At tonight’s Township of Langley Council Meeting, staff will be submitting a report on the progress of the Township’s Ultimate Cycling Network. As a member of the Greater Langley Cycling Coalition, I’ve been following this process for a few years and I’m pleased to see that this network represents the wishes of the cycling community in Langley. One of the major additions to this plan is the inclusion of Zero Avenue and 248 Street as these routes are heavily used by sports/recreational cyclist. One of the challenging areas for cycling in the Township is Walnut Grove as 96th Avenue will be the only road with bike lanes. 88th Avenue has a wide-curb lane designation, but the high-speed of traffic will likely discourage cycling on that route.
All totalled, the plan is set to cost 70 million 2012 dollars and doesn’t include the cost of land acquisition and utility work. While I’m truly proud of the work the Township has done on cycling planning, the major issue is the lack of funding to make this plan a reality. With the current funding level for cycling, I will be dead before this plan is complete. Many would cite the “lack” of cycling as a reason for not putting a priority on cycling in the Township, even while the rural areas of the Township are a major destination of recreational cyclist. The major challenge is that in urban areas, the cycling network is disconnected. Until there are well marked and continuous routes, cycling will not increase dramatically in urban Langley. If the Township invested $1m a years in cycling, it would be able to get matching funds from TransLink and the Province which would certainly get this plan on the ground. It would also be interesting to see if this could be bundled in with horse community funding to provide both horse and cyclist friendly routes. I know that all things cost money and results in taxes; it was interesting to note that 68% of people at the open house support paying more taxes to improve cycling in the Township.
The Township of Langley will now be working on developing a 2012 cycling map to show existing cycling routes that are signed and marked, and then work on a 5-year plan for implement parts of the ultimate cycling plan.
You can follow the link to the Township's Afternoon Agenda Package, cycling maps start on page 114.