A few suggestions to relieve our congestion

Predictions proved to be way off as routes in area under-utilized

Re: Transportation plan key to cut carbon (Cycling, Aug. 17).

Being a commuter (by car to Burnaby), I read with interest Jackie Chow’s column on the District of Maple Ridge’s upcoming review of its transportation plan.

Whilst  the scribe’s writings were free of the usual rhetoric one is so used to reading from the ‘cycle set,’ there was one glaring factual error that leapt out at this reader that stands correction.

I refer to the statement “there is little potential for increasing east-west road capacity for cars (on the Lougheed Highway). ”

Any observant driver who has used this corridor, as I have for the past 23 years, can tell you that this corridor is chronically under utilized and is slated to get worse if TransLink’s predictions regarding Golden Ears Bridge volumes are realized.

Presently the  big bottlenecks are the lights at Harris Road and the east end of the Pitt River Bridge. Why on earth would anyone build a six-lane bridge and not provide a means for through traffic to bypass the lights?. It’s a complete waste of the money spent on the bridge.

However, having said that, the situation could be improved if both the Harris Road and Pitt River lights were re-timed to give a slightly longer green for the Lougheed Highway traffic.

Eliminating these bottlenecks would lessen traffic volume on Old Dewdney Trunk and Harris roads, as fewer drivers would use these longer routes  to bypass the lineups.

I have even used Ford Road eastbound on my homeward journey when the Harris Rd. lights have backed up traffic as far as the Pitt River.

Another improvement that should be dear to the hearts of the environmental crowd would be synchronizing  the lights on Lougheed Hwy. through the community. Drivers would rapidly learn that by driving at the speed limit, they could hit every light on green. This simple act would eliminate constant stopping and starting (which, on an average commute, accounts for over half the energy used) and slow down some of the speeders as a bonus.

Both the above proposed solutions would be relatively easy, and inexpensive, to implement, but have been studiously ignored by the powers that be. If I were a cynical person, heaven forbid, I would say that the problem lies with the planners in both municipalities who prefer the expensive option. That is the building of a new east-west corridor along the Abernethy-128th Avenue-Old Dewdney line, which, just coincidentally, will open up swaths of ALR land for development.

Just on a personal note, when I started my present commute in 2001, it took me 25 minutes on a weekend and 40 to 45 on a weekday. Now it takes me 55 to 60 minutes on weekdays.

Recently I tried public transport, for three days (after my daughter wrote my car off late on a Friday evening). Using bus, weekend, or West Coast Express, weekdays, the journey took one hour and 55 minutes.

I’ll pass on that, thanks.


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