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Letter: 'Terrifying' New West roadway needs to be fixed immediately

The city needs to expropriate properties and rebuild East Columbia Street, this writer says.
This map shows the area around a stretch of East Columbia where a pedestrian was hit by a truck on Family Day weekend.


An open letter to Mayor Patrick Johnstone and New Westminster city council:

My husband, our new daughter and I often walk through the section along East Columbia to access the riverfront park. It is nothing short of terrifying to have the stroller only inches from the semi-truck traffic flying along the roadway, but there is no other option to access this park without a 1.2-kilometre detour up a significant gradient to Richmond Street, which is a significant challenge while pushing a stroller. With the recent news of a man losing his life in this extremely dangerous section of roadway, we no longer feel safe to use this park.

There is only one solution that can resolve the pedestrian safety issue on East Columbia, and that solution is space: space to reconstruct the intersection, space to realign the roadway, space to expand the sidewalk and create a physical barrier to protect pedestrians. To achieve that space, it will require bold action — the expropriation of four properties of 120, 124, 130, 140, 146 East Columbia. These properties are inappropriately isolated, inadequately serviced by proper road access and using pedestrian areas for vehicle storage.

The expropriation of these lands would allow for a modern intersection with appropriate safety measures to keep pedestrians and vehicles safe. This would also allow for two lanes to travel north on Brunette towards Highway 1, which aligns with the road dedication taken from the Brewery District development and avoid the constant backlog of traffic in this area that impacts residence and causes rat running through the neighbourhood.

A man has lost his life. How many more people will need to die before the City of New Westminster starts implementing traffic improvement measures instead of constantly trying to "calm" these critical thoroughfares and pedestrian pathways to our local parks. I urge the city to investigate the expropriation of these properties to appropriately address this deadly problem before more lives are lost.


B. Beuerlein

📢 SOUND OFF: Do you feel safe as a pedestrian in New Westminster? What areas need safety upgrades? Share your thoughts about walking around your city. Send us a letter.

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