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Battle of the bulges in central Coquitlam

Plans to narrow a major road in central Coquitlam with curb extensions is bumping some city councillors the wrong way.

Plans to narrow a major road in central Coquitlam with curb extensions is bumping some city councillors the wrong way.

At Monday's engineering committee, councillors Doug Macdonell and Mae Reid said they're opposed to the city building bulges on Poirier Street, between Foster and Regan avenues, because of the added costs and poor sight lines for truck drivers.

"It's an unnecessary expense," Macdonell said, adding he would consider curb extensions around Parkland elementary school, north of Regan, "but I don't think we need them along our residential streets."

"I think these bulges are ridiculous," Reid said while reviewing the concept plan by engineering staff.

Both councillors also suggested if the curb extensions had landscaping, the city wouldn't have the staff to maintain them and they would be an "eyesore."

Besides the bump-outs, the proposed Poirier Street Improvement Project - budgeted to cost $616,000 with $92,000 from TransLink - will also include narrowing the road to a true collector standard, from its current 13.5 metre width to 11 metres. As well, a three-metre wide multi-use pathway is set to be built on the west side, connecting the Poirier community centre with Parkland elementary.

According to a report released this week, 63% of 20 attendees to an open house last month liked the city's plans for the Poirier section, and 83% said they would use the pedestrian/cycling path. Work on the project is due to start next year.

Catherine Mohaniuk, Coquitlam's manager of transportation planning, told the committee that curb extensions are already in place along Rochester and Alderson avenues as a means to slow traffic, and they pose no problem with snow clearing or street cleaning.

Also, there wouldn't be any parking loss from the bump-outs, and they enhance sight lines for motorists, she said.

Coun. Selina Robinson, a cycling advocate, said the city is trying to build-up its bicycle network and the multi-use path would add to Coquitlam's assets. She argued that having curb extensions with grass or small shrubs "make a more walkable community."

Coun. Barrie Lynch, who is running for mayor, said he has heard from a number of Poirier area homeowners who are concerned about speeding commuters and believe traffic-calming methods are needed. "It's for safety considerations," he said.