Residents along 132nd Avenue in Maple Ridge are hoping a traffic calming experiment next week will slow speeding commuters and show the District of Maple Ridge that narrowing the road will help make it safer.
Organized by the Alouette Valley Association, Park in the Street Day will see residents along the northern Maple Ridge road park their vehicles along the shoulder to make the roadway seem more narrow, and hopefully slow down traffic.
Bruce Hobbs lives along 132nd Ave. and says commuters making their way between the Silver Valley and Rock Ridge subdivisions and 128th Avenue routinely speed 20 to 30 km/h in excess of the 50 km/h speed limit.
“It’s basically a racetrack for commuters,” said Hobbs. “It’s been an ongoing problem for years.”
Hobbs said wildlife, like bears and deer, have been hit by speeding vehicles along the stretch of road, as have horses. The road is popular with horseback riders, and the Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre is located on 132nd Ave., as well.
One horse, How-D, was killed in 2004 after being clipped by a vehicle on 132nd Ave., while another horse had to be put down in 2006 after suffering the same fate on that road.
Hobbs said it’s a matter of time before a person loses their life on the road.
“We want to fix this before somebody gets killed,” he said.
Hobbs is part of the Alouette Valley Association, which has proposed to turn the stretch of 132nd Ave. between 216th and 232nd streets into a recreation roadway.
The proposal, which was presented to Maple Ridge council last year, calls for the narrowing the road to allow for a separated horse trail on the south side of 132nd Ave., and a multi-use bike lane on the north side. The trails would connect with existing horse and bike trails in the area, and create a safe corridor between Maple Ridge Park, Horseman’s Park, and Jerry Sulina Park.
Narrowing the road will hopefully encourage commuters to slow down, said Hobbs.
“Speed bumps would be great, too,” he said. “We still want people to use the road, we just want them to slow down.”
Frank Quinn, the general manager of public works for the District of Maple Ridge, said the proposal is being considered as part of Maple Ridge’s ongoing transportation review.
“We’re going to have a series of public sessions … and meet with residents in the coming months,” he said.
In the meantime, Quinn said the District of Maple Ridge will be streamlining Abernethy Way between 224th and 232nd streets by removing four-way stop signs to make it more attractive to commuters.