Half a dozen Perth Drive residents showed up to council chambers on July 23 to express their frustration with what they say are dangerous parking conditions on their street.
“Due to demand and lack of clearly designated parking at the end of Perth Drive, vehicles are parking wherever they can,” a staff report to council states. “This is creating conflict between local homeowners and road users as well as blocking the fire hydrant. The congestion is also making it difficult for emergency vehicles to access the area creating a further safety concern.”
The District plans to reinstate a gravel shoulder on a portion of roadside District right-of-way land, where a resident had placed a fence. The report said the fence pushes parking onto the road, which would otherwise be wide enough to accommodate vehicles.
At the July 23 meeting, Perth Drive resident Stewart Kerr said he was stunned by the decision, although he recognizes it’s District land. He said without the fence, the bikers would be pushed into the yard, where he and other residents said the bikers often picnic and hang out on their lawns after riding. The residents present raised concerns that they could no longer safely walk their dogs, or drive in or out of their own driveways, conditions they say increased in recent years.
“It’s mayhem,” Kerr said.
“You are trying to mitigate a problem by adding two parking spots, three parking spots,” one Perth Drive resident said of the gravel shoulder the District plans to reinstate. She expressed her frustration with feeling as though the community’s residents were not the priority.
The District staff will also look at installing more signs pointing to the Garibaldi Highlands Elementary bike hub 800 metres away, which features bike tools, a washing station and washroom.
Although signs for ‘adventure hubs’ around Squamish were recently installed to encourage proper parking, Coun. Armand Hurford said another sign to tell people where the specified parking is should be added earlier on the route.
Coun. John French pointed out that once word gets out about the bike hub at the elementary school, more people will use it. Coun. Eric Anderson added that the parking situation was similar at Smoke Bluffs Park, which he said was once overwhelmed with climbers until a new parking lot was added and recreationalists self-organized.
Coun. Doug Race asked if staff had considered resident-only parking in the area, but Gary Buxton, the District’s general manager of community planning and infrastructure, said it would be difficult to enforce without a permitting system. Buxton also added it would simply move the problem somewhere else.
Director of engineering, Chris Wyckham, said bylaw has difficulty enforcing parking at the north end of Perth, near the trails, because the signs are not clear. The report to council states a sunny day could see up to three calls to bylaw about parking on Perth.
Wyckham told council the engineering department looked at all of Perth to determine how to mitigate parking.
Mayor Karen Elliott said that while council has to think about access for recreationalists, “we should be putting in a system that doesn’t require residents to be our bylaw officers, so they shouldn’t be the ones that have to be out there talking to people. It should be included where you can park and where you can’t so these folks don’t have to confront people all the time.
“A temporary solution has to protect the rights of the citizens up there, create or manage some of the parking that exists, keep the roadway open for emergency services, better signage,” Elliott said.
“We, with our trails groups, need to think of a long-term solution for where we’re going to put people.”
At the meeting, chief administrative officer Linda Glenday told residents that the District will be in direct communication with them in the coming weeks.