Ratrunners – we know them, we hate them.
They cut through quiet residential neighbourhoods on a quest to save a little time by avoiding busier main roads.
They save time, but they make life miserable - and more dangerous – for residents by speeding along narrow streets.
For the folks who live in the 3700 block of Dundas Street in North Burnaby, the ratrunners trying to avoid Hastings Street, especially during rush-hour times, need to be stopped – or at least slowed down.
“Traffic on this block has been dangerous for years,” said Dundas resident Aurelio Marogna. “Drivers use the roads north of Hastings Street to bypass the traffic on Hastings. When speed humps or traffic control are implemented on one block, the drivers switch to routes that do not have these controls.”
I checked out the corner of Dundas and Boundary Road on Friday around 4 p.m., when drivers heading east are at their busiest, and it checked out. I was there for about 30 minutes and it was really busy for such a quiet and narrow street – an endless stream of vehicles driving fast.
Nearby streets like Oxford and Pandora both have speed humps and so, as Marogna noted, drivers avoid those two and take Dundas. Marogna’s wife Tina added that it’s not just commuters – service vehicles and couriers are also heavy users of Dundas.
To try and slow these ratrunners down, Dundas residents followed City of Burnaby procedures and started a petition to have speed humps added.
It failed to get enough signatures.
So, they tried again, but it too failed. Marogna said one of the problems is that some of the addresses the city says must be petitioned include an apartment building, a double-lot rental and homes on Boundary that are unaffected by the ratrunners.
“These owners are unlikely to approve a measure that increases their property taxes,” he said. “There are many disappointed property owners on our block. It’s discouraging. We’ve failed twice now. I led the petition both times. The first time, I just assumed everyone would read their mail and submit their response. The second time, neighbours took the initiative to speak to each other to make sure, that if in favour, we respond. Even with the additional effort, we failed based on the assessed value of properties that don’t even have a civic address on Dundas. It was a ‘detail’ that we didn’t consider.”
I wrote on Thursday about residents on University Crescent on Burnaby Mountain failing to get enough signatures to have speed humps added to slow speeders in their neighbourhood.
Sometimes it’s a tough thing to get enough of your neighbours to do the right thing.
Marogna hopes that some way, somehow the situation can be addressed by the city.
“I wish they would send someone to our block on any given weekday in the afternoon to see for themselves. It’s a shame because someone will be injured one day by speeding drivers.”
In the meantime, if you are a ratrunner, consider the impact of your actions and either stick to the main roads or at least obey the speed limit on these quiet residential roads.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.