Opinion: Burnaby traffic complaint swallowed up by city bureaucracy

Chris Campbell

In the two-plus years I’ve been editor of the NOW, I’ve heard a lot about the City of Burnaby’s bureaucracy.

Slow. Lumbering. Monolithic. Resistant to change. I’ve heard all of the complaints, although I disagree with the last one. Since Mike Hurley took over as mayor, the city has definitely been wide open to changes, including new bike lanes, the warming centres, the housing task force, and even now allocating road space during COVID-19.

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Burnaby resident Ginger Sedlarova, it’s been like a Black Hole that swallowed up her request for action to fix traffic issues on her street.

Sedlarova (full disclosure: I know Ginger from way back in journalism school) wants action to deal with traffic problems on Thurston Street, which is just east of Boundary Road and north of Kingsway.

Development has increased in that time with new density added.

“The amount of traffic has grown a lot with all these new units,” Sedlarova wrote to the city in 2018. “The high amount of traffic from people working in the nearby Telus building, and people looking for a quick way to Boundary. Not many people read the ‘No Exit’ sign at the foot of the street.”

You’ll notice that I mentioned Sedlarova wrote this in 2018 and now it’s 2020. She asked the city for action to count the traffic in the area and sent me the email chain with a City of Burnaby traffic technician.

That technician emailed back and said they would schedule a traffic count, but couldn’t promise when. Now, sure, that might take some time, but it’s nearly two years later and Sedlarova has had silence since then.

So, she tried again. What she got was a bounce-back email from the technician. Turns out, they are no longer with the city.

Sigh.

So, Sedlarova tried again with a different person and has been told the issue has been referred to another traffic technician.

Who knows when this will be dealt with? Meanwhile, Sedlarova says there are more and more pedestrians using this street to get to the Joyce SkyTrain station and she’s worried.

“My concern is, as half the street has no sidewalk, this combination of increased traffic and many pedestrians is an accident waiting to happen,” she said.

Cities always say they want engaged citizens, but sometimes people who do get involved just get lost in that Black Hole.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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