Back in September of 2015, I posted about the development permit for the 7-Eleven gas station that is now at the corner of 200th Street and 56th Avenue. The original design of the project had poor walking access to the store, and was even missing bike racks. People were expected to walk across the busy gas bar area, putting them in conflict with people driving.
|Original site plan for 7-Eleven. Non-vehicle access was only to be provided from 56th Avenue via painted hashed lines through the gas bar. Select image to enlarge.|
As you can read in my previous post, council requested that the developer include sidewalks from both 56th Avenue and 200th Street. The bike rack oversight was also corrected.
Recently, I snapped a few pictures of the walking access to the new 7-Eleven store.
|Sidewalk from 200th Street to 7-Eleven. Select image to enlarge.|
|Sidewalk from 56th Avenue to 7-Eleven. Select image to enlarge.|
Why is pedestrian access important? It is all about location. The area bound by 196th Street, 56th Avenue, 200th Street, and 53rd Avenue is where a significant amount of redevelopment in Langley City is occurring. Older single-family housing is being replaced with town houses and apartments. This area of Langley is about a 15-minute walk from Downtown Langley. Most people’s maximum walking time to a destination is 10 minutes.
This means that this area is too far from Downtown Langley for most people to choose to walk to the grocery stores or other amenities in our core. People will choose to drive to access a shop, even if only for a jug of milk. By having a walking-accessible shop nearby, some of the driving trip will turn into walking trips. This is better for people’s health and reduces traffic.
While the 7-Eleven at the corner of 200th Street and 56th Avenue clearly prioritizes auto access, the included sidewalks provide safe access to the convenience store. They support walking access to basic items in an area where driving would otherwise be the preferred mode of travel to access all necessities.
As Langley City's all ages and abilities cycling network is built-out, people in this area will also have the option to cycle to Downtown Langley though that is a topic for a future post.