Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The 200th street that could have been

Back in 2006, UBC's School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture launched Sustainability by Design (SxD). The effort envisioned what Metro Vancouver might look like in 2050 without eroding our livability. 200th Street was one of the corridors studied and SxD produced a report on how to build it more sustainably.

Mixed-use nodes along 200th Street.
Nodes are points of dense land use connected to each other and to surrounding residential neighbourhoods by important community corridors. Nodes are complete communities, each including residential, business/commercial, recreation, and ecological land uses. They evolve with different overall densities and characters over time, but the five-minute walking distance generally defines a node’s size, with density decreasing with increased distance from the centre. In a well designed community the edges of nodes overlap, placing all residents within a five-minute walk of their daily needs.

Connecting the nodes, 200th Street is a multiway boulevard that accommodates pedestrians, cyclists, rapid transit, commuters, and goods movement within a safe and well-designed street section. Detailed articulation of the street section changes in response to surrounding context, encouraging slower traffic flow so that pedestrian crossings can occur every 200 metres within nodes.

Multi-Lane Boulevard - 200th Street

It's been five years since this study was released and not much of this vision has been translated into anything on the ground. While some on council have expressed interest in making 200th Street into a mixed-use corridor, it seems like it's turning into a 8-lane highway more than anything. I don't think that 200th Street is a complete write-off just yet, but I believe that the next council will seal the fate of the corridor as a highway or start the process transforming 200th Street into something better.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I think part of why it has become a "highway" is because the road infrastructure in Langley is quite lacking option wise. You really only seem to have 200th as an option going North/South. North of the hill it becomes highway like but south of the hill towards the bypass it is just a nightmare. Not only is it wide and a pain to traverse but the traffic load and light timings mean it takes 15+ minutes just to go 10 blocks sometimes.

I've often been stuck trying to turn left at the bypass onto 200th to get to the Home Depot and it takes me more time to do that stretch than it did for me to drive from 160th and Fraser Highway in Surrey to the left turn on the bypass. It's horrible!

So in addition to pushing to make the road much smarter and at the North end focus more on sustainability, I do think Langley has to really tackle its road infrastructure and make it smarter. The tracks through the center do present a challenge but there are far too many no-through roads everywhere that make you have to zig and zag in circles to get anywhere.

I'd love to see the North section of 200th near HW1 though not be 10 or so blocks of open fields with 1 or 2 building here and there. It's been that way for far too long.