News Views: Winding road

The City of Maple Ridge wants to straighten out Fern Crescent.

The City of Maple Ridge wants to straighten out the section of Fern Crescent with the twists and turns around towering trees and through the scenic canopy that leads to Golden Ears Provincial Park, one of the busiest in B.C.

The narrow, two-lane section slated for improvements also leads to a growing residential area, and has long been on the city’s map for an upgrade.

Some Silver Valley residents have called for safety improvements with increased traffic, and collisions, at times, clogging up the road.

With bus service added to the area in recent months, TransLink is chipping in more than $600,000 for the improvement project, which could include the removal of some majestic trees.

Maple Ridge municipal engineer David Pollock said city staff will design a route that allows better traffic flow, while trying to keep as many of the tall trees as possible.

But, he noted, some of them trespass onto the roadway, and their bark is scarred from being sideswiped by passing vehicles.

The route is also considered part of the city’s major road network, and Golden Ears Provincial Park now attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year.

The improvements also include a multi-use pathway along the route.

The city will consult with the public about the changes, but it has put them off in the past, and many have rejected the idea of altering the scenic route.

Some have said the trees aren’t the problem, but poor drivers, those who speed.

Others have said straightening the road will encourage speeding.

The area has changed a lot, and it is growing.

But the road is not congested, even in summer. RVs and trucks towing campers and boats have navigated the route for decades, so why can’t buses?

Do the trees force them to slow down, protecting wildlife in the area?

The city should provide traffic counts and collision numbers, as well as comparisons to appease those who fear losing or compromising the route’s distinct beauty.

Could the buses not divert from that section along 236th Street, Larch Avenue and Balsam Street?

Every alternative should be considered before moving too quickly to change what can never be recovered.

– The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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