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Fate of traffic flow on White Rock's busy Marine Drive this summer under debate

Marine Drive has been one-way for months to allow for more capacity for restaurants during the pandemic.
Summary

Traffic along White Rock's busy Marine Drive has been slow since May when the city closed one lane

Council had decided to close one lane to allow restaurants to expand their seating options

Restrictions on restaurant capacity were lifted July 1 when the province entered Step 3 in its Restart Plan

WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) — White Rock council is considering moving away from its temporary, one-way traffic plan for Marine Drive, at a special meeting Monday night.

Council closed one lane in May, in order to make space for patios, in an effort to help restaurants during the pandemic.

But, it’s drawn mixed responses since then.

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The popular beachside town saw heavy traffic lineups for drivers as a result. Now, as the weather continues to remain hot, more and more families have been flocking to enjoy the famous White Rock Pier and oceanfront.

Read more: White Rock councillor worried Marine Drive lane closure will impact traffic safety

In May, White Rock’s mayor told NEWS 1130 traffic was expected to slow down, which could also stand as a message that the city is in the midst of the pandemic.

“Potentially there could be more traffic down there, and it could be longer to get in and out. We’re hoping people understand that White Rock is not open for business as usual,” Mayor Darryl Walker said.

But in mid-June non-essential travel across the province reopened, with many seeing a boost to tourism once again. A report from White Rock city planner found that due to the lifting of provincial restrictions, restaurants can now seat more patrons indoors, and are no longer forced to expand their services into the municipal boulevard.

Read more: White Rock pier, promenade to remain open, despite crowds

Council will debate keeping the lane closed until full-indoor seating capacity returns for indoor dining. Or, moving forward with returning to two-way traffic.

Monday’s special council meeting will be livestreamed and begins at 4 p.m. Members of the public can call in and express their opinion on the closure.