Closing down the west-bound lane of Marine Drive to allow increased patio space for restaurants and a larger walkway for pedestrians would be a challenging and costly measure, according to a city staff report. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Closing down the west-bound lane of Marine Drive to allow increased patio space for restaurants and a larger walkway for pedestrians would be a challenging and costly measure, according to a city staff report. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Challenges stall one-way proposal for White Rock’s Marine Drive

Measure to help businesses and offer greater distancing could be costly, council hears

A suggestion for a one-way route along Marine Drive during COVID-19 restrictions appears to have arrived at a dead-end – for now.

A motion from Coun. Christopher Trevelyan (at White Rock council’s April 19 regular meeting) had asked staff to look into a lane-closure of White Rock’s principal waterfront road during the current dine-in ban to support expanded restaurant patios and more distanced pedestrian traffic.

But at its April 26 meeting council turned down a further motion to close the lane and create a one-way, on a 5-2 split vote, with only Trevelyan and Coun Scott Kristjanson voting in support.

Engineering and municipal operations director Jim Gordon had told council that while the northern lane of Marine Drive could be closed, allowing only east-bound traffic along the waterfront, the move would present many challenges – and would require two weeks, at least, to put into effect.

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

“You would be looking at $30,000 to $40,000 just to set it up and get the proper barriers,” Gordon said.

Among the challenges, Gordon said, would be providing that the closed lane could still be opened to allow access to fire and police services and also delivery trucks for restaurants, which must unload goods from Marine Drive.

A single emergency incident on a one-lane Marine Drive would likely result in “gridlock” he told council.

The one-way traffic would also result in considerable detours for local traffic which would put a further load on nearby streets such as Victoria Avenue, he warned.

Also to be considered were insurance liability, he added, and the determination of who, between businesses, the BIA and the city, would assume it.

Not the least of the problems, he said, would be ensuring that drivers understood the changes, which would mean extra signage and possibly assigning flag-people to direct traffic.

Crowding a concern

Meanwhile, Coun. David Chesney warned council that it needed to “get out in front” of a potential pandemic disaster by being ready to take steps to discourage the usual influx of visitors to Marine Drive during spring and summer weather.

“We need to do something about this now,” he said. “(We just had) a very unusual 10-day stretch of spectacular weather and we saw what happened down there – huge crowds of people, no masks, no social distancing and it’s only going to get worse.

READ ALSO: Social distancing on Marine Drive comes under council scrutiny

“We can start thinking about this now, or we’ll be trying to put out a raging fire on our waterfront.”

After extended discussion of Chesney’s call for a further report on crisis situation planning – which received support from Trevelyan – it was decided that staff would continue current communication measures to suggest that White Rock is not offering its usual welcome to visitors, including lighted reader boards on Johnston Road and at either end of Marine Drive.

Chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero responded to Chesney that staff had already provided a report with 19 options for limiting visits to the waterfront, and there was little else that staff could contribute, other than being ready follow council’s direction on closures or limits placed on some areas, including the waterfront parking lots.

“We don’t have the authority to stop people coming to White Rock,” he told council, although he said staff would follow Chesney’s suggestion of continuing to reach out to Fraser Health for suggestions on how to limit pandemic risk.

Chesney also acceded to Mayor Darryl Walker’s suggestion that a motion to request a report from the White Rock BIA – on ways residents could be encouraged to patronize waterfront businesses during pandemic restrictions – would be better handled by a letter.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article said council received the one-way Marine Drive staff report for information and did not vote on the matter. However, council voted 5-2 to reject the idea of turning Marine Drive into a one-way route.



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of White RockCoronavirusTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating serious collision in Surrey

Incident happend May 6 at King George Boulevard and 128th Street

Surrey Fire Service firefighters quickly contained a fire on 75A Avenue. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Surrey firefighters extinguish second house fire in Newton

Second fire incident reported in Newton Sunday morning

Surrey RCMP are investigating two ‘suspicious’ fires in Newton Sunday morning. (Shane MacKichan photos)
Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read