Tuesday, October 2, 2012

City of Langley adopts new strategic plan

The City of Langley adopted their 2013 – 2017 strategic plan last night which is a rolling 5-year plan that outlines the City’s priorities. The City’s main areas of focus in the plan are:

Infrastructure: Continuous improvement and sustainability of our below ground, on the ground, and above ground infrastructure.

Quality of Life in Our City: services to people can be continuously improved in order to attract, retain, and serve citizens that will then champion our vision as “The Place to Be.”

Communication: communicating with our customers and partners, involving them in decisions which impact and interest them, and engaging them in public life.

Revitalization: of our downtown core, the visual impact of the public realm in our city, and enhance our sense of pride.

Environment: how we protect, preserve, restore, sustain, and enhance our environment.

Protective Services: ensuring our citizens feel safe and property is secure.

Organizational Development: investing in our organization, its people, its processes and financial sustainability.

The strategic plan contains 49 action items and there are a few items that I’d like to focus on. What I’m really excited about is the City’s renewed commitment to sustainable transportation. The City is in the process of updating its Master Transportation Plan (MTP). While the City’s current MTP includes cycling and walking, it's mostly auto-centric. Modern thought on sustainable transportation planning suggests focusing on transportation users in the following order: pedestrians, cyclist, public transit riders, commercial vehicles users, high-occupancy vehicle users, and single-occupancy vehicle users. I’m pleased that the City’s plan is to develop a MTP that will “includes opportunities to enhance pedestrian and cyclist transportation; advocate for and incent non-vehicular means of travel within our City.”

Along the same vein, the City will also be updating its parks and trail system plan with a focus on connecting to the regional network using “linear connectors both within and outside the city.” Right now we have a great east-west route via the Nicomekl Floodplain, but the City is currently missing a north-south route. The City will also be embarking on implementing its way finding strategy starting in 2014. The City will be undertaking the study and implementation of a parking strategy over the next few years. This might be one of the more controversial items in the City’s 5-year plan as talking about parking policy seem to make people go crazy.

Right now Downtown Langley's public realm (sidewalks, benches, lighting, etc) is getting long in the tooth. The City adopted a public realm strategy a few years ago, but it is being implemented piecemeal as new development projects come online. Next year, the City plans to develop a funding strategy which I hope will bring a more orderly update of the public realm.

The City’s strategic plan is heavily focused on sustainability which is a good thing. One of the more interesting goals will be the City’s plan to “explore the opportunity for a District Energy Utility.” In Downtown Surrey, the City of Surrey is requiring district energy which reduces GHG emissions and I think district energy would be a perfect fit for Downtown Langley as it redevelops.

The 5-year strategy contains a lot more information and I suggest that you check it out in the latest council agenda package.

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