Plans to re-develop a portion of the Port Coquitlam Home Depot parking lot for a tire store and restaurant are running into obstacles because of ongoing traffic concerns in one of the city's busiest shopping districts.
On a regular day, hundreds of drivers use Nicola Avenue to get in and out of parking lots along the stretch that includes a liquor store, a supermarket, Costco and other businesses.
However, the city has raised concerns that re-development plans for the Home Depot parking lot could worsen traffic in the area.
One idea being proposed is to shift the Costco driveway on Nicola Avenue approximately 3.5 metres northward to better align with the Home Depot driveway and make the intersection safer for drivers.
Kubik Developments Corp. is proposing to rezone, subdivide and purchase a 42,000 sq-ft. portion of property at 1069 Nicola Ave. to develop a new 10,500 sq-ft. multi-tenant commercial building on the new parcel.
It hopes to reach an agreement with Costco and is willing to pay for, and construct, the new eastern entrance to the big box store parking lot.
The major concern is the safety of drivers making left hand turns out of the Home Depot parking lot, often into oncoming traffic speeding along Nicola Avenue.
Meanwhile, drivers exiting from Costco also face similar challenges.
Recently, councillors visited the area and saw problems first-hand.
"We saw at least five almost miss-hits within a span of 20 minutes," said Coun. Steve Darling, who acknowledged the developer is doing a lot of legwork to resolve the issue.
However, he said the traffic problems need to be resolved.
Coun. Dean Washington said he also feels uncomfortable making the left turn into traffic and sympathizes with others trying to get in and out of busy parking lots on the street.
He said the Costco driveway realignment is not enough, and suggested that more changes, including a signal or even speed bumps to slow traffic, are required, to make the intersection safer.
Despite concerns, councillors agreed to consider the proposal at a later date after more information is obtained by city staff.
However, Washington remained opposed.
Mayor Brad West agreed more information is needed on ways to resolve the traffic issue before approving the developer's plans.
"I think this discussion has underscored [that] when staff bring this to council for consideration we need to have as many of those questions answered as possible and as many of those options canvassed as discussed here."
Earlier, he told the Tri-City News that design decisions for the area made decades ago are contributing to problems now.
"The discussion were having about how do we fix the mess over at Costco, if different decisions had been made 20 years ago, or 25 to 30 years ago, it would be much easier to come up with solutions.."
To deal with some of the problems, council is looking for a review of options for transportation network improvements in the entire Dominion Triangle area.
This isn't the first time this area has generated safety and traffic concerns.
Recently, city works crews were called out to direct traffic when a gas rationing edict from the B.C. government resulted in long lineups at the Costco gas bar.