56th Street needs to be safer for pedestrians

Editor:

Your last two editions contained a letter and articles related to streets in Tsawwassen-

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The letter on Nov. 5 from a senior who had been verbally assaulted attempting to cross 56th at 14B street,and the article on Nov. 12 about the changes planned for 16th Avenue.

When we moved here, we chose our current dwelling because it was in walking distance to the town centre. However, we did not realize how unpleasant and unsafe parts of 56th are for pedestrians, and that the lack of crosswalks would add to the danger.

On the stretch of road between the South Delta recreation centre and 12th Avenue, there are stores and businesses and apartments on both sides.  In the area just south of 16th, the young and fit can be seen running across when the way seems clear.

Most of the way there is no easement between the sidewalk and the highway.  It's made worse by driveways where there is a dip in the sidewalk and no curb.

Things improve as one gets closer to the town centre and there is a planted area between the road and the sidewalk.  This is the area where the senior was berated for crossing the street to the bus stop.

But before that-- woe betide anyone who slips, or lets go of the handles of a stroller or a walker, or has a child on a bike who wavers just a bit or falls.

There have been at least three fatalities on this stretch since our move here four years ago.

The thing that makes this an urgent issue is that there is no alternate through route. On the east there is no through street until below the golf course, on the west, there is no through street at all, at least I haven't been able to find one so far!  

People need safe crosswalks and sidewalks if they are going to get out of cars and make it a community;

  56th seems to be an extension of the freeway for many of those coming south, and a way to get up to speed for the freeway for those going North.

Maybe there are engineering reasons for upgrading 16th first, but that street feels like a safe paradise compared to walking on 56th. Changes could be made to the access to bus stops and crosswalks on 16th without re-doing the entire street.  Maybe the redo is because there is a development plan to place a lot of townhouses on the beautifully treed area of the golf course? 

Why not make that area a park and save some of the tree planting costs also mentioned in your edition of November 12?

If the complex on 16th does go ahead, there will be that many more cars on 56th filled with people who don't want to risk their lives by walking.  

Thank you for allowing me to express my frustration!

Mac Savage

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