Glenn Hurst is a Maple Ridge resident who is frustrated by traffic congestion caused by the Golden Ears Provincial Park on summer weekends. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Maple Ridge resident frustrated with Yennadon traffic congestion

Traffic along 232 Street a nightmare for those living in Silver Valley and Rock Ridge

Glenn Hurst is sick of the traffic along 232 Street.

The Maple Ridge resident is always stuck in gridlock that backs up most days all the way to 128 Avenue.

He says sunny days are the worst, with people trying to get to Golden Ears Park and Maple Ridge Park, in addition to those trying to make it home in either Silver Valley or Rock Ridge.

Hurst would like to see the city act now to extend Abernethy Way from 232 Street to 240 Street, part of the city’s long term capital plan, to relieve congestion in the area. There are also plans for a second bridge access into Silver Valley at 240 Street.

He has been personally emailing Mayor Mike Morden and city councillors on the subject.

“Maple Ridge is just dragging their heels on this. It’s pretty ridiculous,” said Hurst from his home along Dogwood Avenue, east of the Black Sheep Pub.

“It’s a complete gong-show,” complained Hurst.

READ MORE: Starting July 27, visitors must have a day pass for Golden Ears Provincial Park

“It’s backed up all the way from the round-a-bout at Fern Street to about 128th, where the Petro Canada is,” he said, adding that people who live up on the hill in Silver Valley or Rock Ridge have no alternative.

“Especially Rock Ridge, they’ve only got one way out of that place,” he said.

Access for residents is a challenge right now, conceded Dave Pollock, general manager of engineering services with the City of Maple Ridge.

“Construction costs are significant and require funding commitments from senior levels of government,” said Pollock about the future infrastructure plans for the area.

Although, the city is “planning to commence” the conceptual design of Abernethy from 232 Street to 240 Street, including a connection to the 240 Street bridge, added Pollock.

City of Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden confirmed that council will be receiving an update on the Abernethy extension sometime after the summer break.

Council approved the hiring of a consultant to provide them with more detailed route option details, said Morden.

“Council did note that importance of connectivity via the future 240th bridge as critical infrastructure to provide alternative access to GEPP and surrounding areas,” he noted, adding that 300,000 people visit Alouette Lake a year under normal circumstances, but due to travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic many Maple Ridge getaways have seen tremendous use.

Pollock also suggested congestion in the area is due to the high volume of vehicles seeking access to Golden Ears Park.

“Access to Golden Ears Park is controlled by BC Parks and the restrictions on the number of people seeking to access the Park has presented significant traffic challenges along Fern Crescent as well as 232 Street,” said Pollock.

READ MORE: B.C. launches day-use pass pilot for Golden Ears Park amid COVID-19 surge

The city has been working with B.C. Parks staff to put up advance electronic signage boards, noted Pollock, to provide information to people driving to the park.

Pollock also had hopes that the introduction of the day pass system for Golden Ears Park would also alleviate pressures on the road network in the area.

As of Monday, July 27, visitors to Golden Ears Park are required to have one of three vehicle passes to enter the park – a pass for the hiking trails at the north end, the Gold Creek and West Canyon parking lot; a pass for the day use area and the main beach; and a pass will also be available for the boat launch.

Stu Burgess, operations manager for Golden Ears park, was happy with the first day of the pilot project, although, he said, there were some minor glitches.

“Some people were not getting their email with their pass information,” explained Burgess.

But you have to have an account to get a pass, he said, and there is a section that displays the passes visitors currently hold for the day, and staff were looking at that.

“We had some backups,” Burgess added, but at most, he said, it was only 20 minutes.

READ MORE: Record numbers flock to Golden Ears Provincial Park

“We ended up with about 2,700 cars through the gate and it seems to have taken care of the overcrowding in the parking lots,” added Burgess.

Staff had to turn some people away who didn’t have their passes. But they were able to help others secure a pass for the main beach area, which were still available until about 2: 30 p.m. on Monday.

Burgess is hoping as word spreads more about the passes, traffic is going to clear along Fern Crescent.

“It seems to be working,” he said, as traffic on Tuesday, July 28, was quieter and more people were arriving with passes.

Hurst, though, was unimpressed with the lineup of cars, again, on Monday.

“It’s completely jammed up here. It’s ridiculous,” said Hurst.

“There’s no signage telling you that you have to have a reservation or anything in here.

Hurst said he attempted to drive up to the park but had to turn around.

“It’s like you’re standing at the Peace Arch Border on a long weekend.”

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