Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Almost hit by a car

As I walked up Beta Ave after coming out of the Brentwood Mall parking lot above Sears, a driver that had stopped at the stop sign coming out of the parking lot to Beta Ave nearly accelerated into me after briefly stopping (right after he overshot the stop line).  I guess he didn't notice my extremely large red and white umbrella that I was carrying this rainy evening.  Maybe his headlights were too close to me (he had already overshot the stop line) to illuminate my huge umbrella.  Maybe he was too focused on the car heading north on Beta to notice that I was crossing right in front of him.  Regardless of the reason, he didn't see or notice me until after he made me think that my life (along with this blog) was going to end in an intersection on a cold rainy night in Burnaby (okay I didn't think of it that elaborately at that moment but that is what would have happened).  Luckily he saw me at the last second just as he had seen the stop sign at the last second just moments earlier.  Had he hit me and I survived, the best case scenario would have been that I would have been seriously injured and I would be left blogging all day every day while I recover.

This near accident highlights the need for well-lit pedestrian crossings as well as well-painted markings on the road to guide drivers.  There are many other things that it highlights but those other things are those that only remedial driving courses could resolve.  Is it just me that notices that the markings and signs on our roads are pretty much invisible during dark rainy evenings (which happens to be a majority of the year in Metro Vancouver)?  I am not only saying this as a pedestrian, but as a driver.  If you are driving at night in the rain, you cannot see the lines on the road that separate lanes and intersections.  It's quite unbelievable that our planning departments for cities in Metro Vancouver have never noticed that this is an extremely dangerous situation.  If there is a planner that says that they have indeed noticed this situation, why haven't you done anything?  Is there nobody in Metro Vancouver, who gets paid quite well to create safe roads, that has noticed this glaring (or lack of glare in this case) problem on our roads?  There must be a better paint somewhere that doesn't disappear on a rainy night.  The last time I drove (as is the case every time I drive) I noticed that visibility is pretty important when it comes to traffic and pedestrian safety.  I would say that it is the most important factor in pedestrian and road safety,  Visibility.  Visibility.  Visibility.   If any planners are reading this (I doubt it) they can earn their good pay with this free advice.  No exorbitant consulting fee required.

  • brighter paint that doesn't disappear in the rain.
  • lighting that makes signs, crosswalks, and lines on the road visible to everyone during our typical winter evenings and not lighting that only allows us to see...lights on top of tall poles.
To city planners everywhere, you're welcome.


  1. Ever since they took out the double left turn down Beta onto Lougheed, that whole area is a mess. The stop signs are redundant in some parts of the access roads - causing confusion - and non-existent in others. Brentwood Mall has become the "go around" for the whole Willingdon / Lougheed corner during rush hour - and I put my hand up to say I'm one who does whatever I can to avoid that intersection (fortunately I wasn't the driver you describe). The entire section of Beta needs to be re-done. It's more than paint - clear markings need to happen. Further down where the 2nd access is has become a zoo. Nobody seems to know who is turning where and pedestrians - god help them if they try and cross from the mall to the apartments.

    Sure the planners have noticed it. That's why they took out the double left turn lanes and left chaos on that side of Lougheed.

  2. You are right that the area at the intersection of Beta and Lougheed is chaotic and dangerous at best. Pedestrians are putting themselves at great risk as they try to cross Beta directly from the Brentwood Dr apartments to the mall parking lot instead of at the intersection a little further down. It just shows how little the sidewalk on Lougheed Hwy is used by the residents of the apartments north of there. I have seen the craziness as a driver and it is not fun to be a part of.

    As you mentioned, further adding to the craziness is the removal of the double left turn lane onto Lougheed which bottles up the traffic not only on Beta but at mall parking lot exit as cars stuck waiting to turn right prevent cars from turning left. The pedestrians running across Beta Ave there don't help.

    The issue should be brought up at the public hearings for the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment. Maybe an overpass is needed to meet future traffic increases.

  3. I was grazed by a car at the intersection of Dawson and Madison on Wednesday night. I was even using the hatched crosswalk markings to cross the street and I was still hit by a car turning left off of Dawson! The amazing part is the driver slowed down afterwards as I chased after the car and then he/she took off!! Luckily I grabbed the plate number and the Burnaby RCMP are now tracking down the driver. Recently City Council approved traffic lights to be installed at this intersection. I think I speak for everyone living and working in this area that it can't come soon enough!! I vote Madison and Dawson one of the worst intersections in Burnaby!! And for the drivers out there, SLOW DOWN AND START PAYING ATTENTION before you kill someone!

  4. Those traffic signals will be an improvement. Good thing you got the plate number.

  5. A few months ago I was 'grazed' by a car exiting the Mall at the exit south of Gravely/Brentlawn creeping forward in the left turn lane. I thought she'd seen me, but apparently not, coasted into me. that x-walk needs repainting again. almost always i'll stop and let left turning traffic through when there is a gap in Willingdon traffic.. but it seems like pedestrians don't get the same courtesy in return... The Stop sign at the ped xwalk at the Fairlawn entrance.. the one with the flashing amber light? Ignored.