Burnaby is fixing the Marine Drive walking fiasco. But it won't be quick

Chris Campbell

I recently took a walk along Marine Drive in South Burnaby.

It was pretty scary. And uncomfortable.

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I walked this stretch because I’ve received a lot of messages from NOW readers in the past year about the lack of sidewalks along this stretch of road.

The NOW wrote about this situation last September, interviewing several pedestrians about the lack of proper walking paths, but I wanted to see for myself.

And yeah, it was pretty grim. You can see from the top photo how ridiculous some of these sections are for pedestrians. There is some pretty rough terrain, especially if you are a person with mobility issues.

It’s an embarrassing situation. The good news, however, is that the City of Burnaby has a plan to fix this. It just won’t be easy. Or quick.

According to the city, this is a “very complex” project, with about 3.7 kilometres of work needed from Southridge to Boundary Road.

“It’s an area with steep grades on both sides of Marine Drive – hills to the north side along Sussex and Gilley, for instance, can give you a sense of the terrain,” said a statement from the city.

The city says this work is far different from sidewalks that have recently been added on Rumble Street, which is mainly flat.

MARINE drive sidewalks
Raksh Kapoor navigated between parked cars and traffic on Marine Drive with no separated sidewalk close to his home. Photograph By MARIA RANTANEN/NOw

The city is calling the Marine project adding an “urban trail” on the north side of Marine and a new sidewalk on the south side, meaning “there will be the need for retaining walls in many areas and re-grading of driveways.

“It’s also a major east-west traffic connector, so we’re looking at phasing the project in a way that minimizes traffic impacts.”

This will be a “high-impact project,” says the city and so extensive public consultations are planned.

A request for proposal is being issued soon for the design of the project, with 2019 and 2020 being used for the design work and other preparatory work such as moving underground utilities, survey work for retaining walls and the planning of related traffic improvements.

Construction on the actual work is slated for 2021, says the city.

“The current estimate for the project is seven years and may be subject to change as the city works through the design stage to seek opportunities to expedite the project,” said the statement.

So, yeah, it’s going to take a while, but as they say, good things come to those who wait.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.


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