Monday, June 16, 2008

Township of Langley 2007 Annual Report - Response

South Fraser OnTrax provided the following written submission re: the Township of Langley's 2007 Annual Report. The Annual Report can be downloaded from the Township's website. You may download our submission from the document archive.
June 15, 2008

Mayor and Council – Township of Langley
c/o Legislative Services
20338-65 Avenue
Langley, BC V2Y 3J1
Via E-mail:

RE: 2007 Annual Report of the Corporation Comments

Your Worship and Honourable Township Council,

South Fraser OnTrax takes note of the numerous projects and initiatives undertaken by Township Mayor, Council and Staff in 2007. It is truly an exciting time to live in the Township. Please excuse this late written submission with our comments regarding the 2007 Annual Report.

1. The report calls upon the Township Transportation Department to strive to implement multimodal roadways, or complete roads. Of course, these roads would support equal access to walkers, cyclists, transit, and vehicles. The report goes on to say that the Township recognizes the demands of roads to support these multimodal uses.

This year, council approved a motion by Councillor Bateman that among other things, called upon the “Township to continue to protect key right-of-ways for possible Community Rail or other transit use”, including but not limited to an Interurban Rail Line. The motion specifically mentioned 200th Street, 208th Street, Fraser Highway, 88th Avenue, and 96th Avenue.

South Fraser OnTrax would like to know if council could and would support a formal and enforceable Transit Corridors and Complete Roads Protection Plan for the Township? Such a plan would include some basic complete roadway design guidelines and specifications. The plan would include arterial, collector roads and corridors that would be identified by Township staff, with an initial draft and listing of protected roadways being made available to South Fraser OnTrax and other interested parties. South Fraser OnTrax feel that unless a formal protection plan and strategy be implemented soon, some or all of these corridors could evolve into roadways that preclude some modes of transportation uses.

Closely related to this topic, we are excited about our new Langley Events Centre, and the many community gathering opportunities it will make available to our Township. With densification coming soon to this area, as well as discussions of a transit corridor to move people to and from the Events Centre, we trust that the final built-out design at the outer edge of the property will preserve and consider the future introduction of streetcars to compliment the movement of people in this area.

2. Under the “Contributing to a Sustainable Region” section of this report there is mention of a new Park and Ride Transit Exchange in the vicinity of the 200th Street corridor. While we realize that council may consider this exchange to be a long-term project funded by the Provincial Government, we would like mayor and council to consider several design considerations:

a. Facility support for light rail/streetcar, bus, community shuttle, van pool, and vehicle co-op (an Inter-modal Transit Exchange);
b. provision of bicycle lockers near the exchange; and
c. consideration for a Smart Car and other Co-Operative Auto Network/Zip Car Programs based at the station, and along 200th Street, which would preserve this commuter parking lot for other development that would generate more property tax dollars.

South Fraser OnTrax believes that we can only truly contribute to a sustainable region when we build our communities with people first. We would like council to consider higher-density, mixed-use transit-oriented development along the 200th Street corridor combined with an Interurban Light Rail and Streetcar program. With mixed-use transit oriented development, and numerous transit and vehicle-as-needed options presented to residents along this corridor, we would finally give people true transportation options.

Finally with a truly multimodal 200th Street corridor, higher-density developments could be opened up to public parking for other residents wishing to take transit, but not living along the transit corridor and parking requirements reduced. The parking and land development now become a profit centre, rather than a vast under-utilized space (at off-peak times) that does not present as many development options and the resulting property tax generation.

3. The completion of the Township’s Sustainability Charter is mentioned in this report, and South Fraser OnTrax is supportive of this Charter work. We hope that this charter will quickly become the seminal document that drives all future policy, guidelines and development within the Township of Langley. In anticipation of this soon-to-be-released Charter, does the Township currently have any plans to review and link various current policies?

We realize that such a project could present a significant drain on staff resources. If there is currently no plan in place to make these important linkages now, will it be utilized going forward? How will this occur?

South Fraser OnTrax would like to suggest that if a retrospective review is not feasible, that the Township consider a basic framework be implemented quickly after Charter ratification, so as to preserve the integrity and relevance of this Sustainability Charter.

4. The annual report makes mention that development along the 200th Street corridor will require a number of pedestrian overpasses to be constructed. South Fraser OnTrax is of the opinion that in Canada many public infrastructure projects of this sort end with ugly industrial/utilitarian concrete designs that ruin the beauty of the surrounding area and neighbourhoods. Whereas in the USA and other places, designers have used decorative steel and other materials to create innovative overpasses that serve as street art, often including local symbols and themes embossed or cut from the materials.

Aside from the aesthetics of these pedestrian overpasses, South Fraser OnTrax is equally concerned that these structures will hinder elderly and handicapped residents and possible future streetcar and related transit infrastructure. We trust that during the design phase of these projects consideration will be given to maintain the beautification of our neighbourhoods and our aging population.

Best regards
for and on behalf of South Fraser OnTrax

Nathan Pachal, CTech
Co-Founder & Transportation Advocate

Joe Zaccaria, CPP
Co-Founder & Transportation Advocate

No comments: