City of White Rock revisits sidewalk plan

Neighbours call into question safety of area near high school due to parking and speeding infractions

White Rock city staff will revisit a plan for a new sidewalk on the east side of the 1500-block Kent Street

White Rock city staff will revisit a plan for a new sidewalk on the east side of the 1500-block Kent Street

White Rock council has instructed staff to take a second look at a proposed sidewalk addition to Kent Street following delegations by two residents.

Doug Williams and Peter Shipley – both residents of the 1500-block of Kent Street – appeared at council’s Dec. 12 meeting to express opposition to a new sidewalk extension planned for the east side of their street.

Both allege providing a sidewalk will only encourage additional non-resident parking, speeding and other traffic problems they associate with families dropping off/picking up students at  nearby Earl Marriott Secondary.

But both heard from engineering and municipal operations director Greg St. Louis that plans for the sidewalk are already moving ahead as part of the city’s transportation master plan, agreed on by council in 2014.

“It’s for pedestrian traffic and safety,” St. Louis said, adding that the proposed paving is the first piece of sidewalk that will eventually link North Bluff Road with Buena Vista Avenue.

Williams and Shipley say they fear for the safety of residents and children should the sidewalk proceed.

On mornings and afternoons, they charge, vehicles of EMS parents clog both sides of the narrow street across from Maccaud Park – including residents’ driveways – while students run across the street with little regard for safety.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Shipley told council. “(The street) is too small to provide additional parking.

He noted that while parking limits are posted on the street, they “have very little effect.”

“We need parking enforcement officers who actually write tickets. There’s no enforcement – it’s left to us, the residents, to (enforce),” he said.

Williams noted: “To put a sidewalk (there) is only going to exacerbate the problems and give a green light to park there.”

Council approved a motion from Coun. Helen Fathers to receive Williams’ and Shipley’s delegations “for information” and refer the matter to staff.

“A new sidewalk might not be synonymous with more parking,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin commented.

“It might be quite the opposite, so bear that in mind.”