Months-long wait to get dangers at East Vancouver intersection addressed, local says
Posted February 15, 2022 8:39 pm.
Last Updated February 15, 2022 9:01 pm.
A man working in East Vancouver has been complaining to the city for months about traffic issues in the intersection below his office – drivers blowing through stop signs, quick-stopping in front of pedestrians, and just this week a three-car crash.
James Hohenwater has a perfect view of the corner of Frances and McLean Drives from his office.
“People just come flying by all day. Probably 20 times a day. People just fly through here. We’ve got a school down, the kids, they’re always jogging across. There’s a lot of cyclists here. It’s risky that people are just flying through here,” he tells CityNews.
“It’s a lot of screeching tires, a lot of honking. The problems are — we have some pretty horrible drivers in the area that don’t abide by the traffic signs here.”
Hohenwater says there are multiple blind spots and hard-to-see stop signs and road markings. He says he’s been complaining to the city about this issue for a year – most recently, on Friday when he says the city told him to try talking to the Vancouver Police Department.
“Monday morning, at about 8 o’clock, they got back to me saying, ‘We see you, thank you, it’s an important matter, we’ll pass it onto traffic, and we’ll do something about it,” Hohenwater says, adding he was relieved that they seemed to be taking the matter seriously.
An hour later, he heard and saw a three-car crash
“I’ve been telling them for about a year now since we’ve moved to this office, ‘Hey, it’s pretty dangerous out here, somebody’s going to get hit. And it happened.”
Data from ICBC shows there were six crashes reported between 2016 and 2020 at this intersection. Two of those were “casualty” crashes, which means someone was either hurt or killed.
Winston Chou, with the City of Vancouver’s Traffic and Management Data Branch says in a statement city staff are looking at the intersection to figure out the best safety treatment. That could mean making sure vehicles don’t park too close to the intersection, repainting stop lines, marking a crosswalk, or putting in speed bumps.
Chou says signage or paint could take a couple of months to install, while speed bumps could take up to a year. He adds staff started looking at the intersection in 2021.
As for why it’s taken so long for Hohnwater’s complaints to be addressed, Chou points to the overall volume of complaints received.
“The City receives around 2,300 enquiries related to road safety every year from citizens. While staff attempts to review in detail and respond to as many enquiries as possible, the volume has grown at a faster pace than staff resources. We use tools to help focus limited resources on high priority cases (for example signals malfunctioning/traffic signs knocked down),” he writes.
The Vancouver Police Traffic Unit is also now looking into the intersection,
“We always encourage people to contact us with their neighbourhood concerns so we can respond appropriately, and we’re glad someone reached out to us to voice their concerns. There are absolutely things the VPD can do to assist in making this area safer for all road users,” says Sgt. Steve Addison in a statement.
“Our options to improve road safety in the area include education, enforcement, and targeted patrols. We don’t want to see anyone get hurt or feel unsafe.”
Still, Hohenwater says he thinks his concerns have not been met with the urgency the situation demands.
“It doesn’t feel good to be dismissed like that — because I care. I just don’t want people getting hurt.”