Back to Delta, which unfortunately still advocates for through vehicular traffic befitting a 20th century suburb and does not champion safe walking and cycling design as a first priority on their streets.

Residents in Tsawwassen on Upland Drive, Beach Grove, and now at 16th Avenue at 53A Street have separately asked the City of Delta to ameliorate traffic problems and to slow traffic down to make it easier for local residents to walk and live safely and comfortably. The response for Upland Drive which is used as a shortcut and carries three times the volume of the surrounding streets was a set of speed bumps which keep vehicle movement on the speed  bump to 50 km/h. However this does not slow speed on the rest of this curving street with no sidewalks, and does nothing to stop the commuter shortcutting.

The Beach Grove neighbourhood has a 30 km/h speed restriction that is not enforced, and no sidewalks or curb on the arterial avenue. Instead of going out and studying the issue, Delta Engineering staff actually asked residents to present a petition to Council outlining the very obvious speeding problem, as reported in the Delta Optimist.

But the response to vehicular crashes at 16th Avenue and 53A Street really reinforces the need for the City of Delta to start thinking of pedestrians and cyclists as well as just vehicle movement. This “T” intersection gives priority to through vehicle traffic, but provides no crosswalk for children walking or biking to school or for  pedestrians to cross. There’s a solid yellow line in the middle of the  intersection, with traffic not slowing to the suggested 20 km/h, and a sidewalk on only one side of the street which much be crossed by pedestrians. And in Delta, traffic does not stop at corners for pedestrians on residential collector streets.

Again residents on 53A Street has been lobbying the City of Delta and the B.C. Minister of Transportation.  The  residents’ request as reported in the Delta Optimist was simple~ “better illumination, trimming the bushes on one of the corner homes so drivers have better sightlines, a marked crosswalk and a stop sign to slow down traffic.”

The City of Delta’s engineering Council report on this intersection “outlining short-term and long-term action” does not ONCE mention pedestrians or cyclists trying to cross this busy street, and ignores the need for a marked crosswalk. Instead, Delta proposes to paint fresh double solid yellow markings on the street to assist car traffic flow, and to place concrete barriers on one side of the intersection. In his new book “Walkable City Rules”  Jeff Speck points out that using these yellow lines in the middle of streets actually make vehicle drivers go faster, up to 10 km/h or more.

You can read the Delta Council report here and take a look at the proposed “raised median island”  and new street light that  is further suggested for the 2019 Capital plan. I’ve included the drawings here which show no pedestrian crosswalk, and a purely vehicle driven design with a “slip lane”  intended to “reduce the propensity of angle crashes in this location.” It creates more challenges for pedestrians and cyclists to cross a vehicle priority slip lane, and they are rarely used in residential locations.

Delta~deep in the clutches of motordom, responding to ICBC reported crashes and not responding to residents’ concerns about safe walking and cycling, and neighbourliness.

What will it take to make the change?


Images: City of Delta


  1. 16 Ave and 53A St to the north provide the best route for cyclists that want to ride the Boundary Bay Dyke and continue west towards the ferry.

  2. Sadly, it’ll take a few deaths. But the inaction is not hard to understand. Do nothing and a few people grumble. Do something and everyone grumbles.

  3. Good piece, Sandy. Delta is a tragic example of a city living in the past. It seems that its traffic engineering department has too much say. They should have a pedestrian and cycling engineering department.

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