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Don’t replace Pattullo, New Westminster traffic committee says

New Westminster’s Neighbourhood Traffic Advisory Committee has recommended that city council not support replacing the Pattullo Bridge.

The committee also voted that the city insist tolls be placed on the Pattullo to coincide with tolls being instituted when the new Port Mann Bridge is opened.

The majority of committee members at the May 16 meeting supported the idea of having no bridge at all because replacing the existing one with a larger span would increase traffic.

There were only two dissenting votes when the motion to recommend not supporting the replacement was called.

Members were also worried the Port Mann Bridge tolls would increase traffic in New Westminster as drivers seek a route that was toll-free.

The committee also recommended council direct city staff to arrange for additional air quality testing in sensitive locations such as around schools before the new Port Mann Bridge is opened.

The issue continues to grow in New Westminster.

Dennis Paulley, president of the Massey-Victory Heights Residents Association, said its meetings have become much more well attended because of the issue. He’s even come up with a motto for the Pattullo: “Toll it or tear it down.”

“That’s the general consensus around here,” said Paulley.

“Hopefully city council is going to pay attention to what the voters out there are saying. If anyone’s got any other options, then great, but there’s a fear that any more traffic from the bridge is going to affect [residential areas].”

Paulley pointed out Vancouver rejected having a freeway run through it in the 1960s, and another crossing to the North Shore built to replace the Lions Gate Bridge in the 1990s.

New Westminster can do the same.

“If Vancouver can decline a highway or an expansion on their bridge, then we should be treated no differently,” said Paulley.

Meanwhile, TransLink has set its dates for a second round of open houses on the Pattullo Bridge project.

The first is Thursday, June 21 from 2 to 8 p.m. at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus with another at the Sapperton Pensioners Hall on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m to 3 p.m.

Another session will be held at the pensioners hall on Tuesday, June 26, from 2 to 8 p.m., and at Surrey SFU on Wednesday, June 27, 2-8 p.m.

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