In July, the City of Langley received $1.45 million from the federal government and $1.45 million from the provincial government to upgrade the 203rd Street bridge over the Nicomekl River. The funding will also be used to replace the traffic light at 203rd Street and 53rd Avenue with a roundabout.
As part of the bridge upgrade, it will be widen by about 3.3 meters. This will support the installation of 2.5 meter wide multi-use pathways on both sides of 203rd Street, plus 1.7 meter shoulder bike lanes, between 203 Street and 53 Avenue.
203rd Street is a key multi-modal corridor for Langley as it connects to the Township of Langley’s cycling and trail network, Downtown Langley, the Nicomekl Floodplain Trail System, the Power Line Trail System, and schools. It is already a popular route for cycling and walking, and has a wide enough right-of-way to support all modes of travel, plus parking, comfortably.
One of the key ways to encourage cycling is by providing protected bike lanes. I enquired with City Hall if the 203rd Street project would include protected bike lanes earlier this summer, and was told no. As the following illustration from the City of Calgary shows, in order for the majority of people to consider cycling, they cannot share the road with motor vehicles due to safety concerns.
|From the City of Calgary's Centre City Cycle Track Network Development and Recommendation Report. Select graphic to enlarge.|
At the last City of Langley Parks and Environment Advisory Committee meeting, I presented on why improving cycling infrastructure is important along 203rd Street. As part of the presentation, I showed the following illustration of what protected bike lanes could look like on the section of 203rd Street between 53rd Avenue and the Nicomekl River Bridge.
|Illustration of what protected bike lanes could look like between 203rd Street and the Nicomekl River bridge. Looking south. Illustration by Tristan Miller. Select illustration to enlarge.|
I asked the Committee to consider the following motion which they passed:
Whereas off-street paths, trails, and on-street protected bike lanes provide a safe and inviting space for the majority of Langley citizens to cycle;
Whereas unprotected bike lanes only encourage a small percentage of the population to cycle;
Whereas cycling along 203rd Street would improve access to our park system;
Whereas cycling supports the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Master Plan, Sustainability Strategy, Community Energy and Emissions Sustainability Plan, and Climate Action Charter;
Now Therefore May It Be Resolved that the Parks and Environment Advisory Committee recommend that protected bike lanes be integrated into roadway reconstruction projects along the 203rd Street corridor.
While the section of 203rd Street being upgraded is small, if safe walking and cycling infrastructure is endorsed by Council and built by the City, it could be a model for the rest of the corridor.