Friday, February 5, 2010

Sustainability In The City of Langley

Last night I attended the City of Langley's Sustainability Open House. As a Township resident, I fully participated for several years in the ToL Sustainability Charter workshops and public consultation process. As a property owner in the City of Langley, I felt it was my civic duty to get involved in this work. There was a few empty chairs (see pic below) when we started, but this corner of the library filled up quickly.

The Sustainability Open House was designed to help the City develop a Sustainability Framework that will help define Langley City's long-term sustainability "destination". About 30 people gathers and by the end of the two hours, about 40 people were present. Roy Beddow, Deputy Director of Development Services and Economic Development for the City of Langley hosted the event, along with two consultants from STANTEC Consulting that helped facilitate the night. I volunteered to help collect ideas related to TRANSPORTATION. The focus areas were numerous. This list of Focus Areas consisted of:
  1. Arts, Culture & Heritage
  2. Energy, Climate Change & Air Quality
  3. Healthy Living, Food & Well-being
  4. Land Use and Housing
  5. Local Economy
  6. Natural Areas, Parks and Recreation
  7. Solid Waste
  8. Water
  9. Transportation
  10. Municipal Leadership
  11. Community Leadership
Participants were first asked three questions:


After a short discussions on the answers the group had to these questions, people were instructed to circulate to the focus area tables and answer these questions for the focus topics at hand (specifically). The group had an opportunity to visit up to 5 tables.

Our Transportation Cafe focused on what we CAN do. I kept my mouth shut regarding light rail and allowed the cafe participants to put forth their ideas while I simply recorded. As I recall, the group said these are things we should do now:

Build transit to get more density (developer incentive to build)
Build more bike lanes
Build secure bike storage
Reduce transit travel times
Clear snow from bus stops and sidewalks
Build Light Rail NOW - Put it on the board! (not me, their suggestion)
Arrange for ride share/more Jack Bell participation in Langley
Solve empty HOV lanes through incentives to take transit
Implement car share in Langley
Build Personal Travel Pods/Personal Rapid Transit (click here to see and here)
Get $ to get mass transit and these other things

I love the look of those personal rapid transit vehicles. But from a practicality standpoint, all that required infrastructure (and in some cases air tubes and systems that support them), I just don't see where its cheaper than light rail. I didn't have to say a word, as the 7 people around the table spoke strongly about light rail and getting it now. I was very pleased to see the enthusiasm without prompting.

I'm sorry that I can't comment on the solutions the other groups came up with, but we were assured that the information would soon be posted to the City of Langley's website.

During the wrap-up a lady asked why if sustainability is all about planning and changing things for the future, why was the youngest person here last night 30 years old? Indeed most of us present were 40-65 and some well into their 70's and 80's. It is a sad reality and one that South Fraser OnTrax has come up against time and again. Each time we reached out to youth (or at least people in their 20's) to get involved in our meetings and events, it was like banging our heads against the wall.

One participant joked that our youth are busy talking on their iPhones. Maybe Apple could help us by releasing an iShake? It's time our youth shake out of their complacency - and sometimes self focus - OUCH! It's time they help shape their future an not abdicate that role to the older folks. It's time for multi-generational cooperation and sharing.

1 comment:

Mr_Grant said...

Two ideas in the PRT concept are (1) lightweight vehicles require smaller infrastructure, (2) no moving parts in the guideway (rail). Both factors drive down cost per mile. Thus the hope is that more miles of PRT can be built for the same (or less) cost of a conventional rail system.

Light rail is very attractive because it is a proven technology, but at today's prices it tends to be so expensive that only minimal trunk lines are affordable. Supplementing a light rail system with PRT could create city-wide transit coverage.

More information at