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Buses plug up Steveston street

Council sent a report on adding bike and pedestrian space in Steveston back for more work.
Bayview Street was one of the Steveston streets under consideration for changes to add bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

Bus congestion on Chatham Street was one of the main reasons why Richmond city council reconsidered making changes to the streetscape in Steveston.

A proposal to remove 17 parking spots on Bayview Street and widen pedestrian and biking lanes there and on Chatham Street was sent back to the drawing board after councillors expressed concerns around accessible parking and a future, but still unknown, plan for a bus station in Steveston.

While Coun. Linda McPhail liked the ideas in the report, she said there are still issues with buses on Chatham Street – at times, she has seen up to seven buses parked there.

For Coun. Harold Steves, the bus issue was enough to kibosh the plan, but he also suggested three-hour angled parking on Chatham Street to help reduce parking problems in the village.

“It’s unfortunate we have so many issues in one report,” he said, adding he wouldn’t support it until Richmond knows where the buses are going.

Coun. Alexa Loo said she’d taken a “sober second look” at the Steveston plan and worried about people not being able to park on Bayview Street, but then having to push a wheelchair up the five-degree grade from Moncton to the waterfront.

“Are we actually achieving what we were setting out to?” she said.

Furthermore, the report is based on a “COVID year,” she said, and many people with health and mobility issues stayed away from Steveston during that time.

“We weren’t seeing maybe the higher uptick of people needing the accessible spaces and the access to those spaces,” she added.

Coun. Chak Au said, while staff seemed confident there would be support for the changes based on the experience from summer 2020, he recalled more pedestrian and bike lanes weren’t universally accepted last year.

“I remember even in summer 2020 we did not get one-sided support,” he said.

Richmond council is expecting information from TransLink in the near future about a bus loop or bus terminus in Steveston.

City staff clarified TransLink is not looking at buying property for a bus station, and even if there were something available, the transit authority doesn’t have the financing to buy it.

Council sent the report back to its planning committee for further work.