When it comes to the lexicon of traffic planning, there are controlled intersections and uncontrolled intersections.
Controlled basically means there are traffic lights, although bad drivers make sure these lights control as little as possible. They are more guidelines to be lightly regarded, according to some drivers. My favourite line is, “Green means go, yellow means go faster.”
As for uncontrolled intersections, well, drivers assert as much control over them as possible – traffic signs be damned.
My vote for the worst uncontrolled intersection in Burnaby – or at least North Burnaby – is the three-way clusterbleep at Production Way, Forest Grove and Broadway.
If you haven’t driven through this clown show, it’s located just west of Gaglardi Way and north of Lougheed Highway and the Production Way SkyTrain station.
It is the very definition of a ratrunner route. Drivers are either trying to avoid Gaglardi Way or they are trying to duck Lougheed Highway.
Rush hours see drivers whipping back and forth on Broadway turning into Production.
The intersection is weird for a number of reasons.
First is the different elevations. Drivers either come up Broadway or up Production and crest at the intersection before going down again. This crest creates dangerous situations because vehicles coming south on Forest Grove and turning left onto Broadway sometimes only see oncoming vehicles at the last second if those vehicles coming up the hill are speeding (which happens a lot). It doesn’t give them much time to react.
Second is the fact that the intersection is in the middle of a curve. Vehicles coming on a slope on Forest Grove have to turn left or right on the curve and it’s awkward if drivers are, once again, speeding. Forest Grove drivers in the right-hand turn lane can appear out of nowhere to Broadway drivers who are speeding.
Third is the left-turn lane for vehicles coming up Production who want to turn onto Forest Grove. Once again, the lane is in the middle of a curve. It’s also unclear as Production drivers crest the hill if they are continuing right on the curve down Broadway or entering the left-turn lane.
All of these details wouldn’t be so bad if drivers weren’t constantly speeding because it’s a ratrunner route. That’s what makes all of these curves and different elevations so unnerving when you are using the intersection.
I don’t know if the city can really do much for it. The real responsibility lies with drivers and we all know how hard it is to convince ratrunners to slow down.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.