News

New West resident wants speed bumps on First

A passenger hits the pedestrian light at First Street and Sixth Avenue so the vehicle he is riding in can access McBride Boulevard during Tuesday’s rush hour. First Street resident Matt Church would like the city to put speed bumps on the street to prevent rat running. - Grant Granger/NewsLeader
A passenger hits the pedestrian light at First Street and Sixth Avenue so the vehicle he is riding in can access McBride Boulevard during Tuesday’s rush hour. First Street resident Matt Church would like the city to put speed bumps on the street to prevent rat running.
— image credit: Grant Granger/NewsLeader

A First Street resident wants speed bumps near Herbert Spencer elementary to prevent rat runners, even though the city says the traffic doesn’t warrant it.

Matt Church believes vehicles are taking advantage of First between Eighth and Sixth avenues in the afternoon rush hour.

It’s the only street in the area running parallel to McBride Boulevard without speed bumps.

Speed bump mapChurch said that tempts drivers to use First to avoid congestion on McBride as they head for the Pattullo Bridge.

Drivers hop out of their vehicles when they reach Sixth to push the pedestrian light button. That allows them to turn left onto Sixth to get to McBride, or to continue on down First to Royal Avenue.

Church said rush hour traffic on his street has risen significantly since the tolls on the Port Mann Bridge were increased Jan. 1, driving many commuters to the Pattullo as a free alternative.

“We feel like the pressure has increased since the tolls have been increased, especially during the afternoon/evening rush hour,” said Church. “Some of the vehicles are traveling at high rates of speed, and the traffic circle (at Seventh Avenue) doesn’t tend to slow them down.”

Church said the situation is a safety hazard with Herbert Spencer elementary on the route, Glenbrook middle school nearby, and the Crosstown Greenway cycle route crossing it.

“There needs to be less traffic, and it needs to be traveling at a lesser speed,” said Church.

He’d like to see a speed bump on First Street between Eighth Avenue and Durham Street, and another between Sixth and Princess alongside Spencer elementary.

Church didn’t get any disagreement when he took his concerns to the Glenbrooke North Residents Association meeting last week. They all backed his position.

But the initial response from city hall wasn’t as agreeable.

City transportation engineer Jerry Behl wrote in an email to Church that a traffic count he did showed speed bumps were unnecessary. Behl said during a 15-minute period (3:48 to 4:03 p.m.) on May 20 he counted 30 vehicles and did not note any speeding issues.

“From the data that we have, and the site observation, this location would not meet the preliminary screening process outlined in [the city’s] traffic calming policy,” wrote Behl.

Church, however, said it’s hard to get a good read on the situation in just 15 minutes, especially since it was before the rush hour gets really heavy. He added that some days are worse than others. All it takes to get lots of ratrunners is one little incident to back up the traffic on McBride.

Despite the setback, Church plans to talk to city council at an upcoming meeting.

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