A stretch of the Mary Hill bypass where bus riders have to queue amidst fumes, flying debris and speeding cars as well as an old narrow bridge slowing traffic on Lougheed Highway are two big problems that need to be fixed, says Port Coquitlam’s mayor.
And Brad West is calling on the provincial government to help out with costs.
“There’s a number of projects along the Mary Hill bypass where — for a modest investment — we can see significant improvement in pedestrian safety, flow of traffic, a better commute for people, and so it is really low-hanging fruit,” said West during a recent update to his council colleagues.
Port Coquitlam has identified three bus stops on the Mary Hill bypass in Port Coquitlam as “high-risk locations” that are currently unsafe for pedestrians at Kingsway and Broadway avenues.
Also needing repairs to address safety concerns are the intersections of Broadway and Shaughnessy Street on the Mary Hill bypass — the sites of dozens of crashes each year.
SOME OF THE 'WORST' BUS STOPS IN METRO VANCOUVER ARE ALONG A PORT COQUITLAM HIGHWAY
The city also wants to replace the aging Coquitlam River bridge, at a cost of $34.4 million, which West said is part of a regional transportation network. “I really hope the province takes those requests seriously and prioritizes those,” said West.
West said he recently spoke with Transportation Minister Rob Fleming and Bonwin Ma, a North Vancouver MLA who is also the parliamentary secretary for TransLink.
Calling the bus stops along the Mary Hill bypass a “contender for one of the worst in Metro Vancouver,” West said he hopes the province makes the two projects a priority.
“This is not the city that is the hold out,” said West. “We have identified and been advocating for those improvements along with improvements to intersections along the Mary Hill bypass.”
CITY SEEKS IMPROVED CYCLING AND PEDESTRIAN ROUTES ALONG BYPASS
He said city staff have also sent letters to the attention of government officials and spending authorities.
Still, it’s not just commuters in vehicles and transit users who need a safe ride.
Port Coquitlam would also like to see a pedestrian- and cycling-friendly connection between Argue Street and Maquabeak Park in Coquitlam, which the city sees as a gap in the active transportation network.
(Recently, cyclists complained that, with Trans Mountain construction, a cycling connection between Maquabeak Park and Colony Farm Regional Park is now cut off as well.)
The issues have been discussed many times over the years.
TransLink and PoCo have previously offered to cost-share a portion of the bus stop and intersection improvement costs, according to the city; however, no funding or commitment have been received from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
A REPLACEMENT FOR COQUITLAM RIVER BRIDGE 'LONG OVERDUE'
A replacement for the Coquitlam River bridge, which is made up of twin structures, along with improvements to Lougheed Highway, have been identified as needed since at least 2015.
At the time, it was hoped that the eastbound bridge would be replaced by 2020 and the westbound bridge by 2024. Neither of the bridges meet modern earthquake resistant design standards.
The route is also a busy one, with approximately 55,000 vehicles crossing the bridges each day resulting in significant traffic congestion, and while, the city is looking into a number of funding sources, including TransLink, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, it has yet to receive any firm commitments.
“We’ll continue to lobby the province to step up in that regard,” promised West, who said the upgrades are "long overdue"