Pattullo plan must keeps children’s safety in mind

We are writing this letter to express our concerns regarding TransLink’s plans to expand the Pattullo Bridge to six lanes.

As school trustees, we have a duty to promote and protect the health and safety of our students.  As parents with young families, we have a responsibility to care for our children and provide them every opportunity to prosper. We believe the expansion of the vehicular capacity of the Pattullo Bridge will create serious problems for the current and future children of our city.

We do not support the expansion of the Pattullo Bridge to six lanes.

We support the position of the New Westminster Children’s Charter, endorsed by both the City of New Westminster and the school board, that to lead active and healthy lives all children need to live in safe and livable neighbourhoods and that all children need their community to maintain a natural, healthy and sustainable environment.

Currently, over 450,000 vehicles travel through New Westminster on a daily basis. Of these, 70,000 trips cross the Pattullo Bridge. Seventy per cent of these trips do not stay in New Westminster.

Traffic from the Pattullo does not connect to a major transportation network like a highway, but empties onto our local and residential roads. Roads that pass by our schools, parks, community and child care centres. Expansion of the bridge will result in more traffic on the side streets and alleyways that make up our neighbourhoods, in the very places our children and youth walk, bike and play.

The children of New Westminster have the most to lose in this decision, and yet they are not being consulted. Their routes to school will become less safe, and more parents will choose to drive their children to school, rather than have them walk or bike. The quality of the air they breathe will deteriorate. There will be adverse impacts on the livability of their neighbourhoods.

This is not the legacy we want to leave to our children.

We envision a city where our students actively travel to school with the friends and families of their neighbourhoods, where parents are confident in the safety and well-being of their children, and where current and future students thrive in healthy communities.

This is the future we want to build.

David Phelan and Jonina Campbell

School trustees, New Westminster

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