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Saturday, March 2, 2024
March 2, 2024

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Vancouver’s plan to remove lanes from McGillivray Boulevard has residents concerned about safety, congestion

City council will vote on final design in spring

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

A Tuesday meeting about proposed changes to McGillivray Boulevard in east Vancouver drew a crowd of about 40 with concerns about the project.

City staff propose repaving McGillivray between Southeast Seventh Street and Southeast 164th Avenue, removing one lane in each direction and creating a 10-foot-wide mobility lane for pedestrians and cyclists.

The corridor currently consists of four car lanes — two each eastbound and westbound — and segments of sidewalk.

Some neighbors worry the proposed changes won’t adequately calm traffic while increasing congestion and creating safety risks. Neighbors also say they felt left out of the initial planning process.

Others supported the plan to improve cycling and pedestrian paths.

The Vancouver City Council will vote on the final design this spring. Construction on the road won’t begin until 2025.

Background

McGillivray Boulevard is a critical east-west corridor, connecting Interstate 205 and Southeast 164th Avenue. It provides an alternative to Mill Plain Boulevard and state Highway 14.

The road serves Wy’east Middle School and Mountain View High School, as well as Fairway Village, a community for people 55 and older. Despite the narrow bike lanes without a buffer, it is also the primary east-west bike throughway.

The road’s posted speed is 25 miles per hour, but nearly all vehicles travel as fast as 10 mph above the limit, according to the city of Vancouver.

City staff anticipate removing a lane will reduce speeding while maintaining good traffic circulation, in addition to making it safer for all users.

Officials are weighing two street design options. The first places the bike-pedestrian lane next to the curb with buffer between it and the car lane; the buffer would also provide some parking spaces.

The second option places the so-called mobility lanes on the inside of the road, next to the median that runs through the corridor. In this design, the mobility lane would be meant strictly for cyclists and pedestrians would have a smaller walking lane adjacent to the curb.

Both options would have a buffer zone with vertical markers between the car lanes and any pedestrian or cyclist lanes.

Lane reductions are not new for Vancouver. City staff pointed to MacArthur Boulevard and parts of Fourth Plain Boulevard as examples. When residents asked about adding speed bumps to the corridor, city staff responded that the fire department opposes that idea.

Public comment

Joe Arndt, a Cascade Park resident of 44 years, said neither option helps the majority of people who live near McGillivray Boulevard.

“Most of us need vehicles for getting groceries or supplies and cannot easily walk or bus or ride the bike to get support. Especially if it’s three or four bags of groceries,” Arndt said. “Neither option, one or two, addresses the needs of the majority of the road users, which are cars.”

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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