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New West hears plea for traffic light near Herbert Spencer Elementary

New West council refers intersection request to its 2024 budget process after repeated appeals from a Queen’s Park resident
New Westminster City Hall
Queen's Park resident Larry Church has been appearing before city council for about three years, advocating for safety improvements at Sixth Avenue and Second Street.

New Westminster city council will consider a request for a full signalled crossing near Herbert Spencer Elementary School as part of its 2024 budget.

Queen’s Park resident Larry Church has appeared before council several times in the past three years to voice concerns about the safety of the intersection at Sixth Avenue and Second Street. On Nov. 6, he returned to council chambers to raise the issue once again.

“What I've been trying to get council for the last three, three- and-a-half years now is to get a full signal at the intersection of Second Street and Sixth Avenue, right in front of Herbert Spencer School,” he said at Monday night’s meeting.

Church said he’s spoken to parents of children attending the school.

“It’s a very, very convoluted intersection to start with,” he said. “It only has walk signs going one direction.”

Church said there are times when Sixth Avenue traffic is stopped at the red light but vehicles on Second Street blow through the stop sign and the intersection.

“This makes it difficult for children crossing the intersection, especially if one of these cars tries to turn left and the children are trying to cross,” he said.

The boulevard on Second Street creates additional challenges, Church said.

“It makes it even more difficult for children to assess safety of crossing it,” he said.

Church said the boulevard that’s situated between the travel lanes on Second Street, also makes it challenging for the crossing guards trying to stop traffic to let students cross.

“So I'm asking council if they can get a traffic light or a pedestrian light for the pedestrians that are going to this school,” he said.

Coun. Daniel Fontaine moved a motion to have staff report back to council, as part of the 2024 budget process, about the opportunity of prioritizing the installation of a full traffic signal at the corner of Second Street and Sixth Avenue.

Coun. Ruby Campbell noted council had received a staff report about intersection safety, which outlined the city’s priorities.

“I'm not saying I will never support this, because, of course,, we all want to support kids and safe walking and encourage kids to walk and encourage everyone to walk,” she said. “But I don't think I can support this now without a further opportunity for staff to weigh in on this.”

In a 4-3 vote, council approved the motion. Fontaine and councillors Tasha Henderson, Jaimie McEvoy and Paul Minhas supported the motion, while Mayor Patrick Johnstone and councillors Campbell and Nadine Nakagawa voted in opposition.

📣  Do you think a full intersection is needed at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Second Street – or are there other intersections in the city that should be higher priority? Send us a letter.