Sunday, June 14th 2009 marks the day that people from around Metro Vancouver got to walk across the newest bridge connecting Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge to Langley. What people didn’t realize is that well over the expected 30,000 showed up. Some numbers I have read recently this morning have been that 60,000 people showed up and eventually the Traffic Authority had to turn people away.
Robyn, myself, my little sister and my mum ventured to the Golden Ears Bridge at 11:00AM and joined the slowly increasing mass amounts of people on the bridge deck. The Traffic Authority had one side of the bridge closed off for bus, media and and event people access, which forced people to funnel up the one side of the bridge to the mid span.
I thought it was pretty cool to walk over with the mass crowd towards Langley from the Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge side. There were various food and drink vendors along the way as well as various organizations such as Scouts, Beavers, and Vintage Car clubs too. A large stage was set up near the mid span to offer some entertainment from the massive crowd that began to slow foot traffic down.
We walked about 3/4 of the way over the bridge and decided to turn around and head back. The amount of people on the bridge seemed to have doubled if not triple as we made our way back towards Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
I stopped to take photos of the Brazilian entertainment and people were pretty much at a standstill at this point. People were pushing, shoving which were making it harder for people to move across the bridge. The people around me were getting upset at the pushing and shoving as we tried to make our way back down the bridge, of course people were also trying to still get up on the bridge too. No control, just mass chaos.
We all got separated as the mass crowd pushed and shoved itself around. I eventually caught back up with Robyn near the end of the bridge where the crowd thinned out. My mum and little sister were waiting for us near the car. The Police and Traffic Authority at that time were telling people that they were not allowed on the bridge due to the large amount already on it. That definitely did not make more happy parents trying to do something fun with their children, but then again, children were also being pushed and shoved around on the bridge deck. The sun was also coming out and people were complaining about not moving and becoming overheated.
It wasn’t as spectacular of an event as I thought it might have been, and we are glad we didn’t venture all the way over to Langley either. We would have been stuck somewhere among the 60,000 or so people that were stuck on the bridge and not moving.
The bridge is toll free starting June 16th for 1 month, after that you will have to pay Toll to cross either way. On Wednesday I will drive across the bridge on my way into work as it should save me a great deal of time, though on the way home, it will be a nuisance due to traffic congestion near 152nd street in Surrey. It will definitely be neat driving over the new bridge though, but I will not be driving over it when the Toll goes into effect.
Did you manage to walk onto the bridge on Sunday or did you participate in one of the many Car Free Days that were happening around Vancouver?
Other photos from the Golden Ears Bridge event can be seen on my Flickr Photoset.
Filed under: Local News
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