Letters

How traffic in New Westminster looks today

Attention: B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone

I was born in New Westminster almost 60 years ago and I've been a resident most of my life.

I presently live at East Sixth Avenue and McBride Boulevard, which is about a half mile north of the Pattullo Bridge. I am a retired police officer having served almost 30 years with the New Westminster Police Department, retiring in 2004, and I'm a retired major from the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve. I am not politically connected or active with any group. I have a Class 1 license and after retiring I've driven trucks and buses in the Metro Vancouver area.

I'm a concerned citizen.

I've sat back and watched, listened and read information on the traffic problem facing New Westminster and the increase in traffic, and especially truck traffic in the city. If any of your staff tell you there is no increase in either car or truck traffic through New Westminster over the past few years and in particular this past few month, they are out of touch with reality and the facts of what is happening. And this traffic is not a sign of economic growth.

I work Monday to Friday, and a year or so ago I could leave my street at 8 a.m. to access East Sixth Avenue. I could easily turn right or left without any wait as there was little or no traffic. When the tolls were introduced on the Port Mann I noticed an increase in traffic. Not a great deal but slightly. The same for when I came home in the evenings northbound on McBride Boulevard. I could easily drive all the way north to East Sixth Avenue and turn east and access my home street without any wait or delay due to traffic.

Since the tolls increased on the Port Mann Bridge, when I now exit my street onto East Sixth, there is a lineup of cars that stretches from McBride back east to almost the entrance to the Canada Games Pool and Cumberland Street. This is each morning now. And in the late afternoon I come up off East Columbia, across Royal Avenue and merge onto McBride and I now pretty well stop at the pedestrian overpass just north of the Pattullo Bridge—a distance of about five city blocks from where I stopped only a few months ago. It now takes me about 10 minutes of moving along McBride to get to East Sixth. And then that is even plugged with traffic as drivers move off McBride to try to go through the residential areas to make it to Burnaby or Coquitlam.

As a truck driver I am fully cognisant of the trucks on the road. I'm keen on trucking, so I notice them. And there has been a dramatic increase in trucks on McBride, Royal Avenue and East Columbia. I would say as much as 50 per cent. That is not an exaggeration. All you need to do is see for yourself, and come to our beautiful Queen's Park and sit on a bench in the afternoon and watch McBride Boulevard and you will soon see.

You also need to notice that trucks are now lined back along East Columbia Street all day long trying to access the Pattullo Bridge. Most of the trucks are hauling containers and they are mostly owner operators, so any fees, they pay.

Minister Stone, I am telling you that the tolls on the Port Mann Bridge have increased the traffic in New Westminster to the point of silliness. New West is a hub city, and in my years of working the streets of the city as well as driving and living here, the increase in traffic has reached the peak.

What you or the other politicians do about it really is of no major concern to me as I plan to move out of the area in the next three or so years to quieter places.

But I thought I would send my 25 cents' worth, and perhaps it may help you understand the situation from a person who is not politically motivated.

As I said, I am just a concerned citizen with observations skills and one vote.

Sincerely,

Ted Usher

New Westminster

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