Commuters and residents of an East Vancouver neighbourhood are honking mad about the recent bump in train traffic on a formerly quiet route.
“As a community, we have a bunch of concerns, but the traffic issue is the most immediate manifestation,” says community advocate Pete Fry.
Fry is referring to the Burrard Inlet Rail Line, which has seen a marked increase in CN Rail traffic since the beginning of the month.
The section in question runs from the Port of Vancouver through Strathcona to rail lands on the False Creek Flats.
The problem? At Glenn Dr., It bisects Venables St., a key east-west commuter route that feeds the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts.
Fry says increased and unpredictable traffic on the line, often at rush hour, has meant major backups with drivers often waiting upwards of 20 minutes for the road to clear.
“We see a lot of trucks and a lot of busses that we see snagged in that traffic. As for the regular commuters in regular cars, they have a tendency to cut onto side streets and look for ways through the neighborhood to get to another arterial.”
The line also cuts through one of the busiest routes for cycle commuters, the Adanac bikeway, which sees upwards of 5,000 trips per day during summer months.
The city of Vancouver says in late December, the railway company indicated up to six trains would be running along the corridor but were given no timeline.
The city also says it’s looking at an alternate arterial and overpass potentially along Williams Street.
That development seems most likely to be done in concert with the new arterial proposed with the elimination of the viaducts.
CN says the spur has been active for many decades, but acknowledges recent traffic by slow moving trains carrying consumer goods has been bumped up.
It says CN police presence has been increased on the route to remind drivers they need to obey crossing rules, and the public that trespassing on rail property is illegal.
With files from Emily Lazatin