Train traffic is a safety issue

Editor, The News:

As a long-time Pitt Meadows resident, I often wonder why the Pitt Meadows city council sits idly by while CP Rail determines how traffic flows in this city.

Who do you think is behind the lane closure at Maple Meadows Way where it turns into the Meadowtown Mall?

It is not the City of Pitt Meadows or the District of Maple Ridge.

Give up?

It is CP Rail’s engineering department. It is still trying to decide if opening up that lane will impede train traffic. That is the gospel truth. Just ask mayors Ernie Daykin or Don MacLean.

I moved to Pitt Meadows in 1984, when train traffic was tolerable. In fact, it was unusual for a train to halt traffic for more than a minute.

Fast forward to 2011 and you have gridlock, all caused by the decisions of CP Rail.

A few weeks back I waited at the Harris Road crossing for two trains and one West Coast Express train. My total wait time was 12 minutes, and when the arms finally lifted, an ambulance that had been waiting on the north side of the tracks put its lights and siren on.

If I was that patient or a family member of the patient, I would have been totally outraged that my life hung in the balance waiting for the snail trains to drift on by.

When the intermodal yard went in almost 10 years ago, I don’t remember there being any public consultation as to how this was going to affect us. Yes, CP built a cement wall to appease a neighbourhood, but that is where the warm and fuzzies ended. If I owned and operated a tractor trailer truck and decided to park it across Harris Road 72 times per day for three to five minutes each time, I would be arrested for being a public nuisance.

MLA Michael Sather and MP Randy Kamp must get involved with our city government to push for an overpass over Harris Road.  Don’t kid yourself, this is a safety issue. Just ask the fire chief, your community police office, the B.C. Ambulance Service. When an emergency vehicle has impeded access for even 30 seconds, that is 30 seconds too long.

Like anything in life, somebody will have to get hurt before the politicians will wake up.

Mike Danielson

Pitt Meadows