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City response to concerns about increased Rail Traffic

October 31, 2017
 
Strathcona Residents Association
601 Keefer Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 3V8
 
Dear Resident: Strathcona Community
 

RE:   

 BURRARD INLET RAIL LINE

 
Due to the increase in rail activity as of January 2017 this year, the City has been actively working with Canadian National Rail to address safety concerns at grade crossings along the Burrard Inlet Line (BI-Line) and surrounding Strathcona neighborhood. Previously, CN Rail had been entering Port Metro Vancouver from Port Coquitlam along the South Shore Line. However, due to an increase in demand at Port Metro they now require use of the BI-Line to enter Vancouver along the Grandview Cut. 
 
The City has been in discussions with CN respecting livability, safety and added congestion on city streets and neighborhoods. However, the rail authorities’ 24hr operations are outside of City jurisdiction. CN Rail is a federally regulated entity and as such must follow guidelines set out by Transport Canada. Subsequently, the rail authority is not subject to municipal noise bylaws. 
 
For information related to complaints about rail noise and vibration please visit Transport Canada’s website: https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/complaints-about-rail-noise-and-vibration
 
Help CN to properly record your concerns as well by sending your comments to the CN Public Inquiry Line at contact@cn.ca or 1-888-888-5909 and reference the “Grandview Cut/BI Line”.
 
Current Rail Crossing Safety and Enhancement Projects
 
We have installed a train presence monitoring device at Prior-Venables to track the frequency/duration of trains and conducted traffic counts in the neighbourhood to understand the impacts. We recognize that motorists may be shortcutting through the neighbourhood to avoid queuing at this rail crossing as a result of the increased train activity. The City is actively working to reduce these impacts and improve the safety and livability of the Strathcona community, including:

  • Applying for funding to develop a real-time system to alert motorists well in advance of the Prior/Venables rail crossing, which would reduce shortcutting in the neighbourhood by encouraging upstream motorists to use Clark Drive, Main Street, and other arterials to access the overpasses at Hastings Street and Terminal Avenue.
  • Applying for funding to rehabilitate sidewalks, upgrade railway warning devices, and improve pavement markings and signage at existing rail crossings along the BI-Line.
  • Developing an educational campaign in partnership with Operation Lifesaver (www.operationlifesaver.ca) to increase public awareness of safety at rail crossings.

 
Vancouver is Canada’s gateway for Asia Pacific Trade. The railway is extremely important for delivering goods to the rest of Canada and North America. However, we recognize that residents’ concerns need to be balanced with the needs of rail companies and the Port of Vancouver. We are aware of the impacts felt by your neighbourhood and are taking steps to mitigate them the best we can at this time.
 
For questions regarding rail related projects mentioned above, please send your inquiry through the SRA’s online contact http://strathcona-residents.org/contact . They will be compiling content for further discussion with the City. 
 
 
Kind regards,
 
 
Erica Sullivan
Engineering Services
City of Vancouver