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Letter: North Vancouver's Delbrook Avenue is 'incredibly dangerous'

Readers quarrel over the safety of Delbrook Avenue following the announcement it may soon undergo a safety-driven redesign
A driver of an SUV turns onto Delbrook Avenue in North Vancouver, March 2021. | Google earth

Re: Letter: Delbrook Avenue is safe enough just how it is

In response to: North Vancouver may redesign Delbrook Avenue for slower speeds

Dear Editor,

I am writing to rebut the letter by M. Klein you published about resisting changes to Delbrook Avenue.

First, the author says “We have the luxury of plenty of space for bikes without the need for a bike lane.”

This is patently untrue. Bicycles are funnelled into mixed traffic, which is incredibly dangerous, especially for new or unsteady riders, like children.

I ride my bike as transportation all around the North Shore, and the roads where cars and bicycles are forced to share the lane are the most unsafe, with drivers constantly blazing past at top speed, edging me over into the “dooring” zone of parked cars, or almost clipping me. Once, a bus driver even nudged my back tire to get me to hurry up when I was in a AAA bikeway and bikes and cars were supposed to be single file.

The reality of life experience for most cyclists in the city is one of feeling endangered unless there is a separated bike lane.

As a parent, I would never allow my daughter to ride her bike along Delbrook Avenue, as the speeding and aggressive cars would literally endanger her life. Especially given the recent death of a cyclist at 23rd Street and Lonsdale, I should think that improving bicycle infrastructure to make it safer for ALL modes of transport would be a top priority for councils on the North Shore.

Second, as the original article stated, there are 800 cars a day on this road and the speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour, which cars frequently ignore to speed down the road.

While M. Klein may feel comfortable sending their children out to cross roads by themselves under those circumstances, I absolutely would not. I have seen pedestrians almost hit at crosswalks on Delbrook Avenue numerous times, including adults having to jump back to avoid cars blasting through crosswalks as if they didn’t exist.

While M. Klein’s “extremely privileged way of life” sounds great, the reality of the situation is that Delbrook is a dangerous road for everyone including the cars who treat it like a Formula One racing track.

I have seen several ambulance-required accidents along Delbrook Avenue as well, which surely would not be necessary if it was the peaceful traffic-calmed wonderland described in this letter.

The fact is, car drivers on the North Shore are prone to aggressive, erratic driving, frequently surpassing the speed limit by up to 20 km/h, ignoring stop signs, yellow lights, and crosswalks (I have almost been hit in crosswalks numerous times, including with my child, by drivers who gave me a guilty wave as they continued on about their day because they just didn’t feel like stopping).

Anything we can do make North Vancouver safer for pedestrians and cyclists will also make traffic safer for drivers, and should be prioritized at all costs.

Claire Litton,

North Vancouver

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