Strathcona residents are angry and frustrated following City staff’s revised plans for viaduct removal, which fail to consider traffic calming on Prior Street.
In the 48hours since the staff presented the revised plan, there have been three significant traffic incidents on the dangerous stretch of road through the residential neighbourhood the most serious of which tragically resulted in at least one fatality last night.
Residents had expected a revised plan following Mayor Robertson’s July 2012 direction for five clear pieces for staff to report back for viaducts removal consideration. Included in his directives were immediate traffic calming improvements which he described as “overdue” and ensuring that a Malkin Street connection “becomes a top priority as part of this initiative”.
The plan that was presented to residents in a well-attended meeting wednesday night failed to consider either the community’s concerns or the mayor’s directives. The plan shows an expanded six-lane Pacific Boulevard, to connect downtown, Yaletown and False Creek traffic to Prior Street as the “major east-west connector”.
City staff indicate that recent expanded street parking hours and enhanced pedestrian crossings are sufficient for community concerns and the mayor’s directive, and that traffic strategies for the roads east of Gore are too complicated to include in the viaduct removal / land redevelopment scheme. The report going forward will be focusing on the viaducts themselves and a decision on the east-west connections will be considered at a later date.
In the hours following staff’s presentation, the community has reported three significant safety incidents:
1. Thursday AM: Pedestrian struck and injured at Venables and Clark.
2. Thursday AM: Car runs red light on Prior and Campbell, at speeds fast enough to jump curb and sidewalk, through a tree, hedge and fence before hitting a house hard enough to shake the neighbours. The location is busy pedestrian crossing, with senior’s care facility, bus stop and Strathcona Park all adjacent.
3. Friday AM: Alleged street racers on the viaduct’s eastbound approach to Prior Street flip car at high speed, resulting in at least one fatality and three serious injuries.
The mangled car wreck can be seen about 50 metres from residential homes.