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Dec 14,2010 New West Leader

New Westminster city council has rejected all four design options put forward by TransLink for the United Boulevard Extension (UBE) project.

"We've made a decision to make no decision," said Coun. Lorrie Williams. "We've made a decision to wait and see."

Although council initially supported Option A, which was a T-intersection that would link Brunette Avenue in New West to Coquitlam's United Boulevard, residents' input at recent public meetings helped convince them that none of the options would be positive for the city.

Williams said concerns remained about how much new traffic would come into the city, and the fact that even though the UBE might improve flow at one point, the choke point would likely move further down the line.

The project is part of the North Fraser Perimeter Road, a four-lane truck route linking the Queensborough Bridge with the Golden Ears Bridge in Maple Ridge.

Other upgrades on the route are not planned for several years.

Ottawa has told TransLink that if the UBE plan has support it will commit about $65 million, but a deadline looms.

New West council's resolution, passed Monday night, asks TransLink to seek an extension from the federal government.

"Everybody knows TransLink has their back against the wall too," Williams said.

Council's resolution also asks the transportation authority to continue consultation on the UBE and the NFPR, and to return with alternative design options for the UBE.

Here's the City of New Westminster press release:

For immediate release

December 14, 2010

New Westminster Council passes resolution on North Fraser Perimeter Road/United Boulevard Extension Project

New Westminster, BC – In response to concerns raised both in council meetings and at recent TransLink public consultation sessions on the proposed North Fraser Perimeter Road/United Boulevard Extension project, New Westminster City Council has passed the following resolution to protect livability in the Royal City:

“WHEREAS in response to concerns expressed at public consultation meetings;

AND WHEREAS New Westminster City Council is concerned over intrusive impacts on residential neighbourhoods;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT TransLink be requested to continue with public consultation and planning in relation to the North Fraser Perimeter Road corridor and United Boulevard Extension project;

THAT TransLink be encouraged to seek an extension of their Federal funding grant;

THAT Council does not support Options A, B, C or D at this time, and that the City reaffirms its position regarding the entire route and mitigation of North Fraser Perimeter Road (as resolved in 2007);

THAT TransLink be requested to work with city staff and the community at large to develop alternative design options for the extension of United Boulevard and its connection with Brunette Avenue; and

THAT TransLink be requested to formally approve removal of the existing commercial truck route designation from the following city streets:

· East Eighth Avenue – McBride Boulevard to East Columbia Street

· East Columbia Street – Brunette Avenue to Braid Street.

“At recent TransLink consultation meetings residents made very clear their concerns about any road project that would result in greater traffic in our city,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “Our council shares those concerns and has asked Translink to continue working with city staff and community members to come up with a better solution.”

In addition to encouraging TransLink to seek an extension on the $65 million federal funding grant with a current deadline of December 31, 2010, city council also made clear that it does not support any of the options presented for the United Boulevard Extension in their current form and reaffirmed its position on the North Fraser Perimeter Road and mitigation, as outlined in a 2007 council resolution.

“We’re smack-dab at the centre of Metro Vancouver and while our location has its advantages, we’ve put up with more than our fair share of traffic for too long,” said Mayor Wright. “This resolution looks to the future and involves the community in developing solutions that work for the long-term.”

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