I’ve really been dropping the ball on these ACTBiPed reports. After missing out on reporting on two, I’m a month late for the September 19, 2018 meeting. Sorry! Here’s the agenda package for the meeting so you can follow along at home.
We started off discussing a pedestrian-controlled crossing that will be installed near the corner of Royal Avenue and 11th Street. There’s a lot going on here to unpack. First, it’ll be crossing Royal Avenue, part of TransLink’s Major Road Network and a truck route through New Westminster. It’s at the bottom of a hill, which means that vehicles are moving quickly (67.5 km/h on average in a 50 km/h zone). The vehicles are often heavy trucks which require more distance to stop. All of this means that New Westminster can’t just throw up a traffic light and call it done, there’s coordination with TransLink that needs to happen.
That coordination is happening, and TransLink requires an Advance Warning Flasher be installed on the eastbound direction of Royal Avenue. The city is also going to extend the median along Royal Avenue from Columbia Street towards the crossing, and install fencing along the median so pedestrians cannot cross the street except at the crosswalk. Discussion around the table seemed to focus on the fencing as a bunch of people feel that it’s hostile to pedestrians (I’m not included in that group, because I feel that this location is a good spot for such a fence — other locations I’d be resistant to it). There was also talk about controlling some of the turns from driveways or 11th Street there, as drivers may be looking one way while pedestrians are crossing where they’re not looking.
Construction should be starting soon with projected completion in early 2019.
Next up: bus shelters! New Westminster is going to get (at least) four new bus shelters by the end of 2018:
- Agnes Street eastbound at Elliot Street (stop is serviced by the 103 and 105)
- 6th Avenue eastbound at 6th Street (stop is serviced by the 155)
- 8th Street northbound at 3rd Avenue (stop is serviced by the 123)
- 8th Street southbound at 3rd Avenue (stop is serviced by the 123)
We then received a report from staff concerning transit stop accessibility. New Westminster’s goal is to have 100% of the bus stops in the city be accessible, where feasible and where bus ramps are deployable. Because of New Westminster’s topography, 98% of the bus stops in the city have the potential to be accessible.
In 2006 52% of the city’s bus stops were accessible, and in 2017 that percentage has risen to 94%, which is the highest percentage of all the cities in Metro Vancouver. But it’s not good enough! There are still 9 bus stops in New Westminster that have the potential to be made accessible. Coast Mountain Bus Company has approved funding of $11,250 to go towards the city’s 2018 Accessible Transit Stop program, which means four more transit stops can be made accessible in 2018. There are two along Ewen Avenue, one on 6th Street (stop 52421 at 5th Avenue, serviced by the 106) and one on Richmond Street (stop 53616 at the graveyard, serviced by the 155).
These four will bring New Westminster’s bus stop accessibility up to 96% with five stops remaining.
There was a report about spot improvements to the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway, particularly in the industrial section east of Sapperton. Go check it out in the agenda for all the details!
Then came a report and discussion about the overpass going in over Stewardson Way near Grimston Park, a long-standing issue for nearby residents since the Queensborough Bridge connections were “improved” for vehicles. The new multi-use bridge should be started soon with the completion in March 2019.
The bridge spurred discussion about the BC Parkway, which this bridge will tie into and potentially cause more foot and bicycle traffic on. There’s a section of the BC Parkway along Stewardson Way that’s incomplete between 5th Avenue and 14th Street. There used to be a gravel path on property owned by Southern Rail Yards but they fenced it off due to liability concerns, forcing pedestrians and cyclists to share a sidewalk directly adjacent to Stewardson Way. City staff has been in discussions with SRY to re-open the gravel path by offering various concessions (assuming liability, using city funds to pave it, etc) but SRY is very resistant to these improvements.
ACTBiPed passed a motion to advise council to direct staff to keep up the pressure on SRY and hopefully come to an agreement that will make pedestrians and cyclists safer along this stretch of the BC Parkway.
And that was our September 19th meeting!