The B-Line bus that starts linking downtown Maple Ridge to SkyTrain in Coquitlam this year or early next will have three stops along Lougheed Highway in order to minimize travel times, but there are concerns about at least one.
Ron Jones wants to know why one is located just east of 203rd Street, where departing buses could block customer access to West Coast Ford Lincoln. He owns the property on which the dealership is located, while his children, Scott Jones and Michelle Jones-Ruppel, operate West Coast Auto Group, which includes the Ford dealership.
While the bus stop will be located beside an existing boulevard, when the buses would pull away from the stop, they’d momentarily block vehicle access from the highway to the dealership.
Ron Jones is also concerned about litter. After driving along Dewdney Trunk Road, he saw garbage overflowing at bus stops along that road and said they are not properly maintained. He worries the same would happen at a B-Line stop in front of the Ford dealership.
“So if this is what we’re going to have along Lougheed Highway, in front of all the businesses who have a bus stop, that’s not acceptable … to the community. I think there’s a number of things at issue that have to be addressed,” Jones said Monday in an interview.
He noted that West Vancouver businesses also objected to a new B-Line bus route there. West Vancouver council is now considering shortening that route.
Jones suggests that the Maple Ridge bus stop be moved to the west side of 203rd Street, on the south side of Lougheed Highway, where there’s an empty lot.
But he said he was told that wasn’t in TransLink’s plans.
“How can they autocratically make the decision where it’s [bus stop] going [to] go, not caring whether it affects anybody or not?” Jones asked.
He said he talked to TransLink two weeks ago and that it won’t consider changing the stop.
“They tell me their plan is a fait accompli and that doesn’t seem to fit very good.”
Jones added that if other local businesses have similar concerns, they could contact TransLink.
The B-Line will have a limited number of stops in order to speed travel time. The stops are at Haney Place Mall, Laity Street, 203rd Street, as well as Harris Road, in Pitt Meadows.
Future stops could be added at Meadowtown mall in Pitt Meadows and 222nd Street in Maple Ridge.
Jill Drews, with TransLink, said that locating the bus stop on to the west side of 203rd Street would have required purchasing land for the stop, while driveways from a fast food restaurant and gas station there could pose a risk to pedestrians.
Drews said B-Line stop locations are chosen based on ridership projections, safety considerations and proximity to popular destinations, while keeping stop spacing consistent, adding it’s the first complaint she’s heard.
She said that TransLink, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the City of Maple Ridge considered many locations and found the 203rd Street location the only logical place.
Construction of the bus stops is to start this summer.
“Moving farther west beyond these businesses would leave the stop very far from any destination for our customers,” Drews said.
“We will continue to work with the owner of the dealership on how to address his concerns.”