March 18, 2021

North Shore Tour 2 – Complete Streets and Lolo Lanes

Councillor Tony Valente has been advocating for ‘complete streets’ even before he ran for council in the City of North Vancouver – a city laid our before the dominance of the auto (check out its City-Beautiful aspirations on Keith Road or Grand Boulevard) but succumbed to Motordom as a post-war suburban city (check out Third Street west of Forbes or, worse, Esplanade).

Esplanade was a particular target for Tony (who now lives on the arterial) in his advocacy for streets that could serve a variety of modes safely and beautifully.  He’s now seeing it come to fulfilment.

The changes, complete with separated bike lane, are part of a greater transformation of Lower Lonsdale – with some big changes, small indicators, and one that’s quite surprising.

Here’s a delightful touch on Carrie Cates Court at Lonsdale Quay – a glass-enclosed canopy for bike racks on a newly widened and well-furnished sidewalk in front of a mixed-use tower.  Check, check, check.


But the most delightful surprise in Lower Lonsdale (which started converting curb parking to patios some years ago) is what’s happening in Lolo Lane off the 100-block.

Lanes are the final frontier in dense downtowns: how to make viable retail frontage in a service alley devoted to garbage pick-up, parking and utilities, invisible to passers-by.  Some cities have pulled it off (hello, Melbourne) yet so far it’s evaded attempts in the City of Vancouver.

But look at Lolo: notably the back end of Streetcar Brewing, with patrons clustered around small fireplaces, spatially distanced.

About as North Van as you can get: outdoors with your brew and an electric cargo bike:

Here’s another indicator: the primary entrance to Cream Pony – soon to offer donuts and fried chicken (yes, as one dish), with a vegan menu. 

A few doors down, where the residential towers on Esplanade have townhouses that duplicate suburbia with garages at grade in the back, Google Streetview picked up this:

A woman wheels her electric bike past the family car to inside charging.


The above are just a few examples of CNV’s Open Streets strategy.  Lots more here.

We’ve said it before (here), CNV is where the regional town centre is being done the best.


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  1. Esplanade is getting the full, separated cycle lane treatment from West 3rd St / Forbes St to the Lower Level Road. Will include the removal of an eastbound traffic lane and some on-street parking. Should be installed this summer.

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