Township Councillor Charlie Fox is not giving up his fight to see safety improvements made along 16 Avenue, especially after another life was lost on the busy commuter road.
“My goal is to get all the partners at the same table to see what plans could be had to improve 16th,” said Fox last week (Oct. 30), following Monday’s fatal crash that took place near his home in the 16 Avenue area.
He had to show police his ID with his address to get home that evening, after roads were blocked off for hours while police and the Independent Investigation Office investigated the three-vehicle crash at the intersection of 240 Street and 16 Ave. The driver of a pickup truck fled police. It’s believed, but not confirmed, the driver blew the stop sign at 240 St. and 16 Ave., crashing into two other vehicles and killing a Delta father of two who was driving home from work in Langley along 16 Ave. The suspect was arrested. Another man in another vehicle suffered minor injuries.
On Sept. 13, an elderly couple were killed when their vehicle crossed the centre line into the oncoming path of a gravel truck in the 20200 block of 16 Avenue.
“I don’t even need to look at speed limits or roundabouts yet. I just want all the partners at the table,” said Fox.
TransLink is responsible for the road and would have to agree to fund safety upgrades. Fox said that 16 Avenue is “on TransLink’s radar.”
He met with TransLink staff two weeks ago to remind them about the pressing issue. Two years ago, TransLink had $20 million in their budget for road improvements, said Fox. This year that amount is down to $10 million.
“So there is less of a budget for road improvements but in the meantime 16 Avenue has gotten busier and will get even busier,” Fox said.
He wants TransLink, the Ministry of Transportation and the Township at the table.
But The Times phoned the Ministry of Transportation, run by Langley MLA Mary Polak, only to be told the road is TransLink’s responsibility, not the province.
However, it was only a few weeks ago that Polak announced $24 million for a new interchange on 16 Avenue at Highway 99.
The two-lane 16 Avenue has very small shoulders, sometimes none at all, which police have said makes it difficult to do speed enforcement.
It is used as a commuter route as well as a major truck traffic route from Abbotsford into Langley and Surrey. Numerous residents have written to the Township expressing concerns about the safety of 16 Avenue.
Fox said his motion at the Township council table found no support. But that doesn’t stop his push for change.
Calls to TransLink weren’t returned.