Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More tales from Car-Friendly Downtown Langley

This weekend, like most weekends, I walked 5 minutes from my apartment to Downtown Langley to enjoy some food at one of the local restaurants. Maybe it was because of my post last week about the how the auto trumps the pedestrian in Downtown Langley, but when I posted about how a Councillor thought that Douglas Park should have a bigger parking lot, I didn’t realize that parking appears to be allowed on the grass in the park today.

On the south side of Douglas Park is the lawn bowling club. The grass to the north of the club also serves as their parking lot. While I understand that the lawn bowling club requires space for parking, why does it come at the expense of public, pedestrian friendly green space which is a limited resource north of the Nicomekl Floodplain?

The saddest thing I saw on that same day was a pedestrian struck by a vehicle at one of the drive-thru ABMs in Downtown Langley. This bank provides an outside ABM for motorist, but provides no after-hours ABM for pedestrians. This means that in order to do your banking, you must walk-thru the drive-thru. I have even done this in the past. I believe that drive-thrus have no place in an area that is supposed to put a priority on pedestrians and other active forms of transportation. Drive-thrus can be deadly.

I love Langley City and believe it has the history as the traditional centre of Langley and all the right plans to become a great pedestrian-friendly town centre. It frustrates me that people still don’t see that the future of the City revolves around people.

I grew up in the City of Vernon which had a population around the size of Langley when they built their mixed-use parkade (shops on the ground level.) I think this is what Downtown Langley needs. It would provide ample parking that the merchants believe they need and would allow the City to develop a pedestrian friendly core which is critical for its long-term viability. In my home town, the merchants agreed to tax themselves to build this infrastructure. In fact in Vernon, they actually agreed to reduce the travel lanes on their main street to build bigger sidewalks. If a City in the Okanagan can do this in the 1980's, surely a City in Metro Vancouver can do this today.


Blair said...

As an able-bodied, single man with no small children I can understand why you may be loathe to use drive-thrus but they serve an important purpose for families and and the disabled.

Consider the man in the wheelchair who just wants to get money and a coffee. The process of getting in and out of the car dismounting the wheelchair and going inside is incredibly time-consuming and difficult. Give him a drive-thru and he is as able as the next man.

Similarly consider the mother with three small kids who needs money from the bank. She is not allowed to leave the kids in the car so must go through the entire process of getting kids out of the car, getting strollers for the infant....etc...

Life for some is hard enough as it is, eliminating drive-thrus will only make it harder.

Rob Bittner said...

That may be true, but should there not be options available for those who wish to go through an ATM without fear of being run over?

Blair said...

I am going to guess that "struck" is a bit of an exaggeration as the papers are pretty good about reporting when people are struck by cars and this is the sort of "man bites dog" story that would get a lot of press. I'm going to guess that the pedestrian was nudged by an annoyed driver who thought that the person was hanging iout in front of the ATM. As you may know there have been recent stories about folks being robbed at ATMs and the driver may have been paranoid.

Regardless, the nudging was simply a foil for the point about drive-thrus. My point being that they serve a useful role in our society that able-bodied young men will often miss in their rush to judgement.

Nathan Pachal said...

The pedestrian was struck hard enough to require to be carried away in on a stretcher in an ambulance. There were also two RCMP cruiser on the scene as well.

Blair said...

I stand corrected, my apologies.