Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Employment Density

One of the misconceptions about building transit-friendly cities is that you need big towers everywhere. In the City of Langley, 4-story apartments are being approved almost monthly. The latest proposal (p. 26) will see 80 units per acre. This is more than enough density to support transit service from bus to rail. One thing that we do well at as a region is residential density. Of course for effective public transit, you need employment density as well. I could argue that employment density is even more important. If you can't take transit to work, it doesn't matter is you live in the tallest tower in the region.

Employment density is an area that the South of Fraser struggles with; just look at the Langley Bypass. In Metro Vancouver, 38% of our employment lands can't be served effectively with transit. While uping density in residential areas can create political issues, designing transit-friendly and mixed-used employment areas should be a no-brainer. Areas like Willowbrook and Carvolth Business Park (200th St by Highway 1) are the real areas we need to look at improving in Langley. Willowbrook has already seen a few mixed-used development with more on the way, but according to the plan for Carvolth, mixed-use is not even on the table! This must change if we want to see employment density that supports sustainable communities.

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