New longboarding strategy for Chilliwack is a compromise

Longboarding will be prohibited on Elk View Road, Teskey Way, Promontory, and Weeden Drive

Nick Hurley promotes safe longboarding to kids through workshops. The city has devised a new strategy to balance the needs of longboarders and the community.

Nick Hurley promotes safe longboarding to kids through workshops. The city has devised a new strategy to balance the needs of longboarders and the community.

When longboarders coast down a steep and curvy road in Chilliwack, things can get a little tricky.

If they stick to the bike lane or side of the road, it’s usually ok.

When they commandeer the entire width of the road, with riders two and three abreast, complaints start coming into city hall from angry citizens.

A new strategy seeks to strike a balance between the needs of recreational longboarders, and those of the rest of the community.

Coun. Chuck Stam, also TAC chair, said in coming up with the new approach, they tried to stay “sensitive” to the needs of local youth and the longboarding community. So while they still want to encourage healthy, active lifestyles, it has to be balanced with respect for all road users.

Arterial and collector roads, which are the most heavily used and where traffic cannot be impeded, will see recreational longboarding prohibited in Chilliwack. That means they won’t be able to weave down roads like: Elk View Road, Teskey Way, Promontory, and Weeden Drive.

In each hillside neighbourhood in Chilliwack, the plan is to allow at least one residential road where longboarders will be allowed to do their thing. They’ll use criteria like grade, visibility, and width, when determining on which streets they’ll permit the practice.

Chartwell Drive is one example where they’ve decided to allow longboarding, based on the criteria.

“Council would be remiss if we did not say that we have a concern about safety,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “Kids often feel invincible — but they’re not.”

The new longboarding strategy will help keep everyone safer, she said.

Coun. Jason Lum agreed the approach taken by Chilliwack on this was a balanced one.

“I’m glad to see we’re not taking a heavy-handed approach,” he said, referring to the total ban being considered by Coquitlam.

Recreational longboarding is characterized by a type of downhill boarding with multiple trips, and multiple riders, as well as high rates of speed. It’s contrasted with a type of solo longboarding used more for direct transportation and commuting. Longboards are wider and longer than skateboards, with larger wheels.

It’s a complaint-driven process, and no changes were made to any bylaws. If a resident makes a complaint, city staff will evaluate the road, using the new criteria, and determine if it’s permitted or prohibited.

Snappy new signage will go up to clearly show where longboarding is allowed, as well as where it is not.

Unlike in West Vancouver and North Vancouver, where crashes and accidents are often in the news, the sport has not posed significant problems in Chilliwack. The RCMP had nine related complaints in 2012 and 2013, all of them from residents concerned about risky practices. All were the result of longboarding on hillside roads like Sylvan, Prest, Weeden, Elk View, and Chartwell.

The RCMP reported one incident of a collision involving a longboarder in Chilliwack. On May 25, 2013, a 25-year-old longboarder cut in front of a car at the Evans roundabout, disrespecting traffic regulations, according to RCMP. He was hit, and suffered minor injuries from which he recovered. But there has never been a longboarding fatality in the community, said CBC safety coordinator Mike Weightman, to his knowledge.

City officials took the position a couple of years ago not to outright prohibit the practice of downhill longboarding in Chilliwack. But when months of education efforts failed to stop the complaints coming in, they had to try something new. In response, the longboarding strategy was created with a mechanism to evaluate where to allow or prohibit this type of boarding.

“I think we would entertain a proposal in future from the recreational longboarders if they wanted to close off a road for a sanctioned event,” Stam said at the meeting. “I think we would be open to hearing that.”

A report for information was received at the Tuesday council meeting, by Rod Sanderson, manager of Transportation and Drainage, and council also approved the recommendations from the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) which detailed the new strategy.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

 

Just Posted

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Folks look through some of the items for sale during the Voice of Hope giant garage sale at 7350 Barrow Rd. in Chilliwack on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Giant garage sale today in Chilliwack supports Kenyan widows, orphans

Funds go to Chilliwack-based Voice of Hope charity to improve quality of life for impoverished Kenyans

Ben Holwerda of the Chilliwack Spartan Swim Club competes in a swim meet at the Landing Leisure Centre on Feb. 12, 2011. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre to close temporarily for scheduled maintenance

Pools, steam room, and sauna at Landing Leisure Centre closing for maintenance July 19 to Sep. 4

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read