The province should be working with the Tsawwassen First Nation to develop a new pedestrian overpass.
Delta South MLA Ian Paton in the legislature last week put forward that request to Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming for the province to look at constructing an overpass at 52nd Street and Highway 17, noting pedestrian safety should be the top priority.
Paton said before the mall at the TFN was constructed, the highway was five lanes in width. It is now nine lanes after the expansion and widening of Highway 17.
He also said the roadway was 35 metres in width at Highway 17 at 52 Street, but it is now around 60 metres.
“Of course, I need not mention the amount of traffic that attends this mall now and the amount of traffic that is racing to get to the BC Ferries terminal,” added Paton.
Paton asked Fleming look into the situation and respond.
It’s an issue that had been previously pushed hard by the City of Delta, but seems to have died on the vine over the last couple of years.
Former transportation minister Todd Stone noted that, following the mall’s opening, ministry staff conducted engineering evaluations and no safety issues were observed, contrary to concerns Delta had been raising.
“These assessments found that pedestrian volumes were lower than the forecasted volumes, which were considered when the business case was undertaken to address the merits of a pedestrian overpass. In addition, staff did not observe pedestrian overcrowding on the traffic islands or any other pedestrian related safety concerns,” Stone said in a previous letter to Delta council.
A business case commissioned by the ministry, looking into whether an overpass was needed, found such a structure, estimated at roughly $5 million, offered no significant benefit and was not justified.
According to Delta’s engineering department, that conclusion was incorrect, considering how pedestrians trying to access two large shopping malls have to cross an increasingly busy Highway 17.
The department also noted pedestrians trying to cross at night are placed at even further risk, while ferry traffic exacerbates the situation.