Vertical debate on transportation plan

City of Maple Ridge releases its transportation plan.

Speed humps were installed along ‘Shady Lane’ in Maple Ridge as a trial experience.

Speed humps were installed along ‘Shady Lane’ in Maple Ridge as a trial experience.

Future requests to slow commuters down could get a bumpy ride at city hall, because at least one councillor is critical of the use of speed bumps along 124th Avenue in Maple Ridge.

Coun. Michael Morden noted that the residents along Shady Lane, as the street is known, are “ecstatic,” but asked council, “was that the right decision for the community as a whole?”

He noted that the fire department is against the use of speed bumps, or humps, and they can also create snow removal issues.

The traffic that would otherwise be on Shady Lane is simply traveling on a different route, making those roads busier, said Morden.

Now the city is receiving requests for speed bumps from residents on other busy streets, where residents feel traffic is going faster than the legal limit.

Frank Quinn, general manager of public works and development, noted that the speed bumps were installed as a test case, to be reviewed after six months as to whether they should be part of the city’s traffic calming policy.

Mayor Ernie Daykin said a large portion of his e-mails from the public are about traffic congestion, and a lack of courtesy by drivers. He meets with people, and even watches traffic at busy intersections in his own “Ernie Daykin unscientific traffic counts,” to relate to the problems.

Daykin explained after the meeting that city hall knew that the Golden Ears Bridge would change traffic patterns in the community.

One major solution to commuter congestion is going to be the widening of 128th Avenue to four lanes, and the city has been pushing for that, but it is not imminent.

Daykin said “vertical deflections,” or speed bumps, have not previously been a traffic calming option for Maple Ridge, but were tried based on neighbourhood requests.

He thought it was a better solution than blocking the street to though traffic, which was also suggested.

“There are spots where speed bumps are appropriate. This is a trial – we’ll see what it looks like,” Daykin added.

The mayor said he travels 122nd Avenue frequently, which uses traffic “buttons” – smaller intersection roundabouts – as traffic calming devices.

“It’s the safest it has been in years.”

The speed bump debate was part of a larger discussion prompted by the release of the city’s transportation plan on Monday.

The plans calls for $28 million in spending in the next five years, and $157 million over the next 20 years. Most of it will add to the road network – $142 million. But the plan includes pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure.

The challenge is to ensure that the transportation system keeps pace with population growth.

From 1991 to 2011, the population of Maple Ridge grew by almost 60 per cent, to 76,000 residents.

It is now over 80,000.

By 2031, the city is projected to grow to almost 110,000.

 

@ For more on the transportation plan,

visit mapleridgenews.com