White Rock rumble strips grind on some residents

Signage warns of the inverted rumble strips that were added to White Rock
Signage warns of the inverted rumble strips that were added to White Rock's Everall Street Tuesday.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

Inverted rumble strips scraped into White Rock’s Everall Street this week are getting mixed reaction from residents of the roadway and skateboarders who routinely ride the winding hill.

Kyle Smith said he and other boarders were warned a month ago that the grooves – six sets of three, foot-wide tracks – would be going in as part of an effort to curb the activity. But, as he advised council at their April 29 meeting, they won’t deter enthusiasts.

“They’re very ineffective,” Smith said Tuesday, after learning the grooves had been cut that day. “It’s not going to stop us.”

Hardie Avenue resident Ria Burgert contacted Peace Arch News about the work that morning after returning from a walk to the beach to find the route home thick with dust.

Burgert called the grooves “ridiculous” and said the city is wasting money on a problem that doesn’t exist.

“They are neat people, good boys,” she said of skateboarders who frequent the hilly stretch. “The skateboarders are not a problem.

“It’s always against youth in White Rock.”

Mayor Wayne Baldwin confirmed at the April 29 meeting that the grooves are aimed at deterring longboarders and skateboarders from using the road. Under the city’s current Street and Traffic Bylaw, the activity is illegal within an area bounded by Oxford Street to the west, North Bluff Road to the north, Best Street to the east and Buena Vista Avenue to the south. Coun. Larry Robinson is leading a push to see the bylaw changed, and Smith said he plans to bring a delegation in support of such changes to city council this month.

The Everall stretch is “one of the biggest ones we ride,” Smith said.

Robinson said he knew nothing of the grooves until contacted by Peace Arch News. That the work was done following the boarders’ appeal for compromise last month is a concern, he said.

“What’s the message we’re sending? They came to us, said, ‘hey, let’s work something out,’ and we put up the Maginot Line.”

Robinson noted the work is “all surrounding/protecting the house of one complainant.”

Greg St. Louis, the city’s director of engineering and municipal operations, said the move was in response to concerns from both the RCMP and residents regarding boarders using the road.

It is an issue police are often called about, he said.

“We’re looking at public safety. Cars and skateboarders don’t mix,” he said.

St. Louis said if the strips prove effective in deterring the practice, the tact will be implemented on other roadways. If not, “we can always fill them in.” He anticipates they will also slow drivers.

Everall Street resident Lynn Baksh described the work as a reasonable approach. The road is too busy and too steep for boarding, “and the cost of head injuries is too much,” she said.

“I don’t mind this because it’s going to slow them down.”

A letter advising of the change was to be delivered to area residents earlier this week.


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