Vancouver's car-eating slow street barriers spark controversy (PHOTOS)

Mar 25 2023, 6:12 pm

Vancouver’s slow streets barriers have been sparking conversation and controversy in the city with some claiming they do more harm than good.

The slow streets program began in 2020 in the early days of the pandemic. The measure was meant to encourage active transportation like walking and cycling on neighbourhood streets and encourage vehicle traffic to slow down.

Implemented where residential side streets meet with major arterial roads, the design created a pinch point intended to slow down vehicles. Since the slow streets refresh, which saw the temporary plastic barriers replaced with permanent concrete barriers in recent months, they have drawn the ire of road users.

There have been incidents of drivers not just hitting the barriers, but driving right up them and getting stuck.

According to the City, theĀ “configuration of the barriers does not prohibit two-way traffic, but does limit vehicle traffic to one direction at a time at the intersection.”

“The barrier placement encourages lower speeds, supporting the goal of the Slow Streets initiative to provide a safe and comfortable street environment for different users.”

City staff are monitoring the effects of the barriers and are making changes at locations where needed.

Earlier this week,Ā CKNW radio host Jill Bennett tagged the City of Vancouver in a snap that blew up on Twitter showing a vehicle on top of the barrier. “This is the second incident I’ve seen caused by these useless ‘slow street’ barricades installed last month,” she wrote. “They don’t slow down traffic; they cause crashes and traffic chaos.

“We are aware that some barriers have been hit by drivers,” said the City.

“Staff have observed vehicles of all sizes, including semi-trucks, navigate the barriers without issue. We are not aware of any vehicle-vehicle, vehicle-bicycle, or vehicle-pedestrian collisions at these locations since the barriers were installed,” they said.

Here’s a map of the city’s slow street network:

What do you think of the slow street barriers?

With files from Kenneth Chan.

Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson

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