by Evan Seal
When it comes to commuting, I tend to be a creature of habit. After driving from the Valley to work in Surrey every day for many years, I have driven every possible way home, hoping, like many, to find that perfect balance between low stress, minimum traffic congestion and the quickest trip.
Living in Mission and having a one-way travel time of close to one hour, I tend to drive to work through as much peaceful countryside as I can, winding my way through Matsqui, Langley and eventually the pastoral countryside of Cloverdale.
Nearly every day I drive home along Highway 10. Over the last year, I have noticed RCMP members parked on the south side of Highway 10 just east of 168 Street.
Each day I pass by, there seems to be at least one angry motorist pulled over to the side of the road passing their driver’s licence and insurance papers through the window to an awaiting officer.
While observing each corner of that intersection, I have often wondered what it is that warrants such a continuous police presence for such an extended length of time.
Maybe it’s drivers stopping on the railroad tracks on the south side of the intersection? Possibly speeders, in a hurry to get home, running the red light?
It only seems to be an issue eastbound as I have never seen the same police presence on the north side of the street.
I was becoming more and more curious.
So last week on my way home, I decided to find out.
My idea was to publish a photograph and some information letting people know how to avoid committing a traffic violation at an obvious hot spot – a public service kind of thing. After all, if the police are having to hand out tickets in this one place almost every day for over a year, motorists clearly aren’t getting the message.
I was on a mission.
Having just passed the officers, I made a left-hand turn onto 172 Street and got back onto Highway 10 and headed west.
When I reached 168 Street I made a right, driving north where I took a truck turnaround just north on 168 and eventually found myself southbound at the intersection of 168 and Highway 10.
Finally the light turned green and I moved into the intersection. All my questions would soon be answered. Fortunately, no one was driving north so I slowly made the left turn westbound towards the police, right into the net.
Almost instantly an officer wearing a bright green reflective vest jumped out from behind one of the parked SUVs and directed me to the curb.
“Do you realize you just made an illegal left hand turn?” he asked. Dumbfounded, and having missed any signage, I tried to explain that it was actually me who wanted to talk to him, to get to the bottom of this long-standing mystery. He clearly wasn’t buying my story.
After a few minutes he was back at my window with a ticket for $121.
Apparently there is a sign on the traffic light – a small one – prohibiting left turns during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
All this time I had wondered. Now my wallet knows the answer.
Evan Seal is a photographer/reporter with the Surrey Leader, a sister paper to the Abbotsford News.