New Westminster group lobbies for 24-hour truck ban on Royal Avenue

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The president of the Queen’s Park Residents’ Association took to the airwaves to chat about the “off the charts” increase of truck traffic seen in New Westminster since tolls were introduced on the new Port Mann Bridge.

David Brett recently spoke to CKNW about the dramatic increase in traffic seen on city streets since tolls took effect on the Port Mann. The residents’ association has written to B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone asking that the ban on heavy trucks on Royal Avenue be extended to 24 hours a day, from the current ban of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“We are not anti-traffic, we are not anti-cars,” he said. “I do think there are some unintended consequences to the tolls.”

Brett believes the increase in truck traffic on Royal Avenue is directly related to the tolls, as truck drivers aren’t keen on paying $9 each time they cross the Port Mann Bridge and have opted to take the Pattullo Bridge.

Brett noted that a new elementary school is being built on Royal Avenue, and Douglas College and the existing John Robson are also located on the busy road. He said the residents’ association will continue to push for action to ensure livability and safety are protected.

“We think with reasonable lobbying, change is possible,” he said.

Earlier this year, the city reported the average daily traffic volume on Royal Avenue has increased by 1,300 vehicles per day (a five per cent increase), and the heavy truck volume has increased by 360 trucks per day (a 63 per cent increase), an increase the city said was partially due to the introduction of tolls on the Port Mann Bridge.

The city fears the increase in tolls taking effect this month will send more motorists to the Pattullo Bridge.

In October, council asked the province to immediately lower tolls for heavy trucks on the Port Mann Bridge to discourage the use of the Pattullo Bridge as a free alternative. Council also asked TransLink to: ban heavy trucks on the Pattullo Bridge, if the Pattullo Bridge continues to experience increased traffic volumes due to the diversionary effects of the Port Mann Bridge; approve an extension of the current heavy truck prohibition on Royal Avenue to 24 hours (other than for local deliveries); and establish regional tolling as a travel demand management measure for the Metro Vancouver area as an immediate priority.

© Royal City Record

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