New route through Pitt Meadows proposed

Lougheed Highway congestion main problem: Ken Joyner

An underpass taking vehicles beneath the CP Railway tracks on Harris Road will serve only to speed motorists to a congested Lougheed Highway, says a former city councillor.

It will not relieve traffic congestion through Pitt Meadows, and Ken Joyner said council should be looking at a new east-west route and an overpass to get traffic out of the city more quickly.

Joyner has lived in the city for 60 years, and was an alderman on council for nine years, ending in 1982. He ran for mayor that year, but was not elected.

Joyner proposes a northwest route out of the city that would take traffic up Baynes, Ford and McTavish Roads. McTavish would be extended for a short distance, following the Katzie Slough, and ultimately come out at Kennedy, near the Pitt River Bridge. There, it would access Lougheed via a new overpass, which would allow traffic to proceed on the highway in either direction.

Joyner said the plan would take a lot of traffic off the highway through Pitt Meadows, and would even serve as a link to the Hammond area.

Joyner said variations on this plan were discussed at the council table during the 1970s, but the route has been forgotten for many years.

While it would demand some significant infrastructure, Joyner said his plan would make better use of the routes already in place.

“It’s using existing roads, which would have to be upgraded,” he said.

He acknowledges the underpass, which CP Rail and the city are discussing, should also be done, if only so emergency responders do not get trapped on the wrong side of a train.

“You have to have it for fire services and emergency services,” said Joyner.

But he asserts that if the CPR benefits from an underpass to assist the railway in train building, then the company should pay for it.

Mayor John Becker said he is aware of past discussions and plans like the one Joyner suggests.

“In Pitt Meadows, traffic improvements are like the weather – everyone talks about them,” said Becker. “And nothing ever seems to be done.”

But Becker said the CPR underpass project will be on council’s agenda on Jan. 19, at a regular meeting. There will be a detailed presentation of the information the city currently has about the proposed project.

He predicts that if the underpass gets constructed, it will only be through the cooperation of multiple partners – including the likes of the rail company and Port Metro – because it is a project that will cost more than $20 million.

“Anything we do has ramifications to change our community for all time,” said Becker, and promised full community consultation before these transit projects are begun.

Budget

Pitt Meadows faces rising costs to pay for the creation of its own parks and recreation department, and a parks and rec transition reserve will be discussed as council enters budget deliberations on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Mark Roberts, the acting CAO, has prepared a budget that calls for a 3.45 per cent tax increase, and now councillors will examine expenditures to see if that number can be adjusted.

Other new budget costs to be debated will include an environmental officer position, recommendations from the citizens’ committee on open government, new software systems and a city events coordinator.

Following Thursday’s deliberations, council will have almost completed the budget process. The steps remaining will be public consultation at a Feb. 4 workshop titled Municipal Taxes Explained, from 7-9 p.m. at city hall, and final adoption of the budget bylaw on March 1.