Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Local government officials on the money

Here is a great story from Black Press on how TransLink can save money. Build Light Rail, not SkyTrain:
"Given these economic times, maybe we go back to the drawing board and have a look at it," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, who also chairs the Mayors Council on Regional Transportation.

She told a Metro Vancouver board meeting Sept. 25 a shift back to light rail would save a significant amount of money and would be supported by northeast sector residents along the line.
Check out the whole story

New Report: Freeways cause congestion

Perhaps the German word schlimmbesserung — meaning an improvement that makes things worse — is an apt descriptor for the massive program of new road construction that has marked Melbourne’s ‘solution’ to its transport challenges over the last several decades.
One of the major justifications for most freeway expansion projects in North America is that they will relieve congestion and improve travel times. Reducing travel time is the major economic value used in justifying these projects. In fact if you look at the BC Gateway Program’s justifications from 2004, the major justification was to reduce travel time.

A new report from Melbourne, Australia calls into question that justification. In Melbourne, they examined the data from the last two decades of traffic and road expansion and found that travel time has not been saved, in fact it is worse than ever. The most interesting fact was that the $1.5 billion City Link freeway project actually caused “the average speeds on Melbourne’s freeways for the entire urban network overall have also dropped in the years following City Link’s full opening.” Before the open, travel time where improving.

This is interesting because Metro Vancouver didn’t have too much freeway expansion for the last 20 years and was the only place that saw a reduction in travel times in Canada. It would seem that the more freeways that get built, the worst congestion becomes.

The report from the University of Melbourne made the following conclusions:
In sum, these results suggest that the core of travel times savings benefits, which is an increase in average travel speeds, has not eventuated in Melbourne’s urban road network during the years under review. Indeed, based on the evidence presented and analysed in this paper, one could be led to the conclusion that investments in Melbourne’s urban road network have resulted in more time being used by Melbourne’s motorists rather than less time. On the basis of the assumptions conventionally used to justify road building , major road infrastructure initiatives have resulted in net economic disbenefits.
Please check out the whole report.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Langley Monorail

A few weeks ago, Joe (co-founder of SFOT) and I were at a barbeque and happen to meet Mr. John Murchie. Mr. Murchie is an inventor and invented something called Composite Steel Technology (CST). This is an ultra light, strong construction material that can be used to build shells for things like light rail vehicles.

As you know we are strong supporters of at-grade light rail, but Mr. Murchie has invented a monorail system of his own using this CST technology. We at SFOT are open-minded, so we thought we would share some of the information about his system. You can download a letter with more detailed information from our document archive.
Inexpensive: We can build and install the guideway towers and rail for as little as $5-7 million per mile, roughly 35 percent of what Metro Vancouver’s Skytrain system now costs. Imagine, instead of the proposed UBC Skytrain extension costing $2.8 billion it could be done for well under $1 billion. In fact, both the UBC extension as well as the Evergreen line could be built for less than the Skytrain extension out to UBC!

Light Weight: Weight savings come from the patented Composite Steel Technology (CST) built into the passenger cars. A 90 passenger urban car will weigh under 10,000 lbs which allows for a far lighter support structure than any other system in the world. The lightness of the car and support structure not only translates into lower construction costs but equally important it allows this system to go where traditional systems can’t go such as on existing bridges, over top existing railway lines and over unstable ground.

Rapid construction time: Because the towers, rails and footings are steel these components can be fabricated in a shop environment on an assembly line basis. Once delivered to their erection site their light weight allows small portable cranes to handily install them with minimal interruption to people’s daily life and ground traffic flow. We estimate that once footings are in place we could complete one mile of elevated guideway in less than 2 weeks.

Safety: As an elevated system there are no concerns with respect to vehicular or train traffic.

Aesthetic Appearance: In contrast to the scenic nightmare created by the massive concrete columns and guideway of Vancouver’s Skytrain, the light weight of our system allows for small towers connected by an attractive architectural guideway.

Employment opportunities: This system will have universal appeal to cities and governments across North America and around the world for all the reasons listed above. While the fabricated steel would be done by multiple shops on a regional level the cars themselves would be manufactured here in the lower mainland. This would require a large investment in plant and equipment and create substantial employment opportunities for professionals and trades people.

Additional Advantages: For longer inter-urban travel, the guideway could also be used as a carrier for some services such as hydro, thus eliminating the need for separate towers and the associated landscape clutter.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Waiting for Information

Back in February of this year South Fraser OnTrax, as well as other rail advocacy groups, gave presentations to the Ministry of Transportation, Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD), BC Transit, and TransLink for the Fraser Valley Transit Study for Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and all points east. I emailed Ashok Bhatti, the PR person, on any updates on the project as I haven’t heard much since February. I was told that information including key transit corridors will be released soon and that the next phase of the study will take place at the end of November/early December.

On another note, I heard rumour that TransLink is starting to work on a Surrey Rapid Transit Study. Stay tuned for details.

Finally, it has been 20 business days since I last heard from the Agricultural Land Commission on my Freedom of Information Request. I guess I’m doing to have to contact the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Transit News across Canada

Happy Friday! I thought I would share some links on transit related stories in Canada. Starting out in Winnipeg, Steve Ashton - One leadership candidates for the Manitoba NDP, has promised to build more rapid transit of this city.
Steve Ashton said on Tuesday the proposed corridor would cut through the neighbourhoods of Elmwood, Radisson, and Concordia on the way to Transcona.

The massive project, connecting the city's east side with the downtown, would cost about $250 million and be completed over four years, Ashton said.
In Toronto, The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) will be spending $1.5 billion on transit improvements including:
$97 million for 120 new hybrid buses, $218 million toward 234 new subway cars, $74 million for 204 new streetcars, and $41 million for bridge and tunnel repairs.

"In addition, in includes half a billion dollars toward the expansion projects of Spadina subway; Sheppard, Eglinton and Finch LRTs,"
Finally in Montreal, the provincial government has announced a plan to expand their Metro system.
Premier Jean Charest said the Quebec government would go ahead with a proposed extension of Montreal's Metro system, announcing it will spend $12 million on feasibility studies.

The three mayors have proposed an extension that would add up to 20 kilometres to the Metro system in the next decade.

The plan would include:

-Closing the Orange Line loop by connecting the Côte-Vertu and Montmorency stations.
-Five kilometres added to the Blue Line extending to Saint-Léonard and Anjou.
-Five new stations added to the Yellow Line to serve the Pierre-Boucher Hospital and CÉGEP Édouard-Montpetit.
The plan ignores the West Island parts of Montreal which has people disappointed.
Whether it's an underground métro line or an above-ground rail link doesn't matter to many West Island residents - all they want is better transportation service to downtown Montreal.

Claire Francoeur, who regularly commutes to Montreal by train, said anything would be better than the rail service that now exists.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cyclist Education

As you probably know, I’m a pretty big fan of giving people transportation choices for our region. Last week, we had a very successful meeting on cycling in Langley. We have another meeting planned for Wednesday, October 28th at 7pm in the Douglas Recreation Centre.

Anyway, one of the issues that was brought up at the last meeting was the need for cyclist education. I couldn’t agree more. Just as there are bad drivers, transit users, and people in the world; there are bad cyclists. They ride on sidewalks (even when there is a complete bike lane), on the wrong side of the road, almost hit pedestrians on crosswalks, don’t wear helmets, and weave carelessly through traffic. I believe that the majority of cyclists are safe and courteous, but I think everyone needs a reminder now and then. I was in a training season about driver’s safety and heard an interesting stat. 10% of the population is always safe/careful, 80% needs to be reminded to be safe/careful, and 10% will always be reckless.

I only bring up the issue of cyclist education because I believe that in order to gain political support for improved cycling infrastructure in Langley, we have to prove (rightfully or wrongly) that the majority of us will use it responsibly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Evergreen Line, SkyTrain, and Affordable Housing

According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, the province will be building the Evergreen Line period, no matter what TransLink says. Remember the Canada Line saga? The big problem is that the province seems to think that there is some hidden money in TransLink to pay for this. It will be interesting to see what the province finds after their audit of TransLink. The new Minister of Transportation Shirley Bond said in the article that:
At that time, her ministry will sit down with the mayors and TransLink to explore options, including raising property and gas taxes and transit fares. She insisted, however, the Evergreen Line would not be built “at the expense” of other B.C. regions.
If the province doesn't want "other BC regions" to pay for transportation in Metro Vancouver, why is the province so closed to giving our region the mean to pay for its own transportation? I would venture to guess that everyone knows that road pricing and/or a vehicle levy are in the future. How long will it take the province to come to terms with that?

In a column in the Vancouver Sun, Bob Ransford – a former real estate developer, makes the link between good transit and affordable housing.
One of the keys to making housing more affordable is transportation.

The cost of housing in communities with a robust range of transportation choices, especially with well-developed public transit systems, is generally lower.
He goes on to say that in Metro Vancouver, our land use planning and transportation planning are disconnected and has some interesting comments about the provincial government:
Regional transportation commissioner Martin Crilley referred to this lack of provincial-regional coordination in his recent public report when he labelled the gulf that exists between provincial and regional transportation planning and financing "a hazard."

It makes you wonder whether the provincial government even thinks about connecting the dots between the cost of housing and the disconnect between land use and transportation planning.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ottawa to build light rail – Phoenix seeing higher property values

Sometimes it can get a bit depressing seeing every region but your own build light rail. In another blow to bus rapid transit (BRT), Ottawa will be building more light rail.
The north-south route option is part of a $1.8 billion LRT plan that includes a downtown tunnel and converting the east-west Transitway from Blair Rd. to Tunney's Pasture to light rail.
In other news, after only 9 months of operation light rail in making a big impact in Phoenix, Arizona. According to a recent report:
The city of Tempe has experienced the highest increase in the Valley in land value surrounding the light rail route, according to a study conducted by ASU doctoral student Katherine Kittrell released Friday.

Mixed-use buildings that incorporate residential, retail and office space are the type of transit-oriented developments that led to increased land value, she said.
“The research concludes that one of the best ways to get people to incorporate a different lifestyle is to get them to live in transit-oriented developments,” she said, referring to buildings that offer convenience for public-transit riders

Monday, September 21, 2009

How to shift freight traffic to off-peak

A while ago, I blogged about a report called “The Truth, The Myths, And The Possible In Freight Road Pricing In Congested Urban Areas.” It reviews road pricing and other measures to reduce freight travel during peak travel periods. The basic summery of the report is that road pricing will not affect the major of trucks that travel during peak times because businesses request deliveries during these times. The report does offer some solutions. But first, I have friend who is a long-haul truckers, and I know he is always leaving super-early in the morning. The Port of Metro Vancouver should encourage all non-local traffic to travel outside of peak times. On the local front, the report offers a great idea.
The most efficient way to induce a shift of truck traffic towards the off-peak hours is to provide financial incentives to the receivers. In all likelihood, once sufficient numbers of receivers are willing to accept off-peak deliveries, the carriers will follow suit.
I think that road pricing should be where Metro Vancouver is going, and I think that the money generated from road pricing should be put into giving people transportation choice. I also like this suggestion. (Note this is from a New York context.)
In terms of the practicality of these comprehensive policies, the paper discusses the hypothetical example of a $5 toll surcharge to trucks traveling thru the Hudson River facilities in New York City that would generate approximately $40 million/year (including some demand contraction). These revenues could be used to fund a variety of off-peak delivery programs. Two of the ideas discussed include the provision of incentives to large traffic generators (e.g., Grand Central Terminal, colleges, government offices); and tax incentives to restaurants in Manhattan willing to accept off-peak deliveries. It is estimated that 20% of the restaurants would accept the offer, leading to a reduction of 1.3 million truck trips/year in Manhattan at a cost of $13 million/year.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cycling Event - Follow up

What a great turnout we had last night. There were just over 20 passionate people that arrived at the meeting to figure out how we could improve cycling in Langley. We had representation from all areas of Langley including the City, Brookswood, Fort Langley, Aldergrove, Walnut Grove, and Willoughby. We heard about the Mobility Matters program from BEST. The program is basically about neighbourhoods giving up their secondary vehicles in exchange for non-vehicular transportation (i.e.: bike) and a co-op car. Find out more on their website. We also heard from members of the Surrey/White Rock and Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge Chapters of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC) on how to bring energy to the cycling issue.

My friend (and co-sponsor of this meeting), from the Township of Langley Park Commission, Suzan Guest led us in an issues mind mapping exercise. At the end of the exercise, we noticed that cycling issue in Langley fell into a few main categories: Clean Bike Routes, Safe Bike Routes, Safe Bike Parking, Better Engineered Bike Routes (included separated bike lanes), Enforcement, Driver and Cyclist Education, and Promotion.

We will be hosting another meeting in the next month to discuss becoming a chapter of the VACC. Exciting days for cycling are ahead for the people of Langley!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Big Event Tonight

Today is the big day. Come join us at the Willoughby Community Centre in the Langley Events Centre and help bring transportation choice to Langley. We will be hearing from Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST), Vancouver Area Cycling Collation (VACC), and other active transportation promoters in our region. We will also be discussing how to get cycling in motion in Langley. Currently under 1% of people in Langley commute by cycling, we can do much better. Here at the details:

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Tonight
Willoughby Community Centre
Langley Events Centre
7888 - 200 Street

As a resource, I have linked to New York City’s Street Guide which is an excellent resource for how to build different types of bike lanes.

See you tonight!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

All it takes is some paint.

One of the items we will be talking about at our Bike Rally this Thursday will be about separated bike lanes. My thought has always been that to improve cycling infrastructure in a dramatic way, in Langley, will only take a bit of paint on the road. Well, the people of Portland did such a thing for only $80,00 on Southwest Broadway! The road configuration is: sidewalk, bike lane, parking, travel lane. The Oregonian has an article called A bit of paint, and voila! a bike-lane experiment:
Thanks to the recession, bicycling is the only mode of commuting that's on the rise in Portland, growing by nearly 30 percent last year. Both the buffered bike lanes and cycle track should make both sides more comfortable mingling on the road, the mayor said.

Transportation officials said they built the buffered bike lanes and the $80,000 cycle track simultaneously to determine which configuration works better.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Langley Advance: Network needed for cyclists

The Langley Advance has a great article about needed cycling network improvements in Langley. They also plugged our bike event which is this Thursday. I hope you get a chance to read the article.
Bike lanes are usually indicated by painted lines and bicycle symbols, but they can also be separated by plastic orange pylons. In some places, different configurations are being tried to help improve safety. Pachal points out that some jurisdictions are re-arranging their on-street parking so that the bike lane is next to the sidewalk, followed by parking, and then the road itself. In Richmond near the new Canada Line, raised bike lanes have been added between sidewalks and streets.

Making people feel safer is one of the major obstacles to getting more people onto their bikes and out of cars, Pachal said.

The benefits of cycling are obvious once it's made safer and convenient, he said.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Community Energy and Emissions Plan

The Township of Langley has been busy over the last number of years developing a sustainable community strategy. Last year, SFOT head from Township planners on the Sustainability Charter. The charter is the framework on which all Township policies and bylaws must conform to. The Township has recently completed their Corporate Greenhouse Gas Plan that focuses on reducing municipal operations’ emissions. They also launched an anti-idling campaign (those people in tents by railroad crossings.)

Anyway, now they are starting work on their Community Energy and Emissions Plan. The goal of this plan is to reduce GHG emissions in the community (buildings, transportation, solid waste and agriculture). Right now they are starting up a Stakeholder Advisory Committee which will have three meetings.
Meeting #1: To discuss opportunities and challenges in reducing GHG emissions in the community; identify short and long term goals for buildings, transportation, solid waste and agriculture energy use, supply and emissions.

Meeting #2: To set an emission reductions target.

Meeting #3: To review proposed policy tools and actions and refine the strategies and actions that will be included in the CEEP. To discuss the barriers to desired behaviours.
I know there have been some setbacks with GHG reduction because of the current provincial budget, but let’s hope that the Township of Langley is staying committed to building a sustainable community.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Help Build the Cycling Network for Langley

Next week, we will be holding a bike rally and information meeting on sustainable transportation options for the Langleys. Please plan on attending and inviting others who may be interested in sustainable transportation options.

The Langleys have identified our off and on-road bike network, but this network is far from being complete and lacks funding. Find out how you can help. We will be taking the first step to letting our local government know that cycling is a priority for Langley.

It's time to make cycling a safe, real alternative!

Thursday, September 17th, 2009
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Willoughby Community Centre
Langley Events Centre
7888 - 200 Street

Facebook Event Page:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meeting Wrap-up

We had a great meeting tonight and heard from Carol Parcher who is the Director of Emergency Shelter & Housing Services for the Salvation Army at Langley’s Gateway of Hope. The Langley Gateway of Hope's motto is “Heart to God, Hand to Man” by providing food, clothing, shelter, support, and training to give people a hand up. I encourage you to check out the presentation which looks at the Gateway of Hope through the three pillars of sustainability: Environment, Economic, and Social.

Some interesting facts about the building:
-Geo-Thermal Heating and Cooling
-Windows and light tubes provide natural light and reduces electrical consumption
-Insulation newest technology
-Just about carbon neutral
-Gold Leed

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Meeting of the Season - Tomorrow

Speaker: Ms. Carol Parcher, Director of Emergency Shelter & Housing Services Salvation Army – Langley’s Gateway of Hope
Topic: Gateway of Hope – A Gateway to Sustainability

Date: September 9th, 2009
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Township of Langley Municipal Facility
4th Floor, Yorkson Creek Meeting Room
20338 – 65 Avenue, Langley

Download a Copy of the Agenda


6:45pm – 7:00pm Self-Registration /Greeting
7:00pm – 7:10pm Quick Group introductions
7:10pm Introduction of Ms. Carol Parcher
7:15pm – 8:15pm “Gateway of Hope – A Gateway to Sustainability”
8:15pm – 8:30pm Q & A
8:30pm – 8:40pm Short Break
8:40pm – 8:50pm Reports (Finance Report (State of Advertising/Promotion/Website & Blog/Help Needed/Fundraising
8:50pm – 9:00pm New Business
Meeting Adjourned

9:00pm – 9:15pm Meeting for SFOT Board Members (Board Members Only)

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Romance of Transportation in Canada

Happy Labour Day! Here is a great animated short from the National Film Board of Canada... It's pretty funny.

Friday, September 4, 2009

TransLink Commissioner

Sometimes when you make public agencies arms length, governments don’t get the results they expect. For example, the Provincial government didn’t like the stink that the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority made about the Canada Line (SkyTrain Technology) and funding, so they created the South Coast British Columbia Regional Transportation Authority; an arms-length organization with an independent commissioner. As I’ve blogged about recently, this has not solved the funding issue. It also appears that the new structure has reduced political interference (good on the Province for this new structure.) Point in case: the Evergreen Line.

Now I want to be clear, I support building rapid transit in the Tri-Cities area. I supported light rail which was the original, less costly plan for the area. Since the Provincial government decided to go with SkyTrain, the costs have ballooned to the point that now it looks like the line won’t be getting built.

Anyway, I wanted to highlight some section from the recently released TransLink Commissioner's report. It would seem like the TransLink Commissioner would like to see road pricing and light rail, two items which the Province has major issues with. I think the Province will have to come to terms with road pricing and light rail if we are to see a region with truly sustainable transportation options.

On Road Pricing:
The most important advances in this area, in the Commissioner’s view, would be some form of road pricing (notably on highways in the hands of the Province) and a region-wide, coordinated policy for tighter management of parking (belonging to the municipalities). In particular, the Plan does not propose potential win-win innovations such as varying vehicle levies and car licence and insurance premiums by annual distance driven, which would allow motorists to save money by driving less.
On Higher-Orders of Government Interfering with Transit Planning:
For the large, lumpy investments in the system’s rapid transit corridors, to date the provincial and federal governments have determined the routes and the transit technology—perhaps because provincial and federal taxpayers pay massive capital subsidies towards them. Regional taxpayers and farepayers are drawn into funding some initial capital, plus all of the operating and renewal costs. To date, TransLink has not been free to select its own optimum rapid transit configuration.
On the Evergreen Line:
The Commissioner concurs with TransLink’s assigning of upgrades to the existing system as the first priority for capital, ahead of network expansion such as the Evergreen Line, on grounds of sound business policy including the management of risks.
On Light Rail verse SkyTrain:
A hazard lies in the gulf that exists between provincial and regional transportation planning and financing for Metro Vancouver: some potential solutions may not receive full consideration. One such is a coordinated demand management programme [aka: Road Pricing], as earlier mentioned; another could be light rail networks in the European style, which are versatile and are intermediate between buses and SkyTrain in cost, coverage, performance, and which also influence long-term urban densification. Such systems have been considered by TransLink in the past, but the provincial government has chosen automated light rapid transit systems.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Transit and Money

Sometimes I can get pretty depressed when I read stories about TransLink. It seems like the organization has been ready to implode on itself since the NDP government of the day refused to implement a vehicle levy back when TransLink was formed. The Liberal government's restructuring of the organization with a professional board did not solve the funding issue. It actually seems that the new TransLink has been even more vocal about the lack of funding. I believe that the B.C.'s comptroller-general report, due out later this month, will not find any major saving to be had at TransLink. What the agency needs are stable funding sources. Also the organization needs to stop having over-pricing SkyTrain being pushed on it by higher levels of government.

Accord to a recent news article it would appear that transit expansion is now off the table.
Huge budget deficits for B.C. mean TransLink's ambitious push to pour $450 million a year into transit expansion will almost certainly be shelved for at least the short term, CEO Tom Prendergast says.

Prendergast also said there are legitimate fears that rapid transit extensions toward UBC in Vancouver and deeper into Surrey might face much longer delays if TransLink ends up with funding sources to build and operate the Evergreen Line but little else.
What I also find interesting are the comments from B.C. Trucking Association president Paul Landry. As you can image he doesn’t come across as a big fan of transit or road-user fees.
But Landry said road pricing amounts to another unreasonable tax to drivers on top of fuel and parking taxes, the carbon tax and the planned vehicle levy.

"It's a request for us to rent what we already own," Landry said.

He welcomes the new review of TransLink and wants the transportation authority to go back to the drawing board and prepare all-new plans, with new measures to better meet the needs of freight haulers.

He said that should include designating dedicated lanes and corridors for trucks and banning parking along key goods movement routes at peak hours.
Now I believe that goods-movement is important, I just wish the trucking association would see that getting more people into transit and pricing roads might actually be a good thing for trucking. Road pricing would have to be part of a larger plan to support goods-movement of course. I suggest you check out the following report called, “The truth, the myths, and the possible in freight road pricing in congested urban areas

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Upcoming Events

We have a fairly busy schedule this fall with events and meetings supporting sustainable communities in the South Fraser.

Our first meeting of the season is next Wednesday, September 9th from 7pm to 9pm at the Yorkson Creek Meeting Room at the Township of Langley Civic Facility. We will be hearing from the Salvation Army’s Director of Emergency Shelter and Housing Services, Carol Parcher. She will be talking about Langley’s Gateway of Hope. Sustainable communities are about more than mixed-used, transit friendly design; they are about providing housing and shelter from the rich to the down-and-out. The Gateway of Hope is about providing a hand-up to people in our community who need it the most. Coupled with an affordable housing policy, the Gateway of Hope should be able to move people from poverty to prosperity. I hope you can join us for this meeting.

On Thursday, September 17th starting at 7pm at the Willoughby Community Centre at the Langley Events Centre, we will be launching our Cycling Network for Langley Campaign. The Township and City of Langley, as well as Metro Vancouver, have identified the major off and on-road bike network, but this network is far from being complete. With the help of Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST), we will hear about a new program called "Mobility Matters". We will also be taking the first step to letting our local governments know that cycling is a priority for Langley. It time make cycling a safe, real alternative for people in our region.

Why Cycle in Langley?

-Cycling is a good way to introduce regular exercise into a busy schedule. It can also introduce a healthy lifestyle to your family.
-Cycling helps reduce traffic congestion.
-Cycling is a good way to build community and get to know others in your neighborhood.
-Cycling reduces household transportation green-house-gas -causing (GHG) and pollution emissions.
-Transportation in BC is responsible for 2/3 of all GHG causing emissions.
-Cycling gives the very young and seniors mobility options.
-Cycling saves you money by reducing the cost of operating and insuring a motor vehicle.

State of Cycling in Langley
-The Township and City of Langley, as well as Metro Vancouver, have identified the major off and on-road bike network.
-In the Township, new developments require off-road paths and on-road bike lanes.
-In the City, new road faculties and reconstructed road receive bike lanes.
-The City has an extensive path network through the Nicomekl Flood Plan.
-Older neighborhoods in Langley do not have cycling infrastructure.
-The bike network is a patchwork of non-connected off-road paths and on-road bike lanes.
-Cycling has a modal share is under 1% in Langley. Kelowna has a modal share of 3%. Victoria has a modal share of 10%. There is much room for improvement.
-The on-road bike lanes feel unsafe to many people.
-Completing the cycling network is not on the radar for councils in both the City and Township.

How to Improve Cycling in Langley
-Complete the bike network, as this is low cost item compared to other transportation improvements.
-Integrate and connect both the on-road and off-road bike network in Langley.
-Coordinate the bike network in the City and the Township.
-Build Separated Lanes for the on-road bike network to make cycling safer in Langley. Separated bike lanes can be as simple as placing plastic safety dividers and road paint markings on the road. It changes the configuration of the road from the centre out to vehicle travel lane, vehicles parking, bike lane, sidewalk.
-Tap into funding from seniors levels of government to fund these improvements.
-Increase the mode share of cycling in Langley to 5% in 10 years.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Community Rail Task Force

Last night’s Township of Langley’s Mayor’s Report contained some interesting information about the Interurban Corridor:
South of the Fraser Community Rail Update – We have made significant strides since our release of the CP / BC Hydro Master Agreement. Our request to all councils South of the Fraser for written support for the renewal of this agreement has been successful and we have received notice of its renewal. Further, we have initiated a process which BC Hydro is undertaking to review all corridor agreements. As of today we were advised that this will take about one month.

The same lawyer who concluded the 1988 agreements is undertaking this review. He believes that all passenger rights have been reserved between Vancouver and Chilliwack. We have had Tom Prendergast out to the Township to provide him with a complete history on this corridor, something he was not aware of. Since our notification of renewal, we had a meeting with Tom just over a week ago, giving him an update on our status, something he is very interested in going forward.

Over the past month I have met all mayors South of the Fraser, giving them a brief update and requesting an opportunity to present to their full councils a brief on the prospects, potential, history and practical application of this corridor in September. I will be asking for support of the establishment of a Councils South of the Fraser Community Rail Task Force. It is now time to raise the bar and motivate the public South of the Fraser.
It is very interesting to note that Mayor Green will be starting a Community (Light) Rail Task Force. I wonder who will be involved with this project. It is also interesting to note that Tom Prendergast appeared to not know anything about the Interurban Corridor, considering TransLink did a report on the corridor a few years back. Anyway, you can download the whole Mayor’s Report from the Township of Langley’s website.