Blank cement walls, windowless buildings, and parking lots that abut streets are sure-fire ways to discourage people from walking, and is detrimental to creating a pedestrian-friendly community.
The City of Langley’s plan for Downtown Langley is to see it transformed into a pedestrian-friendly centre. Part of this pedestrianization plan around the Langley Mall, along Douglas Crescent, is to build up a street wall of shops to create a sense-of-place.
Now the City of Langley created an odd parcel of land when they realigned 203rd Street a few years back. This parcel set vacant until this spring, when a new drive-thru Tim Hortons opened. Council didn’t require Tim Hortons to fully embrace the pedestrian-friendly vision of Downtown Langley. I was told that many on council felt that a drive-thru Tim Hortons would likely be the best thing that would ever be proposed for this parcel of land in the near-term, and it was better than nothing.
|Decorative shield meant to hide parking lot from the street. This is an attempt to enhance the pedestrian-friendliness of the public realm.|
|Tim Hortons removed the shield because it was blocking the Langley Mall sign.|
Regardless, one of the things that the City and Council did requires was landscaping in an attempt to mitigate the pedestrian-friendly, public-realm killing parking lot along Douglas Crescent. As part of the landscaping and the development permit, Tim Hortons installed decorated shields. This Tim Hortons has only been in business for a few months, and I was a bit shocked to see that they removed one of the decorated shields; apparently it was getting in the way of the auto-oriented “Langley Mall” sign.
While using landscaping and decorated shields might not be the most effective way to create a pedestrian-friendly environment, it is certainly better than nothing. It seems a bit dishonest that Tim Hortons would install these things to get development approval, then remove one decorative shield only after a few months of being opened.