Tag Archives: walkers

Road are not just roads: who knew?

Continuing the Gatensbury Road Story

If you haven’t been following my story about the street I live on, Gatensbury Rd, in Port Moody, BC, you might want to start here and catch up on the issues before you continue reading this post.  Or not.  Hopefully, this post will give you a bit more information.

I certainly learned a lot while doing the research for it!

Setting the Stage

On the FaceBook page dedicated to our road’s issues, Lori’s slide presentation, and during our appearance before council, I kept hearing Gatensbury road referred to as a Collector road.  And I realized I had no idea what they were talking about.  Did that mean that garbage and recycling was collected there?  Did this mean it was valuable and people wanted to keep it for themselves? Was this a government term?

Ok, time to do some research.  So I did a bit of internet “googling” and came up with a whole bunch of interesting information.  I even learned a new word – grubbing – which refers to digging up and removing trees and shrubs and their roots to clear the roadbed when it’s being prepared during layout and construction.  Comes from the verb, to grub, which is derived from those pesky insect larvae, you know, the grubs!  Really, no lie!  I like that name, The Grubs.  Sounds like it should be a new TV show about a down-to-earth family (pun intended).

But I digress.  So what did I learn?

Different Kinds of Roads

I found a document on the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation site that deals with access and design.

And in this subsection of that document:

Road Design and Construction

The Engineering Branch of the Highways Department develops all road construction guidelines. Guidelines for subdivision roads can be found in Chapter 1400 of the Ministries BC Supplement to TAC Geometric Design Guide. Requirements for geotechnical design can be found in the ministries Geotechnical Design Specifications for Subdivisions publication.



Drilling down to the Supplement to TAC…. I found this in the Table of Contents:

Types of Roads

Ah! Now we’re getting somewhere! The 3 designations that are most relevant to the issues we face are the classifications for Arterial/Primary, Collector/Secondary, and Local.

Gatensbury Road is a Collector Road

Here’s the descriptions of the classifications.

1420.02.01 Arterial/Primary
A general term denoting a road primarily for through traffic usually on a continuous route. Direct access to abutting land is not a priority.
1420.02.02 Collector/Secondary
A road that provides for traffic movement between arterials and local streets with some direct access to adjacent property.
1420.02.03 Local
A road primarily for access to residences, businesses, or other abutting property.


So now we have working definitions of the kinds of roads we’re dealing with here.  Let’s keep this information to hand as we take a look at how Gatensbury Road is situated re the issues we face.

A Closer Look

Big Picture map
The Big Picture: 2 Arterials and 4 Collector Roads

If you look at the google map image above, you can see that there are  2 East-West arterial roads, St. Johns Street and Como Lake Avenue. For vehicles to transit North-South between them there are only 4 Collector roads.  Going from West to East they are Clarke, Gatensbury, Moray/Thermal, and Mariner. Here’s a link if you want to see even more detail. Important to note is the fact that both Clarke St and Moray/Thermal have a continuous sidewalk between Como Lake Ave and St Johns St.

If you look at the terrain, you can see why the roads are routed the way they are.  They are the best ways to go, although looking at the map there might be possibilities to link up the Northeast terminus of Harbour Drive or Fresno Place to Terra Vista Place.

Unfortunately, just looking at the map doesn’t really tell me whether the terrain or geological conditions would favour such linkups. But even if it was possible and you did do that, Harbour Drive would not be considered a Collector Road because along most of its length it is a local road with single family homes and a few side streets.  And I suspect many of the residents would strongly resist such a connection.

Ok, back to Gatensbury road.

Zooming in on the map above shows that Gatensbury Road is indeed a Collector/Secondary Road as defined above.

Zoom in map
Port Moody section of Gatensbury Road

Not only that, but according to Google’s Live traffic indications, the traffic on Gatensbury is fast!  That is not so surprising because even though the speed limit along the entire length of Gatensbury Road is posted at 30 km/hour official measurements have the average vehicle speed at 54 km/hour! Think about that for a second.  An average means that some cars go slower and some go faster. What that means is that for every time somebody drives 30 km/hr, someone else has driven the same route at 78 km/hr!!  And make no mistake about it, I have seen cars that are being driven that fast both up and down our road.

Also, you’ll notice that on the lower and Northernmost half, it is designated as a road and on the uppermost and Southernmost half, it is a street. This a minor technicality because that is where the border between Coquitlam and Port Moody lies and in Coquitlam it is named Gatensbury Street.  That does not affect its Collector Road classification.

Evergreen Line Ramifications

One thing I’d like you to take notice of is the train tracks just North of Clarke St.  On Clarke St between Mary St and Grant St is where one of the new skytrain stations for the Evergreen Line is being built.  The Evergreen Line will be operational within the next year or so.  Right now the weekday traffic on Gatensbury averages about 6,000 vehicles per day.  We can only assume that once the Evergreen Line starts operating, traffic on Gatensbury will increase to access the station.

That means more cars, driving rapidly up and down our street and more pedestrians going to and from the skytrain station.  Like I said in my previous post, this is a tragedy in the making.

In Conclusion

Now we all know what a Collector Road is and what purpose it serves. Gatensbury Road is definitely a Collector Road and our citizens use and value it as such.

When we appeared before council (Item 3, fast forward to minute 20:50) , one of the suggestions by Mayor Clay was to change the designation and close the road to traffic or just make it one way, etc.  As I told him there, I think that is too simplistic a solution to just suggest without giving it a bit more study and thought.  It does, however, have some merit and is worth considering.  In the final analysis though, I don’t think this will solve all our problems, just a couple of them.  And it will create others, some of which we can’t even envision at the moment.

I think this is a good place to end this post.  In the next “chapter” of this ongoing story I’d like to delve a bit into local transportation plan history and discuss the recommendations from previous studies and strategy plans.

I hope you’re having as much fun following this story as I am in having in telling it!

Drive safely,



The Day After Christmas – A walk in Belcarra

We needed to get a “Forest Fix” but we didn’t have a lot of time and I was favouring a bit of a achey back so we went for a walk in Belcarra Park to Maple Beach and back.  Here’s a photo from the beach taken with my Nokia N8 and processed to black and white in Lightroom.

Belcarra Maple Beach-1

And here’s “bluesy” shot from a slightly different location on the beach.

Belcarra Maple Beach-2

I liked having the piling as the focal point for the shots.

It was a lovely ramble.

Still Waiting for my Official Results!! aka Why Do I Run the Sun Run?!

Okay, it’s the Vancouver Sun Run, I’ve finished in around an hour according to my personal training watch device and the race was over almost 3 and a half hours ago and they still don’t have my official results up on the website yet!!

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m being sarcastic, but I do know that this is exactly what some folks will be expecting.  Here’s the deal: you get a bib with a chip on it that sends a signal to some home device when you cross the start line and then sends another signal when you cross the finish line.  It’s tied to your bib number which is tied to your name so really, given today’s technology, how hard can it be to have it appear INSTANTLY on some website and be searchable? 

C’mon, folks, there’s over 30,000 runners!  Ummm, that is a bit of a large number to coordinate.  Yet when all is said and done, I really do expect that in a couple more years that is exactly what we will see.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if it also had a photo of you as you cross the finish line ready for instant purchase, both for web only and in hard copy.  That’s just how these things are going nowadays. 

So really, I do expect to be able to get my “chip time” sometime this evening and definitely by tomorrow! 

Now, back to why do I run in this race, originally started and sponsored by the Vancouver Sun, a local newspaper?  And that’s not so simple.  When I started running, a bunch of years back, it was to increase my level of fitness and lose a bit of weight. 

As a child, I had serious problems with asthma- inhalers, the whole shebang, so just being able to run as an adult is a liberating experience.  Anytime I get into a rut or think I should stop running, I remember those times as a kid when I couldn’t do things like play soccer because I would “wheeze out” and have to stop, pull out my inhaler and wait for the drugs to kick in so I could breathe easily again.  That memory re-motivates, invigorates me and gets me out of that rut, instantly! 

But that’s just running in general.  Why do I run the Sun Run?  I have to admit that for years, I poo pooed all the folks that ran the Sun Run.  I thought to myself, who is crazy enough to want to run in a crowd of 30,000+ runners?!!  Part of my joy of running was and still is, the solo aspect of it, where I just get to be with myself and the experience of feeling the road under my feet, and watch the landscape pass by.  That’s all energizing and wonderful, but over the years, another side of me has been emerging: the social side.  The part that wants to be with other people doing and sharing things together that we all like.

For running, that started to come out seriously when I started running with my best friend.  He was a former marathon runner and although he’s quite a bit taller than me and a decade older, our paces were well matched and as we started running together and training for half and full marathons, I began to experience the joy of running with another person.  Especially on the long slow runs you do to build up your endurance for the long distance races; marathons, half marathons and ultras.  It was enjoyable to run and talk about stuff.  We also had quiet times together, where neither of us needed to say anything, and that was fine, too.  

So a bunch of years back (6 or 7), I suggested that we try the Sun Run.  He agreed and the rest is history. I wouldn’t miss it for the anything, now! 

Yes, I piss and moan during the race about how long you have to wait around in crowds before you start, that make you feel like just another sardine, of people just stopping in front of you when their interval timer goes off, of walkers taking up half the road, of being bumped by runners from behind, of bumping people in front of me, of running in the pouring rain, of running when it’s too hot, and all that stupid stuff. 

Yup, in spite of all that, I love it!  Absolutely love it!  All the positive energy, all the different ages, all the high energy music at the start and from bands stationed along the way, all the people watching along the sidelines cheering you on and just being with all those other thousands of people doing crazy, fun stuff.  The guys that wear the banana suits, the guys that were running with nothing on but a pair of briefs with an adverstising message tatooed all over their bodies, with the team that was wearing hats with antlers, with the team of mostly girls whose shirts had printed on the back “Your pace or mine” and the list goes on. 

You don’t get that when you run by yourself! And you wouldn’t want it then, but I always come back from the Sun Run energized and with another great t-shirt to wear for the next few years.  Maybe underneath it all, I just do it for the great t-shirts, LOL!  NOOOOTTTTT!!!!

I also remember my first run thinking, why are people throwing all those clothes off to the side of the course.  They’ll never get them back!  And then I was told, the clothing was picked up by run volunteers and given to those who are less fortunate.  I was astounded and amazed.  It wasn’t just for fun, it also gave back to the community!  Since then, I always wear a piece of gear or clothing that I’m not using anymore that someone else could be using and discard it as I start the race.  I like that better than joining a team and fund raising.  I’m not very good at fund raising.  Did that once and didn’t really like it. 

So for those of you who have never experienced anything like the Sun Run in your hometown, here’s a couple of pics to give you a feel for this event. 

Waiting to enter the wave start.


In the wave crowd and moving toward the start. It’s the multicoloured balloons


Get ready to run!!!!!


Just passed the finish line.
Stretching and watching all the people stream out of the finish line area

Sorry, no pictures during the run.  Too focused on running!  Had a really good pace and time 🙂

Maybe you should start a Sun Run in your community!  You don’t need a newspaper to name it after.  We do ours the last Sun-day in April (more sun puns there).  Think about it.  Community doesn’t just happen, it has to be envisioned and then put into practice.  In a small way, this is putting community into practice. 

check it out.