Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cycling Budget in Langley

Since this is budget season, I though I'd take a look at how Langley is funding cycling.

In the City of Langley's capital budget, they will be spending $0 on exclusive cycling projects in 2011 and 2012. To be fair all major projects like the Fraser River Bridge, 208th Street Improvements, and new Roberts Bank project have cycling built into the project.

In the Township of Langley $176,000 (0.2% of the total transportation budget) was for exclusive cycling projects and it might be cut to $0 this year. Again all new road construction in the Township has cycling lanes built in and there will be cycling provisions at the new Park and Ride by Highway 1.

Not surprising, cycling in chronically underfunded. Langley is an interesting community with very rural and very urban areas. With the feedback I've received from working with the Greater Langley Cycling Coalition, there are two types of cycling improvements people would like to see on the road. The first would be cycling lanes and even separated bike lane on busy urban corridors. In the rural parts of Langley, the cycling community would like to see "share the road" signage, but are opposed to bike lanes. This makes sense.

I was having a chat with someone over breakfast this morning and he was telling me how he thought bike lanes were stupid. I agreed with him that installing bike lanes in rural areas may not be the best thing to do, but they are important for urban areas. The South of Fraser is one of the fast growing parts of the region and there is simply no space to expand the local roads in the urban parts (they aren't going to build a freeway through the centre of Surrey or Langley.) I've looked at the transportation plans and with the exception of expanding all the major roads to 4 lanes, what you see today is pretty much it. A planner from Surrey told me that he has embraced cycling because he doesn't see how he can keep people moving with an auto-only transportation system. When you look at the success of Downtown Vancouver it is not because the city installed a freeways or increased parking, it because the City embraced walking, cycling, transit, and place-making.

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