No light on Whatcom after council reverses previous decision

An amber flashing light will not be installed on Whatcom Road.

On Monday, council reversed its earlier decision, in April, to install the warning light on the southbound “intersection ahead” sign just before Mountain Drive.

Residents in the area had petitioned council to put in a stop light at the intersection due to safety concerns and limited visibility for motorists attempting to turn onto Whatcom.

At that time, council rejected the stop light proposal. The amber flashing light was suggested as a compromise.

Monday’s decision to cancel the flashing light came after the city’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee suggested it be put on hold until 2012, when a full review of the Whatcom Road corridor is scheduled to take place.

The committee suggested that installing the amber beacon now could be redundant if new traffic lights and/or pedestrian crossings are needed next year. It would cost between $3,000 to $5,000 to install.

Abbotsford Coun. Dave Loewen was the only person to vote against the idea.

“What has changed that I should change my mind on this?” Loewen asked staff.

He said the council “went against staff” when it first decided to put up a warning light and now that decision is being reversed.

“Wouldn’t it make it a safer intersection? ... Maybe not significantly safer, but safer none-the-less,” said Loewen.

Russ Mammel, director of transportation, said the intersection was safe, but added they are always looking to make improvements.

Abbotsford Mayor George Peary said the Abbotsford Police Department has “this thoroughfare on its radar,” and is watching for speeders heading down the hill. Speed is one of the main safety concerns on Whatcom.

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