South Burnaby walkers fed up with 'inadequate' and tricky sidewalks

In some places, there are bumpy, broken and hilly sidewalks.

In others, walkways are reduced to a small gravel pathway or just a well-worn footpath.

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At times, it’s just a shoulder to walk on as vehicular traffic races past, often with parked cars to get around.

This is not a third-world walking trail. It’s the pedestrian connection along Marine Drive in south Burnaby and locals are not impressed with the state of the sidewalks.

Marvi Dhand and Raksh Kapoor live on Marine Drive close to Joffre and they have to navigate the stretch to Patterson every day to get to school and work, sometimes in the dark when they come home.

“There’s no place to walk, to be honest,” Kapoor said. “A sidewalk would be great.”

Sidewalks Marine
At some parts of Marine Drive in South Burnaby, the walking path is inaccessible for people getting off the bus.

Not only do they have to walk around cars parked on the shoulders, they also have to cross the street at times to get over to where there is a patchy sidewalk.

Both Dhand and Kapoor agree more lighting and pedestrian crossing lights would also improve safety along Marine Drive.

Dhand added that it’s “weird” that this part of Burnaby doesn’t have sidewalks - she has at times walked even further where the footpaths turn muddy.

Sidewalks Marine
A bus stop on Marine Drive leads to a narrow strip of gravel for pedestrians. - Maria Rantanen

“Inadequate – in one word,” said Ed Wilson about the sidewalks on Marine Drive. He has been living in the area for 27 years and was out for a stroll with his great-grandson on Saturday. While he’s not worried about it being dangerous, he said a lot of shoulder area he used to walk on has slowly been reduced as residential landscaping encroaches.

With the exception of a section of Marine Drive between Patterson and Sussex where the sidewalk has been built straight and flat, most of the three kilometre-long stretch from Boundary to Gilley is a patchwork of pathways.

According to a report to Burnaby city council in June, 75 per cent of the 450 kilometres of collector and local street network in Burnaby meet the city’s minimum standards of a concrete curb and gutter, a separated sidewalk, trees and grass.

Marine Drive was cited in the original staff report as one potential area for upgrades.

 

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