Annacis Island traffic shortcuts prompt petition
Police say officers can barely keep up with traffic offenders
Police in Delta, B.C., are cracking down on drivers illegally taking shortcuts through Annacis Island to avoid traffic on and around the Alex Fraser Bridge, but local businesses say more needs to be done.
Police and those who work on Annacis Island, between Richmond, Delta and Surrey, say commuters are using the industrial area to avoid traffic on Highway 91 — making illegal turns and hampering business.
"The commerce has to get moving and with everything blocked up there, it's stopped," said Patrick Couling with HYBC Industries. "It's bad for business."
CBC's Andrew Chang explains what the illegal turn looks like on a map.
During peak traffic times, drivers are often stuck in traffic on Highway 91. Some of them, however, are taking the Annacis Island off ramp, making a left turn into a parking lot and then rejoining the southbound traffic while skipping the backlog of traffic.
While it's not against the Motor Vehicle Act for drivers to make a U-turn in a business parking lot, police say they may be committing an offence with the actual left turn itself into the parking lot.
Annacis Island is the largest industrial park in the Lower Mainland.
Megan Larsen with MasonLift said it sometimes takes her employees up to one hour to get off the island during the evening commute.
"It's hard to attract people to come to Annacis Island to work, and it's just caused a huge problem for all the businesses here," she said.
Traffic signs restrict left-hand turns and U-turns in specific areas, but they don't seem to be deterring all drivers.
Ken Usipiuk, an officer with the Delta Police Department, said police can barely hand out tickets fast enough. He said traffic control officers have been to the island seven times since the New Year.
On Wednesday morning, officers issued 25 tickets in 1.5 hours — the fine is $121 and two demerit points.
An online petition to install traffic-calming measures on Annacis Island has been signed by 1,300 people as of Jan. 20.
With files from Belle Puri