|New Tim Hortons under construction at 203rd Street and Douglas Crescent|
If you’ve been in Downtown Langley recently, you’ve likely noticed the construction of a new Tim Hortons on the corner of Douglas Crescent and 203rd Street. The site of this new Tim Hortons was created when the City of Langley realigned 203rd Street a few years back.
Wanting to know some information about the history of the site, I talked to a former City Councillor.
One of the things that I was surprised to learn was that one of the original plans for that site was for it to become park space, with a feature to draw the eye. This would have been great.
|View of Tim Hortons, looking north on 203rd Street|
With the way that 203rd Street is now align, you can see the Tim Hortons site at least half a kilometer away if you are heading northbound on 203rd Street. This is an important site and is a prominent feature of 203rd Street. From a public realm and landscape architecture perspective, this site should have had special treatment.
I was told by the former City Councillor that the park idea was not supported in the end because it was believed that selling the land for development was more important than creating much needed green space in Langley’s core.
While creating a park or plaza at the corner of 203rd and Douglas Crescent was a great idea, it would have been equally ideal if the site featured a building fitting of such a prominent intersection in Downtown Langley; a building that would support a walkable downtown.
The City of Langley’s Downtown Master Plan focuses on creating a walkable core. As part of that vision, the City of Langley wants to create a storefront wall along Douglas Crescent, between 203rd and 204th Street. Right now, this section of street is the parking lot for the Langley Mall.
With this in mind, I was extremely disappointed that City Council approved the construction of a drive-thru fast food restaurant for this site.
I have been following the construction of this new Tim Hortons over the past several months.
As I mentioned earlier, the Tim Hortons site is located on a prominent corner in Downtown Langley. Sadly, when walking, cycling, or driving northbound on 203rd Street, the prominent feature is the drive-thru and back side of Tim Hortons.
|Langley Mall parking lot. Tim Hortons in background|
The City of Langley will not be able to build a complete storefront street wall along Douglas Crescent. The new Tim Hortons’ parking lot and drive-thru uses the vast majority of linear footage along the site.
One of the other things that I find perplexing is that when 203rd Street was realigned, the City blocked southbound vehicular access to Langley Mall citing safety best practices. It is interesting that the City opened up southbound vehicular access to Langley Mall to enable the viability of the drive-thru. This creates a new conflict point, not only for vehicles, but for people walking along 203rd Street.
|City of Langley opened left-turn access to Langley Mall to enable the Tim Hortons drive-thru|
I’m extremely disappointed that the City of Langley spends a good deal of time talking about how building a walkable downtown is important, yet Langley City Council has consistently approved drive-thrus and other commercial development in downtown which work against creating a walkable downtown.