Traffic lights approved for 72 Avenue

Council gives green light to signals near Surrey border

Gary Hee

Gary Hee

A set of traffic lights has been approved for a stretch of accident-prone road shared by Surrey and Langley Township, with Township councillors voting unanimously Monday night to spend $125,000 to install signals at the intersection of 72 Avenue and 196 Street.

That covers half the cost of the traffic lights, with Surrey paying the rest.

Construction work is expected to begin early in the new year, with the lights up and running by the end of March.

It was welcome news for Gary Hee, who organized a 175-name petition of local residents to call for traffic calming measures along 72 Avenue.

“That sounds good,” Hee told The Times.

“It would be a speed buffer, at the very least.”

At the same time, Township council voted to add $1.6 million in road improvements along 72 Avenue to a list of possible Township construction projects in 2015.

If the plan makes the final cut following a review of all proposed projects, the $1.6 million would pay for extensive road improvements, including widening most of 72 Avenue to four lanes between 196 and 200 Streets, installing another set of traffic lights at the 198B intersection where an 83-year-old pedestrian was killed last September, and filling in an open ditch at the site.

The year before the elderly pedestrian died, there were two other incidents along 72 Avenue near 196 Street, one where a young boy was hit while rollerblading and another where a 19-year-old woman was struck in a hit-and-run crash and left lying in a ditch.

The decision to endorse the proposed improvements to the 2015 budget process was made even though a report by the Township traffic engineering division said there isn’t enough traffic right now to justify signals at the 198B intersection.

The report said a review of the intersection accident history at 198B found there were 14 crashes between 2009 and 2014, only two of which involved “conflicting vehicle movements” of the type a traffic light is designed to prevent.

That’s well below the Canadian traffic engineering standards followed by the Township, which set a minimum average of five such collisions a year to justify traffic lights.

The report also said there wasn’t enough vehicle traffic at 198B to justify a four-way-stop, and there wasn’t enough pedestrian traffic to justify a crosswalk.

However, if a traffic light goes in, along with the road widening and other improvements, the engineering department report said traffic would likely rise, enough to meet the standards.