Thursday, March 23, 2023

Langley City Council Set City’s Priorities for the Coming Year

There are two ways that municipal councils can set the direction of cities. One way is through motions proposed by induvial council members, and the other is through adopting strategic plans developed by all council members. In either case, the majority of council must be in favour for them to be in effect. The challenge with using motions is that they are ad-hoc and make it challenging for city staff to know the priority of a motion’s objectives compared to all the other objectives a city has. Most motions also require financial resources and staff time, which can undermine other objectives. For these reasons, strategic plans are the preferred way to move forward on the objectives of a council.

Langley City Council will be working on a five-year rolling strategic plan, but Council wanted to get to work quickly, so we adopted an interim plan for this year. The following are the objectives that Council asked Langley City staff to work on over the next year.

  • Evaluate our financial planning process to ensure that it is not only robust, timely, consultative, and transparent but also takes into account current and long-term strategic priorities as well as capital and operating budget requirements identified under the Official Community Plan, asset management plans, and various long term infrastructure plans;
  • Assess potential risks to the City services and partnerships due to political, economic, social, and environmental changes and uncertainty, thereby being able to develop mitigation plans to offset the risks;
  • Review and update the current Tenant Relocation Policy to provide a suite of reasonable and appropriate housing relocation options that will protect the interest of tenants who will be relocated due to redevelopment;
  • Support the Healthy and Resilient Community Dialogue Series that engages community leaders, provincial agencies, social service groups, community partners, residents and business owners, industry experts, and practitioners to examine homelessness, health, social issues, community safety, and well-being issues affecting our community. Through these conversations, we hope to identify best practices and develop a community action plan that addresses the issues and assists us with community planning decisions; and,
  • Ensure we remain focused on completing previous strategic initiatives such as moving forward with Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Nations, updating our Zoning Bylaw to prepare for SkyTrain, creating a Sustainability Charter & Urban Forest Management Plan to tackle climate change and its impacts, and renewing the Fraser Highway One-Way to replace century-old infrastructure.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

TransLink invests $3.1 million into road, walking, and cycling improvements in Langley City

Glover Road Bike Lanes

Besides transit service, TransLink provides funding to improve and maintain the regional road network and funds active transportation infrastructure to make walking, rolling, and cycling safer and more comfortable.

TransLink has funded significant active transportation projects, including the 203rd Street, Glover Road, and 208th Street bike lanes. TransLink has also funded the Duncan Way multi-use path, Langley Bypass Logan Creek culvert replacement, and bus lanes along Fraser Highway, 203rd Street, and Logan Avenue.

TransLink is funding paving the BC Hydro trail between 53rd Avenue and 200th Street and the Downtown bike lane project, which will start construction soon.

This year, TransLink is investing an additional $3.1 million toward the following projects:

  • Building safer and protected bike lanes on the south side of Michaud Cresent - $1 million
  • Enhancing walking/rolling safety at the Douglas Crescent/203rd Street/56th Avenue intersection - $0.2 million
  • Upgrading the Langley Bypass roadway and active transportation infrastructure (from Fraser Highway to 56th Avenue)* - $1.1 million
  • Renewing the culvert under 200th Street at Brydon Creek - $0.8 million

*The City will be applying for additional funding from TransLink in 2024 and 2025 for this project

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

March 20 Council Notes: Freedom of the City, More and Fasters Bus Service for Langley, HUB Cycling Award, and Development Policies

At last night’s Langley City Council meeting, Council held an official ceremony to bestow the Freedom of the City to former Councillor Gayle Martin for her 32 consecutive years of service to our community. She received recognition in front of family, friends, and members of the public. The City held a small reception after the Council meeting for Ms. Martin.

A picture of the Freedom of the City for Gayle Martin. Select the image to enlarge.

HUB Cycling, a charitable not-for-profit organization that promotes cycling and cycling education, awarded Langley City for the Glover Road Protected and Safe Bike Lane Project. Council accepted the award last night.

TransLink’s CEO Kevin Quinn also attended last night’s Council meeting as TransLink was the major funding partner for the Glover Road Project. At the meeting, Quinn also updated Council on TransLink’s 10-year vision. Besides SkyTrain to Langley, TransLink continues to increase its funding of active transportation infrastructure projects that support making rolling, walking, and cycling safer and more comfortable.

TransLink’s CEO Kevin Quinn presents to Council the agency’s 10-year priorities vision. Select the image to enlarge.

TransLink also plans to invest significantly in bus service, and not just regular bus service. TransLink plans to build RapidBus in Langley, which connects White Rock, Campbell Heights, Brookswood, Langley City, Willoughby, Walnut Grove, and Maple Ridge. TransLink plans to build Bus Rapid Transit between Langley City and Maple Ridge along 200th Street. Bus Rapid Transit travels in bus-only lanes along its entire route and has traffic signal prioritization to ensure that buses are never stuck in traffic. Bus Rapid Transit will give people a way out of congestion. TransLink also wants to create an express bus route between Newton and Langley via Highway 10.

Later in the meeting, Council gave final reading to our new Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw, which I previously posted about. Council also approved our new policy, “CO-82 – Latecomer Policy.”

The City may require a developer to upgrade water mains, sewer trunks, and roads as part of a development project. These upgrades may also benefit future development projects that will not have to pay for them, which is unfair. Besides equity, if these infrastructure upgrades have a large enough cost, a developer may forgo a project, slowing down new housing construction. The latecomer policy allows a developer who upgrades City infrastructure the opportunity to recover the cost from future developers whose projects would also benefit from the infrastructure. The City administers this policy for a fee, so there is no cost to the taxpayers.

Council also approved applying to the UBCM Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Stream 2 funding grant to support the “Living Well in Langley, A Poverty Reduction Strategy.” If the City receives the grant, it will be used to reopen Station Café in Timms Community Centre as a social enterprise. The café will support food service skills training, provide living wage employment, and provide access to fresh, healthy, local and sustainable food at an affordable cost.

As part of BC law, I had to read the following at the Council meeting:

THAT the report of the Chief Election Officer dated March 13, 2023, regarding public notice of Cherise Okeymow’s failure to file her campaign financial disclosure statement and pay the required late filing fee of $500, be received for information.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Coming this June: Connecting 203rd Street and Glover Road Safe Bike Lanes

Langley City has partnered with TransLink to build our safe cycling network over the years. The 203rd Street bike lanes and Glover Road bike lanes form the north-south safe cycling route for our community, but there is a gap in Downtown Langley. This gap limits the usefulness of this current safe cycling route.

TransLink is funding 100% of a $350,000 project to connect the safe cycling north-south route along Douglas Crescent and 204th Street.

The following shows the proposed design.

Crosssection of 203rd Street. Select the image to enlarge.

Crosssection of Douglas Crescent. Select the image to enlarge

Crossection of 204th Street. Select the image to enlarge.

A bonus of the project is that it will increase on-street parking along 204th Street if the business owners along that section of the street favour moving parking from the east side of the street to the west side.

The City plans to start construction in June this year. For more information, please view a presentation available online.