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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Nov. 30, 2023

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Speed ‘humps’ installed at The Waterfront Vancouver to curb racing, other dangerous activity

People who work along Waterfront Way describe close calls for drivers, pedestrians

By , Columbian staff writer
3 Photos
Kyree Amusa, who works at The Yard Milkshake Bar, often sees cars racing down Waterfront Way traveling around 60 mph. A new series of speed bumps aims to stop that.
Kyree Amusa, who works at The Yard Milkshake Bar, often sees cars racing down Waterfront Way traveling around 60 mph. A new series of speed bumps aims to stop that. (Photos by Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Nearly every night at around 10 p.m., Kyree Amusa, who works at The Yard Milkshake Bar, sees cars racing down The Waterfront Vancouver’s road, sometimes traveling around 60 mph.

“We’ll just see tons of them every single night,” he said.

To combat the growing problem of street racing at The Waterfront Vancouver, the city of Vancouver two weeks ago installed speed humps on Waterfront Way in front of businesses including Kafiex, The Yard, Brian Carter Cellars and the soon-to-open Hotel Indigo.

“We’ve taken the fun out of it,” said Ryan Lopossa, Vancouver Public Works transportation and streets manager. “A lot of these cars have really low ground clearance, and so they really have to go extra slow over those to make sure they don’t scrape their bottoms.”

The street-racing problem also is evident by the circled tire streaks that stain the road on Waterfront Way from cars doing “doughnuts.”

Lopossa chalks the problem to younger drivers wanting to show off and get noticed, and he didn’t expect The Waterfront Vancouver to have this street-racing appeal to them.

“The lanes are about as narrow as can be, and we designed it around the idea of a slow-speed environment,” said Lopossa. “We just never thought it would be so attractive for street racers.”

Although Lopossa said he is unaware of any vehicular accidents involving pedestrians or bikers, Erek Watson, who also works at The Yard, said he’s seen many close calls.

“The amount of near accidents that I’ve seen — people having to slam on the brakes, people having to jump back on the sidewalk — is pretty ridiculous,” said Watson.

The combination of construction, the density of people, narrow roads, blind spots and street racing creates a dangerous environment, he said.

The Vancouver Police Department is also fighting the problem by issuing citations and making arrests at The Waterfront Vancouver.

During a waterfront-area traffic emphasis by the Vancouver Police Department in the last weekend of August, officers issued 81 parking warnings, 51 parking citations, towed 11 vehicles, gave 41 tickets and made 10 arrests ranging from driving under the influence to driving on a suspended license.

If the speed humps, also called tables, don’t quell reckless driving, the roundabout at the east end of Waterfront Way, a frequent target of doughnuts, might be altered.

“We love the waterfront. We hope folks continue to come down there,” Lopossa said. “We just want folks to respect the existing landscape there.”

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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