Letter: Rail crossing needed to link Port Moody's Suter Brook and Klahanie

The Editor,

It's time to properly connect two important communities in our city and make life a little easier for the residents of Port Moody. Let’s connect the Suter Brook and Klahanie developments with an at-grade rail crossing for foot and bike traffic between Capilano Road and Nootka Way.

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Incomplete planning in this area forces residents to proceed along busy Murray Street and take a somewhat longer route moving between the two areas. This is not the most inviting of options to either go grab some groceries or make your way to a transit station, or for students to walk to Moody middle school. If you’re pushing a stroller, it becomes even more of a hassle.

We can do better. I propose it’s time to properly connect these two areas with a robust foot and bike path across CP Rail line to reduce travel time to amenities and important transit nodes.

Of all the things we discuss in Port Moody about the future of our city, connecting these two roads may not seem that sexy, yet it has the potential to have a profound impact. How we move in a city can greatly influence how we live. While we focus much of our energy on parks, we often forget about the roads connecting us to them or other community amenities.

Ask yourself, where do you actually spend much of your time when you step out the front door? I would be so bold to say it’s on our streets.

As the saying goes, it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. As a result, making a better community largely revolves around improving its connective tissue — the roads, bike paths, sidewalks, greenery, plazas and building facades. This means looking at our streets and mobility through a different lens.

Usually a lot of this journey is involves our vehicles; in Port Moody, along with its Tri-City neighbours, the car is king. Our region was largely built around it. And why wouldn't it be? Our vehicles are amazing technical innovations in getting us and our family where we need to go in a quick and convenient manner.

But times are changing. The Lower Mainland continues to grow. Migrations to our region are surpassing what was previously expected and builders are having a hard time keeping up. Due to this growth, we have to provide more equitable options for people to get where they want to go by foot or bike. Making residents walk or bike the long way around to either one of our transit options, grocery stores and retail services is not an option when building a sustainable urban environment.

To move forward on this issue we need to hold our leaders and key stakeholders accountable. The rail line separating Klahanie and Suter Brook is a low-speed, low-volume line. CPR shouldn’t oppose a crossing in this area if it wishes to remain aligned with its community investment program, “CP Has Heart.” This company social impact program is focused on improving the heart health of Canadians and we have the perfect place for it to support our community in the matter.

Our city leaders should be behind this as well; they have just declared a climate emergency and two of the city's main objectives are to make walking/biking a priority in the city’s design. What a great opportunity to start making good on that declaration.

Finally, if you’re a resident in either community, I hope you will lend a voice to this opportunity in improving the quality of life for Port Moody residents. Together, let’s ask our council to connect Nootka Way and Capilano Road with a proper foot and bike path.

James Robertson, Port Moody

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