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Toll evaders taking over New Westminster

Last Updated Jan 19, 2016 at 9:53 pm PST

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NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130)  — Another Greater Vancouver city seems to be losing a battle with commuters from surrounding communities.  People in New Westminster say their core streets are being overrun with drivers who are trying to save a few dollars by avoiding tolls.

City Councillor Chuck Puchmayr says thousands of cars are funneling through New Westminster everyday to get to the Pattullo Bridge, but roads leading up to it become jam packed. He says that leaves Royal Avenue to get the brunt of illegal U-turns, and parking lot turnarounds.

“A police car can just sit there and pick them off one after another,” Puchmayr says.

“It’s clearly madness of people trying to save money and use a toll-free alternative to the Port Mann Bridge and it’s put about 20,000 extra vehicles into the core of New Westminster daily.”

Puchmayr says this is the number one issue for the city every year with almost 500,000 cars per weekday running through the city.

“You have cars that could clearly jump on the freeway in Vancouver and be out in Langley in record time, but yet making the conscious decision to divert through New Westminster.”

While the debate continues on whether tolling more bridges could be brought in to even out traffic, Puchmayr says he would also like to see better driving alternatives to connect surrounding communities.

“You can imagine once the new Deas Island crossing is built, a 10-lane toll bridge over the Fraser River, then your toll-free alternatives will be right in the metropolis of Delta, Burnaby, New Westminster.”