Tsawwassen residents call for action on dangerous corner

Residents near the intersection of 53A Street and 16th Avenue in Tsawwassen have witnessed or heard more collisions than they can remember.

Now they’re calling on the City of Delta to act before someone is killed.

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Peter Riverio said high speeds, poor visibility and lack of driver attention all contribute to the high number of collisions in the area.

He started a petition in June of last year and has been lobbying civic officials and the provincial Ministry of Transportation.

Another major accident last week that sent one person to hospital prompted Riverio to once again lobby Delta and contact the Optimist.

He said it was lucky that no one was killed in the latest accident, adding only the stone retaining wall on the corner house kept the vehicle from crashing into a home.

“I personally have witnessed seven near-miss accidents in this intersection over the past two years. Jim [Ormesher], who lives in that corner house, has witnessed 25 to 28 near-miss accidents in the past year alone.

“The city used to have a fire hydrant at the corner but it was getting hit all the time. You would figure that if the city was going to move a fire hydrant due to high accidents, you would think they would realize that they have a problem here.”

Angela Yamaoka’s husband was involved in the latest accident. She said the cab of a pick-up truck ended up in the driver’s side of her husband’s vehicle and pushed it into the retaining wall.

“It’s so dark and unless you know this corner and you know you have the right of way, accidents happen all the time,” she said. “He saw the truck coming, but he couldn’t get out of the way. The street light is useless. You can’t see the double solid line.”

Riverio said when you get to the corner of the T-intersection, there is no stop sign, no crosswalk and no lights. Drivers do not follow speed limits and constantly cross over the line, he said.

“Most drivers don’t know what to do when they come to this intersection. Most never do 20 km/h around this corner,” he said.

The morning and afternoon rush hours, according to residents, are the worst times.

When the Optimist was in the area speaking to residents last week there were four near-misses involving vehicles or pedestrians in less than half an hour.

“It is just a matter of time before there will be a fatality either driving or a pedestrian will be hit,” Riverio said.

Residents are asking Delta for 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.

“This all seems like a very inexpensive way to resolve this issue,” added Riverio. “This is an official City of Delta collector route and the only collector route that does not terminate with a stop sign. From what I see, this is the most unsafe collector route in all of Tsawwassen.”

Delta’s director of engineering Steven Lan said his department has reviewed all the emails and correspondence from residents and will be coming to Delta council on Dec. 10 with recommendations to improve traffic safety.

“We certainly want to take some action, so there will be a report coming forward to council outlining both short- and long-term action,” said Lan.

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