Temporary sidewalk, barriers added at site of fatal accident in Burnaby as city promises action
Residents say heavy construction and traffic, combined with a lack of sidewalk, makes walking in the neighbourhood unsafe.
A developer and a construction company say they’ve added a temporary asphalt sidewalk and pedestrian barrier to improve safety near the scene of a tragic fatal accident in South Burnaby last week.
A dump truck associated with Ledingham McAllister and Marcon Construction, the developers and builders at SouthGate City, was involved in a collision last Thursday near 11th Avenue and 18th Street that claimed the life of a 14-year-old girl.
Residents of the area say heavy construction and trucking traffic in the area, combined with a lack of sidewalks and pedestrian infrastructure, makes walking in the neighbourhood unsafe.
In the wake of the tragic accident, Ledingham McAllister and Marcon have extended the existing sidewalk with asphalt and installed barriers on the south side of 11th Avenue between 17th and 18th streets.
Photos sent from the companies to Burnaby Beacon show that work has now been completed.
The companies said that while that was originally work the City of Burnaby was looking at doing, they assumed the responsibility because their contractors were already on site and could get it done quickly.
They’re also preventing their truck drivers from exiting eastwards from their construction site and driving towards the area where the accident occurred.
“Trucks will now go west on 11th Avenue, instead of east. By going west, they will go from 11th Avenue to 18th Street, then 18th Street to 10th Avenue,” the companies said in an emailed statement.
“It is prudent to mention there are private and government entities unrelated to our work operating and/or building in the area who have their own heavy trucks over which we have no authority.”
The City of Burnaby, meanwhile, tells the Beacon that it’s working both on immediate and long-term measures to improve pedestrian safety.
Those include a temporary sidewalk to be put in on the southeast side of 11th Avenue between 15th and 17th streets along the houses there—essentially extending the temporary asphalt installed by Ledingham McAllister and Marcon Construction—in the coming weeks.
At the same time, the city will begin plans for a permanent sidewalk there, although city spokesperson Chris Bryan noted that work will take longer.
Bryan said Burnaby is also looking at putting a temporary sidewalk near the construction site for the Rosemary Brown Arena at 10th Avenue and 18th Street—saying the city realizes that students from nearby schools, especially Byrne Creek Community School, often walk down 18th Street to get to 11th Avenue. At the moment, there is limited sidewalk space on 18th Street due to the construction projects in the area.
The temporary sidewalk there will likely be put in place before school starts in the fall, Bryan said.
In a statement, the City of Burnaby said it’s also examining other traffic calming measures in the area—but that sidewalks are a priority.
“Burnaby is building dozens of new sidewalks city-wide in response to what we’ve heard from residents, businesses and community organizations. Residents have told us that Burnaby needs a high-quality pedestrian network—and we are moving as quickly as possible to deliver,” the city said.
“The city plans to build more than 20 kilometres of new sidewalks each year. In 2021, we built more than 30 new sidewalks throughout the city and are planning a similar number for 2022. Priority for sidewalk construction is given to streets near transit, schools, parks, seniors’ housing and community centres.”