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'Unpredictable' morning rush hour near YVR frustrates commuters

Motorists jumping the queue to get on Arthur Laing Bridge cause further traffic delays: Richmond driver

A Richmond parent’s 30-minute morning commute on Russ Baker Way has more than doubled in time due to drivers ignoring merge rules and using the wrong lanes.

Grace Lin, who drives along Russ Baker Way every day to drop her daughter off at school, is struggling to make it in time even though she leaves the house with more than an hour to spare.

“The other day, we left home at 7:20 a.m. and her school starts at 8:45 a.m. By the time I’m approaching the school, there’s only two to three minutes left,” said Lin.

She ended up having to drive through a back lane so her daughter could run in from the school’s side door.

Lin told the Richmond News she began to notice the traffic problem a few months ago.

“All of a sudden, after the summer holiday, it’s become unpredictable. Because so many cars tried to cut into the line, sometimes it would take one hour, sometimes it would take even longer,” she explained.

Lin told the News there are four types of traffic violations she sees that contribute to the delays.

Cars on No. 2 and Gilbert roads choose to breeze through the right-turn-only lane by BCIT and merge back into traffic, cutting in front of cars queuing on Russ Baker Way.

Other cars turning right from Gilbert Road onto Russ Baker Way choose to drive through the BCIT parking lot to jump the queue on Russ Baker Way.

Meanwhile, cars taking the farthest-right lane on Russ Baker Way toward the McArthurGlen Outlet would re-enter Russ Baker Way after passing Miller Road in order to merge into Grant McConachie Way, causing further delays to traffic.

Lin added that solo drivers also take the HOV lane to jump the queue, causing further frustration to others on the road.

“Adding the above four situations together, what I observed is that it takes about 15 to 30 minutes for vehicles that obey traffic rules (to) enter Russ Baker Way from No. 2 Road and Gilbert Road to get onto the Arthur Laing Bridge,” she said.

Almost 700 crashes in five years

The News reported on two crashes on Russ Baker Way last week alone that caused delays to the Monday morning commute.

Traffic was then backed up again due to a crash on the Grant McConachie Way off-ramp from Arthur Laing Bridge a few hours later on the same day.

Last year, a motorcyclist passed away after colliding with a transport bus on Russ Baker Way and Inglis Drive.

According to ICBC data, almost 700 crashes were recorded along Russ Baker Way between 2018 and 2022.

A total of 235 crashes were recorded at the intersection of Miller Road and Russ Baker Way — the highest number of crashes in the area.

The intersection of Bridgeport Road and Sea Island Way, just north of Miller Road, has the second-highest number of crashes with 158 recorded.

Gilbert Road and Russ Baker Way is the third most problematic intersection, with 126 crashes recorded at the intersection between 2018 and 2022.

Lin thinks some of the frustration could be reduced if morning commutes in the area were more predictable.

“Everyone’s time in the morning is precious, and we should call on everyone to abide by the rules and create a fair and predictable traffic environment,” she said.

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