Why I won’t be voting for Lorrie Williams

Lorrie Williams is currently a councillor for the City of New Westminster. She is running for re-election in November 2014, and I won’t be voting for her.

There’s an intersection in New Westminster that is dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists. Since 2011 there have been various attempts to make the intersection more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists, and in 2014 the city’s Engineering Department provided a report describing all of the possibilities for doing so. It’s a long report, full of pictures and maps and all of the things that everybody could ever think of to change the intersection.

The report recommended cutting a three-metre section out of a wall, and re-routing pedestrian traffic through that. In conjunction with realigning the crosswalk, this would make pedestrians more visible to drivers turning right.

The recommendation was voted down by Council in May 2014.

Lorrie Williams had this to say:

I don’t want to see any of the wall taken down, thank you very much.

She also suggested agreed with Betty MacIntosh’s idea of putting up a blinking sign to warn drivers. (Edit: I originally stated that Councillor Williams suggested the blinking sign idea. I’ve been made aware that Councillor MacIntosh originally made this suggestion and that Councillor Williams agreed with it.)

Here are the two reasons why I’m not voting for Lorrie Williams:

  1. She put preservation of a heritage wall above pedestrian and cyclist safety.
  2. She rejected three years of hard work by experts in the field with an incredibly off-the-cuff and dismissive non-solution.

Patrick Johnstone (who is also running for City Council) summed up #2 the best:

With all due respect, does the Councilor seriously think that through three years of engineering staff time, committee meetings by at least three City committees (two who are dedicated to discussing accessible transportation issues), and the hours spent by the team of professional traffic consultants hired to develop and assess the best alternatives – IT NEVER OCCURRED TO THEM TO SEE IF ADDING A FREAKING FLASHING LIGHT WOULD WORK!?!

The arrogance expressed by Lorrie Williams in thinking she might know more about traffic safety than professionals and experts who live and breathe traffic safety, that’s why she lost my vote.

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