Safety improvements are coming to NW Marine Drive, province says

Increased safety measures will be implemented on Northwest Marine Drive by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) in time for the upcoming winter session.

Last year, two separate pedestrian-involved collisions occurred on NW Marine Drive. In late September 2021, two students were struck and killed by a speeding car near Totem Park residence area. About a week later, a collision behind the Chan Centre left a pedestrian injured with a broken leg.

Since then, members of the UBC community have been calling for safety improvements on the road.

According to a statement from the MOTI, a permanent speed reader board will be installed where SW Marine Drive becomes NW Marine Drive at the section where the speed limit drops to 40 km/h.

A few months ago, MOTI installed a speed reader on the road to encourage drivers to slow down — although community members have complained about the lack of enforcement.

Other improvements include the installment of roadside delineators and the removal of parking spaces where the road goes from four to two lanes, as well as upgrading many streetlights to LED. A pedestrian-activated crosswalk is also expected to be constructed by the fall at the NW Marine Drive and Cecil Green Park Road crosswalk, where the second incident took place.

MOTI added that a high-level review of ministry-operated traffic corridors in and out of UBC is ongoing and will be completed later this summer. The report will propose more long-term solutions to the current transportation needs.

In a statement to The Ubyssey, University RCMP Corporal Ian Sim said the RCMP has placed two life-like police officer metal cutouts around campus to control traffic speed. He said the cut-outs are sometimes paired with live officers to issue speeding tickets and better enforce the speed limit. The fine for excessive speeding and distracted driving is $368.

Sim also said yellow traffic calming pickets and solar powered lighting have also been installed near Trail 6, the main entrance to Wreck Beach, to enhance pedestrian safety. “The feedback from the public has been increasingly positive,” he said on these particular measures.

Thandi Fletcher, senior media strategist at UBC media relations, said the university is working closely with MOTI and the RCMP regarding safety improvements and speed enforcement on NW Marine Drive, including “improved signage, upgraded streetlights, and dedicated traffic enforcement duties.”

Fletcher added that UBC is interested in seeing the results of the longer-term review led by MOTI to explore longer-term solutions.

“The safety of the UBC community is a top priority. We will continue to work with RCMP and the Ministry to advocate for safety and speed enforcement enhancements to campus roadways,” she wrote.