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Opinion: Believe it or not, Burnaby's worst intersection is getting worse

What changes would you make here?
Willingdon and Kingsway.

I haven’t written much about traffic lately because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but more and more readers are sending me ideas that they want covered.

One of these ideas involves Burnaby’s “worst intersection” – Willingdon and Kingsway in Metrotown.

I put quote marks around “worst intersection” because I’m not sure I’m ready to give it the title just yet.

I mean, it’s bad. Really bad. Like heinous.

Stand at this intersection for five minutes and you’ll see all sorts of terrible behaviour and near-misses.

“I think it’s Burnaby’s worst intersection,” wrote one reader. “I use it all the time and it’s terrifying. Part of it is just the sheer volume of traffic, but it’s also how it’s designed. Traffic going north and south always backs up to the other lights because there isn’t enough distance. And the left-turn lanes are too small so people trying to turn are backed into the lanes of oncoming traffic and people just lose their minds.”

I’ve seen frustrations bubble over because there’s also a lot of pedestrians crossing the street, meaning people trying to turn left have to wait a long time and, well, drivers get impatient.

“And it’s getting worse,” the reader wrote. “We keep adding more people in Metrotown and the roads can’t handle it.

Approximately 60 per cent of all crashes on B.C. roads occur at intersections, according to ICBC data, so it’s important to note which ones are the worst in Burnaby.

The problem is that there are so many. Lougheed and Willingdon. Willingdon and Canada Way. Canada Way at Kensington. Kingsway at Edmonds.

The list goes on.

To help reduce the number of crashes at intersections, the police, the provincial government and ICBC operate the Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) program. There are 140 cameras in 26 communities across the province to deter drivers from running a red light. The cameras are placed at intersections based on the type, severity, and frequency of crashes at that location. Some of these cameras also register speed. The new cameras will ticket drivers entering these intersections well over the posted speed limit on a red, yellow or green light.

There is one of these cameras on Willingdon, but it’s been installed at the Deer Lake Parkway intersection – another nightmare. Maybe if they ever add any more of these in Burnaby, they’ll install one at Willingdon and Kingsway. There is already one at Kingsway and Royal Oak.

If an ISC violation ticket is neither paid nor disputed, an Enforcement Officer with the Road Safety Enforcement Program will physically serve the ticket at the residential address of the vehicle's registered owner. Certified Enforcement Officers can provide Government of British Columbia photo identification upon request.

The B.C. government will transfer 100 percent of net revenue from traffic violations to municipalities that are directly responsible for paying for policing. This provides municipalities additional funds to support community safety and address local policing priorities.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.