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Oct 28,2011 Tri City News

By Jennifer McFee, Coquitlam Now
October 28, 2011
Port Moody council is seeking a new vision for the future of the Murray-Clarke corridor.

The city is embarking on a "visioning exercise" with TransLink to review options for the corridor before removing it from the major road network (MRN).

For nearly a year, council has considered removing Guildford Way, Murray Street and Clarke Street from the MRN to make them part of the local road network. Discussions began after TransLink confirmed there is currently no money to build the Murray-Clarke Connector.

City staff identified two main options for the visioning exercise discussions. The first idea is to maintain the existing predominant two lanes of travel, while the second idea is to improve the corridor to carry more traffic.

For Coun. Diana Dilworth, there may be other avenues to consider.

"I think it's important to note - that TransLink has indicated that they are supporting moving forward with a joint visioning exercise. They are willing to work with us and, seriously, they need to be. I think they understood very clearly if they're not going to provide the corridor, there's going to be a number of transportation issues they have to resolve," Dilworth said at Tuesday's council meeting.

"I think this gives us the opportunity to speak with business owners who are down there, people who use that route. I think using creativity and looking at a number of different options, we can come up with a solution that's not as confrontational as taking the road out of the MRN."

Coun. Mike Clay agreed. "If [TransLink] has a better idea, then we should be all ears for that," Clay said.

"But I think that this report lays out an excellent framework for talking to TransLink in light of the fallback position, for this is prior to continuing to remove this from the MRN."

Removal of the Murray-Clarke corridor from the MRN could have a financial impact of $492,465 per year, or an average 1.86-per-cent tax increase, according to a city staff report. These numbers include a loss of TransLink contributions to capital and operating costs, as well as a potential loss of grants for improvement projects.

For Coun. Gerry Nuttall, these costs are too high. "I'm not prepared to simply take it out [of the MRN] and charge the taxpayers of this city $500,000," Nuttall said. "I think we have to do our due diligence."

Coun. Bob Elliott, however, feels the city has been waiting long enough.

"We've been waiting 20 years for this - I just sound like an old broken record in this. But what's the point in talking to them anymore? They're not even listening anyway. It's off their books. It's not even on their radar. They've told us that many, many times," Elliott said.

"The only action I can see on this is taking this out of the MRN as council voted to do - Enough is enough. We have to take immediate action on this."

For Coun. Karen Rockwell, the solution doesn't have to be all or nothing.

"I think there's endless possibilities for that corridor and I think this provides us with the opportunity to sit down with TransLink and say 'Here it is.' It doesn't have to be all or nothing," Rockwell said.

"Clearly right now, it's nothing. TransLink's not doing anything. We're not getting our Murray-Clarke Connector. It may end up that way at the end of the day, but maybe there are some creative solutions in working with the residents and the businesses and commuters."

Council agreed that staff should move forward with the visioning exercise framework.

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