One of the things that I’ve been noticing about commercial development proposals in the City of Langley lately is that walkability is often an afterthought. This is odd considering that Langley City is a compact community and walkability is a key component of the City’s Master Transportation Plan which speaks to “[enhancing] the walkability of areas with high pedestrian demand, such as the Downtown, commercial areas, industrial areas, and around schools.”
The southwest corner of 200th Street and 56th Avenue was the site of a former Husky gas station, and is now an empty lot.
At tonight’s Council Meeting, a developer is proposing to build a new 7-Eleven plus gas station at the site.
|Proposed site plan for 7-Eleven. Non-vehicle access is only provided from 56th Avenue via painted hashed lines through the gas bar. Select image to enlarge.|
One of the challenges with the plan is that the 7-Eleven is located in the back corner of the lot. The developer has put minimal thought in how the store can be comfortably and safely accessed by walking. This proposal would not be allowed in Surrey or the Township of Langley. Surrey and the Township have very specific guidelines on how gas stations can be developed.
For example, Surrey’s Official Community Plan states that “other types of paving (e.g. contrasting texture and color) to identify customer parking area, gas pump area and pedestrian routes from the sidewalk to the commercial store” should be part of a design proposal.
As there is a opportunity for public input at tonight’s City of Langley Council Meeting, I have drafted a letter as follows:
Re: Development Permit No. 07-15
Dear Mayor and Members of City Council,
The proposed 7-Eleven at the intersection of 56th Avenue and 200th Street will provide a convenient location for residents to walk or cycle to, and pick up quickly needed items.
As the neighbourhood that the proposed 7-Eleven is located in is primarily a multi-family housing area, walking and cycling are key modes of transportation.
The current "painted line" access for people walking or cycling to the proposed 7-Eleven is not safe or inviting. In fact, it treats walking and cycling as second-class modes of travel.
To improve the proposed 7-Eleven project for all people accessing the store by all modes, 1.5 meter wide sidewalks should connect 200th, 56th, and the entrance of the 7-Eleven. These sidewalks should include pedestrian-scale lighting along the sidewalks. This will ensure that people can safely and comfortably access the proposed 7-Eleven, whether by walking, cycling or driving.
Thank you for the chance to provide feedback on the betterment of our community.