The City of Surrey has been working on a new neighbourhood plan for West Clayton. This area is bounded by Fraser Highway to the south, the Agricultural Land Reserve to the west and north, and the current Clayton neighbourhood to the east.
Looking over the plan, it seems that the City of Surrey is trying some new ways of building the transportation network in the area.
Previously main roads, like 72nd Avenue in Clayton, would not be widened to its full width until traffic levels warranted it. New development would be built to the edge of the future width, usually resulting in gravel areas between the development and the current road. These gravel areas became informal parking lots.
When the City of Surrey got around to widening the road, residents of the area would become very, very, very upset as the parking would go away. Sometimes it could take a years, or even a decade, before these main roads would be widened. Taking away something people have been using for free, for a long time, is never an easy thing to do. The Township of Langley has also had the same issue.
The smart planners at Surrey have come up with the “Interim Arterial Road Standard” to address this. This standard will provide sidewalks, bike lanes, streetlights, and street trees in a similar configuration as the ultimate built-out road, but without the extra lanes. The planners at Surrey have also made sure that features such as ditches, swales, and grass are kept or introduced. Combined with curbs and likely signage, this should prevent the creation of informal parking lots.
|Surrey's new Interim Arterial Road Standard. Select image to enlarge.|
One of the other good features of the West Clayton plan is the inclusion of a multi-use path network. This network will run both on the side of streets and off-street, providing a safe way for people to walk or bike around the community. When LRT is built along Fraser Highway, it will allow people to get to an LRT station using active transportation modes safely.
|West Clayton proposed greenway and cycling network. Select map to enlarge.|
While there are other good things about the West Clayton neighbourhood plan, these two new transportation features will have a profound effect on the livability of this new neighbourhood.
While riding on the street should be optional, as people can ride on multi-use paths, my concern about the plan is that on streets where there is parking, the bike lanes are not buffered by the parking. The order should be sidewalk, bike lane, parking, thru lane. This will improve the perception of safety for cyclist, encouraging more cycling.
|A street with parking and bike lanes, a proposed 184th Street between 70th and 71 A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.|
This plan is not yet adopted.