Friday, October 9, 2009

Cycling in the City (of Langley)

Way back in 2004, the City of Langley commissioned a master transportation plan. Part of that plan included the City’s cycling network. I’ve included a map of the proposed network.

The City’s current financial plan on improving cycling infrastructure is tied to general road reconstruction. As you can imagine, it might take 20 years to see the network implemented under this plan. I think that is too long. In 2004 dollars, the City expected to spend which is about the same cost as building four Spirit Squares. Now $4 million is a sizable amount of money and I don’t expect the City to complete the network in two years, but I think a 10 year plan would be reasonable. That would committee the City to spending $400k a year on cycling. To put that number into perspective, the City will be spending about $13 million on capital projects this year. Adding cycling into the work might increase the capital budget by 3%. This may be less if the City can get grant money from higher orders of government. They may also be able to use DCC’s (money paid by developers) to improve cycling infrastructure. The first step of course would be for the City to committee any sort of sustained funding for cycling. The City’s 2009-2011 Strategic Plan identifies improving the connectivity of its cycling network to the rest of the region though I haven’t seen any funding attached to that. The new Fraser Highway Bridge will include bike lanes and so will the new, improved 208th Street, but the network is still a patchwork.

I had a chat with another cyclist in the City and while the City’s Bike Plan is great, we felt that there are some areas where it could be improved. The City's report recommends something called a wide curb lane for most of their cycling network. As the picture shows, a wide curb lane is a shared lane that is marked with a bike symbol.

While this is appropriate for most places in the City, on high traffic corridors it doesn’t make the cut. It would make sense for the City to tie into the bike network the Township is building on 200th Street. Also, Fraser Highway should have a bike lane that connects to the bike lane that Surrey has completed. Finally, 203rd Street is the perfect North/South cycling corridor for the City and should be reflected accordingly. In fact, if the City was to spend money on a pilot project for cycling, I feel that it should be 203rd Street. We have our next cycling meeting in a few weeks, so bring your ideas and thoughts about cycling in Langley.

On a side note, I’ve got to give a credit to the Province for including cycling in their highway reconstruction projects. I’ve noticed that they’ve now put up cycling route signs on Highway 10/Langley Bypass.

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