Maple Ridge: Highway 7 Widening
February 2, 2021
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) proposes to widen the highway to 4 lanes, add a centre median barrier, and include a 2m wide unprotected shoulder with an outside concrete barrier.
MoTI is not planning to make its design safe nor comfortable for people walking and cycling.
In 2019 the BC government released their own BC Active Transportation Design Guide, based on current research and best practices. According to this guide, a road such as Hwy 7 should have protected infrastructure for cycling/walking or other active transportation modes. The proposed design does not enhance safety for people walking and cycling. It actually goes against the Provincial government's own recommendations in the 2019 BC Active Transportation Strategy and Design Guidelines that call for protected walking and cycling lanes for this volume and speed of roadway.
MoTI can and must do better!
The deadline is 4pm (PST) on February 19, 2021. This feedback form will only take 5 minutes.
Please request that MoTI follow its own guidelines, and include concrete barriers to protect vulnerable road users from fast-moving cars and trucks. This is a short window of opportunity for us to get a segment of the highway right for cycling - this is an integral east-west connection in the region and urging them to provide protected cycling lanes now will make a difference.
Daphne Toumbanakis, a 23-year young woman, died just last year while riding on a stretch of Highway 7 that is identical to the proposed design for this project. We should not accept any more cyclist deaths due to poor design practices.
Highway 7 is an important designated bike route and as such an integral part of the regional and local cycling network, according to MoTI, TransLink (who designated it as part of the Major Bikeway Network), and the City of Maple Ridge. Metro Vancouver has also determined that Highway 7 is an important part of the Regional Greenway 2050 network. All these levels of government must work together to deliver on their vision to get more people cycling and walking and safely travel through and between communities, and enable people to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, by providing viable, safe alternatives to the motor vehicle.
The proposed design does not provide adequate accessibility for vulnerable road users. More and more people want to take active transportation, including e-bikes which are growing exponentially in use, and there is no safe way to use active transportation in this corridor with the proposed design. It is locking us into a past way of mobility, one that continues to attract more single-occupancy vehicles and then clogs up the roadways.
Ministry must provide people with true, comfortable options, including those that are more space-efficient, affordable and equitable for people of all incomes and backgrounds. As the Design Guide points out:
- "Traffic is anticipated to grow 45% over the next 25 years which will intensify issues."
It will continue to be unsustainable if you do not provide people with options other than motor vehicles.
- "This segment has a collision history that exceeds the provincial average for similar facilities."
And those that bear the worst consequences are vulnerable road users, like Daphne Toumbanakis, killed while riding her bike along this section.
- "The road grade and configuration in certain locations creates poor sightlines meaning reduced visibility and safety for drivers."
If it's bad for driver safety, imagine how bad it is for someone cycling or walking when the sightlines reduce drivers' ability to respond and move safely around them.
- HUB Cycling's Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Committee's letter to MoTI dated October 16, 2020
- TransLink e-mail to MoTI dated November 2, 2020
- Response letter from MoTI dated December 4, 2020
- Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Committee's letter to Minister of State, Bowinn Ma December 14, 2020
- Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Committee's letter to Maple Ridge Council dated January 23, 2021 regarding MoTI presentation at Council Workshop
- Recording of Council Workshop January 26, 2021 (MoTI presentation on Hwy 7 widening starts at 3:45, Comments and questions Mayor and Council starts at 27:00)