“Fixes to deadly Pattullo Bridge delayed again”
As always everyone blames the infrastructure. When I started work back in the seventies, I had to deal with press stories headed “Killer Canal Strikes Again” as though somehow the canal had leapt from its banks and slaughtered the innocent. The tail end of the Sun’s story says it all for me
Local police said Thursday they are looking forward to news of how the bridge will be fixed.
“There’s obvious public concern with regards to the safety of the Pattullo Bridge,” said Surrey RCMP Sgt. Roger Morrow. “Any improvements are being welcomed.”
New Westminster Police Sgt. Ivan Chu said most crashes on the bridge are caused by drivers following too closely or making unsafe lane changes, and speeding is a particular problem at night.
“It’s the curve stretch where most of the accidents happen,” he said. “Because they clip one another because the lanes are so narrow.”
Chu called the bridge “daunting to drive…. It’s difficult to drive when you haven’t driven over it, because you have two curves, it’s uphill and then it’s downhill, and the lanes are very narrow.”
Hardie said there have been no front-end crashes on the bridge since centre-lane nighttime closures were introduced.
“The Pattullo Bridge is a perfectly safe bridge and people can cross perfectly safely if they maintain the proper speed and just drive safely,” he said.
Just as the Sea to Sky Highway was “perfectly safe” but presented an irresistible challenge to people with fast cars to see just how quickly they could get from Vancouver to Whistler. And, of course, a frightful number did not make it at all.
The answer to unsafe driving is not widening or straightening but enforcement of the existing laws. As I have written here more than once, average speed cameras are an obvious, low cost and highly effective solution. Following too closely and making unsafe lane changes might need additional cctv which would need to be monitored – but that is a lot safer than putting police personnel at risk on the bridge itself. And we do not need to study this, or have a pilot program. All it needs is for the Provincial Government to end its stubborn persistence in a policy that was introduced very early in its mandate, and was simply a way to appeal to the people who saw photo radar as a “tax grab”. Indeed, it can even be announced as a way to save lives while the “problem” of the bridge is being reviewed.
For I will bet that a few months after it is introduced the “problem” will have been solved.