The Township of Langley has been working on a comprehensive cycling plan for many years. In 2012, the Township completed its Ultimate Cycling Network which outlines the long-term vision for bike lanes, trails, and other cycling infrastructure. In the spring of 2014, Township staff requested an increase of funding for the Ultimate Cycling Network (from $160,000 to $280,000), but that funding request was denied by the former Township Council.
About a year later, the Township of Langley has now completed a draft of its comprehensive cycling plan. This plan builds upon the Township’s Ultimate Cycling Network.
The cycling plan provides a detailed overview of the public consultation process that lead to the creation of the plan. The plan also outlines the types of cyclists in Langley, recognizing that the community is a sports cycling destination due to the “relatively low [traffic] volume road and the scenic rural environment of the Township.”
The Township builds cycling infrastructure into new roads projects, and when doing major upgrades to existing roads. While this is the most cost-effective way to build cycling infrastructure, it leaves large gaps in the network. Like any transportation network, having gaps greatly limits a networks usefulness. Township staff recognize that dedicated funding will be required to fill-in these gaps.
When it comes to driving, parking in actually one of the most important requirements. Cars remain parked about 90% of the time. Township staff recognized the need for parking and the requirement for showers, change rooms, and storage lockers for people that would like to cycle to work.
Township staff is proposing a update to the parking bylaw “where 30 or more parking spaces for vehicles are required, bicycle spaces and bicycle storage shall be provided for new non-residential developments and for multiple unit residential buildings.” The proposed bylaw is based on the City of Surrey bicycle parking bylaw, and requires that bicycle parking be conveniently located.
|Proposed bicycle parking requirements.|
While building cycling infrastructure is important, maintaining existing infrastructure is also key. One of the important things that the Township must do is make sure that cycling lanes and paths are clear of debris. Currently, cycling routes in the Township are sweep at least four times per year. Aerial roads are swept by-weekly for cars, and Township staff is proposing to include cycling lanes on arterials in the by-weekly sweeping.
While it doesn’t snow often in the Township of Langley, when it does, cyclist may find themselves in a pickle due to “limited winter maintenance budget, snow plowing service will not be provided on cycling routes in the Township.” Just as an incomplete network isn’t very useful for the majority of people, an network that is only available part of the year will limit cycling growth in the Township. As the Township builds-out its cycling network, its winter maintenance policy will need to be reevaluated.
The Township's Ultimate Cycling Network will cost $80 million to complete, and will included 361km of on-street routes and 158km of off-street routes.
|Township of Langley's Short-Term Cycling Infrastructure Plan. Select map to enlarge.|
Currently, TransLink is funding half of the $160,000 that the Township spends on cycling specific infrastructure. Based on the current funding levels, the Township Ultimate Cycling Network will be completed in about 500 years. Township staff has prepared a short-term plan for the 2018/2022 timeframe. While the former Township Council denied increasing cycling funding to $280,000, will the new council show leadership? By increasing funding, the short-term plan can be completed by 2018.