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Concerns stall plans for Ocean Park intersection

Residents living near 128 Street and Marine Drive are hopeful a solution to ongoing traffic and noise concerns can be found. - File photo
Residents living near 128 Street and Marine Drive are hopeful a solution to ongoing traffic and noise concerns can be found.
— image credit: File photo

Plans to improve a "tricky little intersection" in Ocean Park aren't back to square one – but they're close.

City of Surrey engineer Philip Bellefontaine said officials are taking another look at where 128 Street and Marine Drive connect, after residents raised concerns a four-way stop may be installed.

"We're in the process of going, 'what do we do?'" Bellefontaine said.

"We're being asked to look at it again, and that's a reasonable request. It may come up with an alternate approach or it may re-confirm our original recommendations."

Area residents approached the city late last summer with concerns about improving safety for pedestrians. They noted the intersection – which is just north of the Kwomais Point Park driveway – has no marked pedestrian crossing, visibility is restricted and drivers don't slow down.

"It's a major hazard," Nicole Nelson said at the time.

Bellefontaine told Peace Arch News last September that plans for enhancing the intersection included repositioning the park's entry to the intersection and creating a stop-controlled crossroads, with east-west traffic given priority. He also spoke of crosswalks and an enhanced bus stop with a new sidewalk into the park created on the west side.

The work, hoped to get underway early this year, was to be a joint effort between the parks and engineering departments.

But when funding for the parks side of the project was delayed – it won't be in place now until 2012 – it forced engineers to question whether moving ahead without all the pieces was logical.

"We took sort of a breather to say, OK, there isn't going to be that new access right away… should we be trying to construct or improve the intersection without that happening?" Bellefontaine said last week.

A key goal of any change in the area is to slow drivers down, Bellefontaine said, explaining reasoning behind possible installation of a four-way stop. Residents' opposition to the concept – which included approaching Surrey councillors directly – drove the rethink. They're concerned a four-way stop will further increase noise and air pollution in the area.

Nelson told PAN last month that they would fight "tooth-and-nail" against a four-way stop at the site. Recent talks, however, have left them optimistic.

"We are staying positive and hoping the city will help us deal with these issues," she said by email Friday, adding residents are appreciative of the city's efforts to address the concerns.

Bellefontaine said the review is underway, and the results will go to the city's transportation committee for additional comment.

While the city is motivated to move the project forward, Bellefontaine said it is not something that can be done quickly.

"There's a fair few things out there which can't be rushed," he said.

 

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