|View of proposed Tim Hortons from Douglas Crescent.|
Several years ago the City of Langley realigned 203rd Street, creating a new interaction at 56 Avenue, Douglas Crescent, and 203rd Street. Because of the realignment, an odd shaped parcel of land was created. This piece of land has sat vacant for many year, but now may be the home to a new drive-thru Tim Hortons.
The good news about this project is that the buildings best features front Douglas Crescent which helps with the City’s goal of transforming Douglas Crescent into a pedestrian street. The entrances to the store also front both 203rd Street and Douglas Crescent. The challenge with this project is that around 50% of the street frontage of both Douglas Crescent and 203rd Street is parking lot/drive-thru.
|Site plan for proposed Tim Hortons. Click image to enlarge.|
One of the City of Langley’s stated goals is to create a pedestrian-oriented downtown core. In order to create a pedestrian-oriented downtown core, the pedestrian environment has to be inviting. As I’ve posted many times, blank walls, drive-thrus, and parking lots all diminish the public realm. As the City wants build a storefront wall along Douglas Crescent, the Tim Hortons parking lot and drive-thru will limit this vision. On 203rd Street, pedestrians will be subject to idling vehicles as there is only a thin strip of landscaping between the sidewalk and the drive-thru. While this proposed Tim Hortons will created a pedestrian-friendly corner at 203rd and Douglas Crescent, the majority of street frontage will be parking lot or drive-thru.
The City of Langley has grown slower than other municipalities in Metro Vancouver. I wonder at times if this slower rate of development sometimes makes Council feel obligated to approve any new development proposal. Does it make sense to approve a project that is OK today, if it will prevent a great project from being built in five years time on the same site?
If the City of Langley truly wants to build a pedestrian-oriented downtown, Council will have to seriously reconsider its parking lot and drive-thru policies. Because since I’ve lived in Langley City, parking lots have been created in Downtown Langley at the expense of creating a quality, pedestrian-first public realm.