[Re: Council ponders extending east-west route, Nov. 26, The News]
I read with interest the article regarding council’s long-term plan to extend Abernethy Way out to 256th Street.
This, of course, is not a new idea. Decades ago plans were drawn up to do just that and land was earmarked for it.
Those old plans show an almost straight line of road from 232nd to 240th and out to 256th Street.
Unfortunately, through the years, owing mostly to the fickleness of successive councils of the day, many pieces of the land were sold and developed leading to today’s plan with its diversions around residential development – which only add to the cost as well as having to re-purchase land to facilitate the route.
The most recent time the extension of the road was considered was during the planning and building of Golden Ears Bridge.
The promise then was that the extension of Abernethy Way/124th Avenue out to 256th Street was just a matter of time once the bridge and its access to the world south of the Fraser River would open Maple Ridge up for industrial and commercial development.
A much needed northern route through Maple Ridge was also promised. Sadly, though, we still don’t even have the promised four lanes of Abernethy Way – beyond the section between 210th to 224th Streets – due to short sightedness of the council of the time that failed to push for the full four lanes of road right from the bridge out to 232nd Street.
I’m sure it is little comfort to commuters and commercial traffic to see the infrastructure in place to expand the road into the full four lanes to 232nd Street, while they sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the existing two lanes.
Although the Abernethy Way extension is a bit of a glamour project for them, I would like to direct council’s attention to the state of affairs on Dewdney Trunk Road at 240th Street and points east.
Frankly, it’s embarrassing.
Council has allowed and encouraged subdivision development out that way for many years now, particularly in the area south of Dewdney Trunk Road, while facilitating commercial and industrial development in the 256th Street area north of Dewdney Trunk Road.
As a result of these planning policies, traffic volume on Dewdney Trunk Road has grown exponentially. But apart from re-surfacing some years ago, the road has not had any improvements to keep up with that traffic growth.
Residential commuters and commercial vehicles are competing for space on the road and everyone is losing. Most days during the morning and evening rushes, traffic is barely moving, particularly around Garibaldi Secondary at 248th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road. Some long weekends I’ve seen traffic almost at a standstill between 240th and 256th Streets.
While I’m glad to see that council is looking ahead on Abernethy Way, I caution them not to overlook our existing road problems.
With the continued residential growth in the eastern part of Maple Ridge unlikely to slow any time in the future, traffic is only going to increase.
Usual municipal growth policy is to wait for the land to be developed along a stretch of road and then implement measures such as widening the road, adding curbs and sidewalks.
That isn’t sufficient for this problem.
Widening and improving Dewdney Trunk Road should be a priority for council now.
Simon Challenger, Maple Ridge
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