North Vancouver says goodbye to bus depot

West Van buses are garaged in North Vancouver, North Vancouver will be garaged in Burnaby.  Makes sense?

from the North Shore News today:

It’s the last stop for the North Vancouver Transit Centre.

Starting this weekend, TransLink is decommissioning the bus depot on Third Street at St. Davids Avenue and moving the buses to the Burnaby Transit Centre.

The decision, which TransLink first announced in 2012, has been fought over the years by the City and District of North Vancouver councils and UNIFOR Local 111, the union representing the drivers.

All three lobbied heavily for the transit authority to find a new location on the North Shore so, in the event of an earthquake shutting down the bridges, the North Shore would still have a fleet of buses available.

“We did an extensive search of alternatives that included building a new facility on the North Shore; however, current estimates put the cost at $100 million – something TransLink cannot presently afford,” said Chris Bryan, TransLink spokesman.

In 2012, TransLink estimated consolidating the Third Street depot with the Burnaby one would save $20 million over 10 years, eliminating the need for costly upgrades.

In the event of a catastrophe, West Vancouver’s Blue Buses, which are marshalled at a facility off Lloyd Avenue can be pressed into service, Bryan added.

Bus drivers will have to make their way to the Burnaby depot at about 5:30 a.m. to start the morning run and deadhead back at night, but residents who ride transit shouldn’t notice any difference in service, Bryan said.

Neighbours around the depot, however, are welcoming the change. The depot has prompted complaints over noise and diesel fumes since it opened in the early 1940s.

“There’s a celebration that’s going to occur when it closes,” said Jeff Murl, a Fourth Street resident who lives across from the depot.

Murl said he purchased his home knowing the depot was there, but found it to be an even more disruptive neighbour than he thought possible.

“On Sunday at 1 p.m. in the winter, they would just turn on all the buses and idle them for like 45 minutes. There were 20 buses just shaking my house,” he said.

This was in contravention of the city’s anti-idling bylaw, he noted.

“That was pretty annoying,” he said.

The yard was also a source of light pollution thanks to one large spotlight.

“I’m hoping they turn that off when they leave – last one out, turn the lights off would be a good way of doing it.”

What will happen with the site is now an open question.

“As far as its future life goes, our real estate division is going to take a look at that property and see what its best use and what the best option is for the future. At this point, we haven’t made any decisions,” Bryan said. “We always seek to derive best possible value for the properties we have when we decommission so we can return the best possible outcome for taxpayers.”

The city’s official community plan foresees medium-density mixed-use commercial/residential development on the site with a maximum floor space ratio of 2.5 and a maximum height of four storeys.

In 2015, the land was assessed at $5,089,500.

Murl said he’s not bothered by the thought of a four-storey building along Third Street, especially if it includes some kind of grocery store, but he’d like to see some of the land on the north side of the property reserved for community use.

“For me, ultimately, I’d love to see it turned into something that benefits the neighbourhood.

“Everything on Third is going to be sold to the highest bidder, real estate, maxed-out zoning, all that kind of stuff,” he said.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/north-vancouver-says-goodbye-to-bus-depot-1.2334045#sthash.CNOZQ81e.dpuf

 

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