Opinion: Burnaby drivers playing dangerous games of ‘chicken’ at this overpass

Chris Campbell

I grew up just one block from the Kensington overpass in North Burnaby.

And it’s always been a mess, no matter what side you approach it from.

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I can remember as a child riding my bike east on Broadway and arriving at the overpass to hear horns honking and see fists being shaken by drivers and pedestrians and cyclists.

So, I wasn’t shocked in November when the overpass was the scene of a horrific head-on collision.

The crash caused multiple injuries, including people trapped in both vehicles. The Jaws of Life was needed to free them. At least six ambulances were sent to the scene.

The carnage is pictured above, but the collision happened as two vehicles approached each other at the curve in the overpass. I’ve seen drivers misjudge this curve before – usually at high speeds.

And that’s the point. I don’t believe the overpass is poorly designed – I believe many drivers are just too reckless or stupid to understand how to use the overpass and its multiple entrances.

For instance, area resident Art Shippam reminded me of how many drivers fail to understand how to drive onto the overpass while approaching east from Broadway. There is a yield sign that too many drivers fail to yield for, nearly hitting drivers who have turned left from Broadway.

kensington overpass burnaby
Drivers often ignore this yield sign coming off of Broadway and heading to the Kensington overpass in Burnaby - putting themselves in the path of merging vehicles. Contributed photo

“My big gripe is the people that ignore the ‘yield’ sign and insist that it is their God-given right to have the right of way,” Shippam said. “It suddenly becomes a game of chicken.”

Things aren’t much better when drivers heading east on Lougheed take the Kensington overpass on-ramp and have to merge with the other drivers going south. Those on-ramp drivers don’t seem to understand how to merge properly, and many just barrel into the lane with little regard for the other drivers.

Then there are the overpass drivers who are coming west and turn off to the right towards Broadway. Some of those drivers want to get into the left lane while other drivers who have turned left want to get into the right lane.

It’s a pretty dangerous mess because there is very little time or room to switch lanes, depending on whether you want to go left or right on Broadway.

Things are bad during off-peak times – they are terrifying during peak times.

Perhaps the city could make changes for safety, but I really think it’s a matter of drivers using patience and common sense.

Playing games of chicken is no way for adults to live their lives.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44

 

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