City wants to slow down traffic on 123rd Avenue. (Contributed)

New process will speed up traffic-slowing in Maple Ridge

Talking to the neighbours before work begins.

Instead of upsetting neighbours along 123rd Avenue by removing a parking lane, a new multi-purpose lane located behind the sidewalk could keep everyone happy.

After hearing from upset neighbhours over the summer, the city is proposing that an asphalt path be built behind the sidewalk, providing safe cycling, while saving the parking lane along the stretch of 123rd between 203rd to Laity streets.

But that idea will have to go back to public consultation, again.

Maple Ridge initially proposed removing the parking to provide a separated bike lane as one of its traffic-calming measures.

It’s since approved a new traffic calming policy that streamlines how the city deals with requests for speed bumps or lower speed limits, in order to slow down traffic.

Before, the city would implement measures, then have to remove them after people complained, said Coun. Gordy Robson.

Under the new policy, once a request for traffic calming is received, the city will blanket the area with letters asking people to confirm their support for traffic calming.

If a majority support something being done, the city will spend a week monitoring traffic and collecting speed and volume data. Engineers will then come up with traffic control plan and present it to the neighbours for their approval.

“It’s going to stop wasting our time designing things people don’t want,” said Robson.

It’s hoped the new process will speed up the city’s handling of traffic-calming requests. Currently, there are 63 requests on file, but only 20 of those are in progress.

Some of the major traffic-calming projects: River Road, between 207th and Carshill streets; 132nd Avenue, between 216th and 232nd streets; and 123rd Avenue, from 203rd to 216th streets.

For River Road, traffic circles were installed at some intersections, having the function of slowing down traffic. But that measure has affected driveway access for some residents so is taking a lot of time to figure out.

A post-and-rail fence was constructed along 132nd Avenue along with a gravel, multi-use pathway, but those are interim steps for slowing traffic on the arterial road. More measures will be done next year such as re-aligning the road and installing speed bump,s “but the costs are expected to be significant including land aquisition and drainage improvement,” said a staff report.

As far as new road construction in Maple Ridge, the city wants to your two-cents’ worth regarding the re-build of 232nd Street from 132nd Avenue up to Silver Valley. It’s holding an open house next Wednesday, Oct. 11 in the foyer of city hall between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. New lighting, sidewalks and cycling paths will be part of the rebuild.

Design boards will be on display and city staff, as well as the design consultant, will be available to answer questions.

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