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City of Surrey to implement road safety plan

The intersection of Old Yale Road and King George Boulevard. King George Boulevard has two intersections that are in British Columbia’s top 10 crash intersections. Photo by Brian Kurokawa

Reported by Brian Kurokawa

Surrey is finalizing a plan to reduce road collisions by focusing on intersections, cyclists and high-risk driving behaviour.

The plan outlines new measures to address these issues, such as increasing driver education and implementing new road regulations – like changing the length of signal times, introducing protected left-turn signals, and implementing more consistent speed limits throughout the city to protect cyclists.

There are three primary issues being tackled

Philip Bellefontaine, Surrey’s transportation planning manager, said that these three focus areas are where the largest number of traffic accidents occur in the city.

Bellefontaine said intersections are where the majority of collisions on the road happen.

“They’re quite high-stress environments for the road user, but it’s also where the conflicts happen; it’s where pedestrians have the potential to be in conflict with a vehicle.”

According to a 2013 report on crash statistics put out by ICBC, Surrey has three intersections that are in the top 10 crash intersections in the Lower Mainland, all intersecting with King George Boulevard.

For Surrey residents, protection of vulnerable road users was a primary focus when they were asked about what they thought the city should be addressing in the plan.

Cyclist and pedestrian safety needs to be addressed

Tamara Kruiper, a new resident of Surrey, said that drivers need to be taught how to better share the road with cyclists.

“I think it is definitely educating them to, like look before they turn, especially if they’re not used to that,” said Kruiper.

Margot Overington, a resident of Whalley, said that pedestrians should also be more responsible when using the road.

According to Bellefontaine, the protection of vulnerable road users is a priority because of the increased risk of injury they will sustain compared to a driver.

“High-risk” driving was a big concern in the city for Kruiper. She said there’s more of a chance for people to drink and drive in the city due to the lack of frequent transit and the long distances between places discouraging people from walking.

“Maybe more roadblocks, I think, would help,” said Kruiper.

Surrey’s safe mobility plan is projected to come into effect as early as January 2017, with the plan being finalized and presented to the city.

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