Opinion: Burnaby installed a barrier to stop ratrunners. It’s not working

Chris Campbell

Cities have multiple ways to try and stop ratrunners – those pesky drivers who race through quiet residential streets in an insane lust to avoid high-traffic roads.

In Burnaby, one of those roads ratrunners hate is Hastings Street. They hate it so much they use Frances Street as a way to avoid some of the traffic.

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Frances is a designated bike route that runs east and west. The road has several speed humps in certain spots. There are also barriers that have been installed to divert vehicles off of Frances.

One such barrier is at Frances and Beta, just a few blocks east of Willingdon. But according to Justin Turcotte, a New Westminster resident who cyclists the Frances bike route, this barrier is a bit of a joke because it only has a small cement island that can be easily bypassed. There is also a right-turn sign, but Turcotte says it’s usually ignored by ratrunners.

RATRUNNES
The barrier at Frances and Gilmore. Google Street View

He wants the city to add a larger barrier, like the one at Frances and Gilmore that vehicles can’t bypass.

“Could @CityofBurnaby please upgrade the ‘no through’ barrier on the bike route at Frances at Beta? The example at Frances and Gilmore is a much better example. 2x ratrunners this morning bypassed then passed me within a foot. Get them off the bike route. Unsafe,” Turcotte tweeted.

Turcotte received a response from the City of Burnaby on Twitter, saying it intends on extending the “diverter,” but did not give a timeline, only that it’s in a “long-term plan.”

“Originally, when the bike route was being established along France St, local residents voice concern about the extended diverter inviting incursions onto their property by drivers attempting to get around it,” the city said in a tweet. “To address these concerns, it was agreed that the media would be shortened to its current state until such time as the finished curb and gutters are installed on Beta.”

Turcotte was unimpressed with the city’s explanation, saying the city is admitting it knows the current diverter would be ineffective.

“It sounds like in its current form there is an acknowledgement by the city that the infrastructure as it exists will be ignored by drivers, which is not great,” Turcotte tweeted, adding that “this is a pretty defeatist position.”

Turcotte also wants the RCMP to do more enforcement of this street to protect cyclists.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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