Burnaby has several main roads that serve as east-west connectors for traffic.
None had as bad a year as Canada Way.
Not Kingsway (a nightmare road to travel if there ever was one), nor Highway 1, Hastings, Lougheed or Marine.
OK, maybe Lougheed comes close between Gilmore and Sperling due to the FortisBC gas line upgrades. It was a punishing project with all the road closures and lane diversions, but I’m giving the edge to Canada Way because the problems last all year and Lougheed was only a mess from the summer to the fall.
Since taking over the job of editor in April of this year, I’ve noticed how messed up Canada Way is on a regular basis. And often deadly.
How deadly? Here are just a couple of incidents.
An 84-year-old pedestrian died in October after being hit on the busy Burnaby thoroughfare near Usher Street. New Westminster resident Alex Rockhill, who witnessed the crash, told the NOW at the time that the impact launched the man into the air.
“He flew about six feet in the air,” Rockhill said.
In September, five people were taken to hospital after a police vehicle and a transit bus collided near Canada Way and Willingdon Avenue.
In February, Burnaby firefighters reporters a series of MVAs on Canada Way due to heavy snowfall.
This is just a sampling of some of the crashes along this road in 2018. Of course, it’s not just this year that’s been bad. In 2017, there was a crash that killed two people. Since that crash, the City of Burnaby has been looking to implement additional safety measures.
According to a report presented to the public safety committee meeting in May 2017, staff want to improve the stretch between Rayside and Haszard streets, including installing a “curve warning ahead” sign for westbound drivers and possibly photo radar (I’m doubting that one will ever come to fruition).
In the wake of that crash, the RCMP tried to crackdown on drivers, issuing 371 traffic violations along Canada Way, with 236 of them related to speed or the use of electronic devices, in just a few weeks.How bad is that stretch of Canada Way? There were 20 reported crashes at the Canada Way-Rayside intersection between 2013 and 2015, according to ICBC data. Of those, 11 were property damage-only crashes and nine were more severe or fatal.
Another headache area of Canada Ways is at the Kensington intersection. I wrote in November about a police blitz aimed at people pulling dangerous and illegal right turns while heading west through the intersection. In less than a month in October, the cops issued a whopping 199 tickets to drivers at this intersection. The vast majority of the tickets were due to drivers bypassing traffic and making an illegal right turn. Police returned the next months and handed out another boatload of tickets for the same thing.
Unfortunately, there are only so many resources police have to deal with traffic so people will likely continue to pull this dangerous stunt.
It’s not all traffic problems that hit Canada Way in 2018. In October, several blocks were closed near Edmonds after a man barricaded himself inside a home. Police had been visiting the home due to a domestic violence incident.
Several hours of negotiations ensued and the man eventually gave himself up.
Wild times along Canada Way. Hopefully with some city changes and continued police enforcement, 2019 will be a much quieter year.