For starters, this new B-Line would run east-west along Marine Drive from 25th

this issue until they get a chance to hear back from you!

Street in Dundarave in West Vancouver to Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver.

As usual, there’s confusion over what’s fact and what’s fiction - go figure. And, as

It also would have limited stops (four in West, and maybe eight in North). In other

my lawyer always says, sometimes it helps to follow the money. But while District

words, it’s basically the same as the existing 255 Dundarave to Capilano U bus

staff, Translink and some councillors are gung-ho to sell you on the B-Line idea,

- with fewer stops. Ironically, it doesn’t actually take you to Capilano University

others are critical of its concept and goals. The West Vancouver School Board,

(unless you walk up from Phibbs). And no, it doesn’t take you to downtown

and Irwin Park parents, have spoken out in opposition (because the terminus, and

Vancouver either - you still need a second bus for that.

bus driver’s bathrooms, would be located near the school). It also didn’t help when

This new B-Line is also being touted as a type of “gift” of sorts from Translink in an attempt to improve our seemingly never-ending North Shore transit and traffic gridlock. Translink (which is the unelected transportation authority for Metro Vancouver responsible for buses, roads and bridges), is funded by, among other

Translink workers were seen spray-painting markings for the new bus pull-outs on Ambleside sidewalks - markings which led people to believe everything was already a done deal, and which the District ordered removed before the council meeting that night. Let’s just say, someone really jumped the gun there.

things, your tax dollars - of which West Vancouverites pay the most. So we’re

Personally, all I know, after years of watching and reporting on local politics, is

expected to be thankful considering Translink has largely ignored West and North

that this was poorly handled from the start. Not enough information. Not enough

Vancouver as a whole over the years.

transparency. Not enough consultation. It’s what happens when you’re too eager

But this B-Line gift from Translink comes with a bit of a “take it or leave it” attitude.

to do a deal, without doing due diligence first.

In other words, if we don’t take it, they’re leaving - and we’ve missed the bus.

But instead of looking for good guys and bad guys, it’s safe to say that everyone,

That’s all we’re getting. Game over. Nada. Good-bye. So everyone (municipal

including Malkin and his group, supports improved transit for our community. It’s

staffers and councils) started to consider this B-Line in a new light. But then, the

how you do it that tells the real story. So when we ask ourselves what is “to be”,

plot thickened. Then came the big surprise.

we’re really asking the wrong question. If there’s one lesson to be learned (again),

In order to be an “effective” express service, Translink now wants to remove (or restrict) two lanes on Marine Drive for “bus only” access. This means that cars will

it’s that you must stop, look and listen to the people in your community. That’s how you build trust, and bridges, between sides - and Translink should know that.

only be able to travel in one lane, in each direction, on Marine Drive. That means

Times are changing, and there are no real villains here. Slings and arrows get

instead of having four lanes for cars - there will only be two. Translink will also

us nowhere. This is not a Shakespearean tragedy. This is simply a story about

remove key parking spots at each intersection to facilitate pull-outs and right-hand

government and people - each determined to do what they think is best. Personally,

turn access. They’ll also add some dedicated left-turn sections which Translink

I think it’s time to get out of the dark ages and put a priority on ridesharing (Uber)

says will actually help improve traffic flow overall.

instead. B-Lines like this aren’t going to solve much. But the best way to navigate

However, a large number of Ambleside merchants, like Nigel Malkin, have their doubts. With a Mad Men marketing-like cleverness, Malkin and his StopTheRoadClosures.ca movement have been releasing their facts and figures to the public with vigour and vigilance. A non-political figure normally, Malkin’s passion has provided an exciting sub-plot to the story. And unlike the folks in

06

this undiscovered country is to get involved in making that change - whatever it may be. Seek the facts. Find the truth. Decide for yourself. Because when you understand the whole story and get to know the players involved, you can finally dream about all kinds of possibilities - and all the things that we can “B”. - Catherine Barr cbarr@westvancouver.com

NorthVancouver.com | WestVancouver.com

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