Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 Priorities for Metro Vancouver Committees

Metro Vancouver, the regional association of local government, is controlled by various boards and committees whose members are local municipal politicians appointed by the region’s 24 local governments (people in the unincorporated parts of Metro Vancouver directly vote for a regional director.) In my final post of the year, I thought I’d share the highlights of the 2013 priorities for the various committees which I received from the Sustainable Communities Initiative.

Environment and Parks
-Develop a program to reduce emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles with partners.
-Develop a regional climate action fund to support greenhouse gas reduction projects.

Electoral Area A
-Clarify the responsibilities associated with the Barnston Island Dike transfer, a responsibility downloaded by the provincial government.

Regional Planning and Agriculture
-Coordinate and support municipalities to complete and submit the Regional context statements. (Within two years of the Board’s adoption of the Regional Growth Strategy, each member municipality must include in its Official Community Plan and have the Board approve a Regional Context Statement.)
-Identify tools for Industrial Intensification and Office Development.
-Complete a Household Vulnerability Booklet examining the cost of housing, transport, and energy on the workforce in the region and comparing across sub regions.

-Complete negotiations with BC Hydro for the additional drinking water withdrawals from Coquitlam Lake.
-Obtain provincial approval for the Joint Water Use Plan for the Seymour and Capilano Watersheds. This Plan outlines how hydropower can be generated from existing reservoirs.

-Develop a waste flow management strategy.
-Short list proponents for new Waste-to-Energy (WTE) capacity and implementation of the WTE capacity consultation and engagement program.
-Conclude a new electricity purchase agreement with BC Hydro for waste-to-energy facility in Burnaby.

-Ensure that Metro Vancouver positions the Lion’s Gate Waste Water Treatment Plant Upgrade project to receive maximum funding support.
-Complete of the Project Definition phase by the end of 2013 for Lions Gate project.
-Consider changes to the existing Sewer Cost Allocation model.

Aboriginal Relations
-Support and monitor treaty negotiations at the two active treaty tables in the region – Katzie and Tsleil-Waututh.
- Provide forums and other related opportunities, for member local governments and First Nations, such as a Community-to-Community Forum or a workshop on municipal and regional utility services.

-Prioritize redevelopment using the Corporation’s existing land base and searching for opportunities to redevelop.
-Continue consultant teamwork with staff on rezoning application for Heather Place to be submitted to City of Vancouver by mid-2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TransLink 3rd Quarter Ridership Way Up

Every quarter, the American Public Transit Association releases ridership statistics about transit agencies in North America. I was looking over the third quarter results for TransLink and was pleasantly surprised with the huge increase in bus ridership. Between 1999 and 2004 (with the exception of 2001 due to the transit strike), TransLink saw strong and sometimes double-digit growth in bus ridership. Between 2005 and 2011, TransLink saw modest or no growth in ridership in the bus network. The majority of ridership growth came from SkyTrain with 2010 being the strongest year.

While SkyTrain growth year-to-quarter has been a modest 1.2%, bus ridership has soared by 7.5% this year. Maybe all the service optimization that TransLink is doing is working or something else is at play? It will be exciting to see the year-end results for TransLink, but it is great to see that our bus service is being more productive. I wonder how much more productive it could be if TransLink was properly funded.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 15 and Bottom 15: TransLink Bus Routes in 2011

Back in October, the Province of BC released a performance audit of TransLink. One of the recommendations was to cut service on some of the 22 lowest performing routes. I was interesting in what routes those were, so I send a Freedom of Information request to the Province. I was told that the Province had no idea where that data came from and suggested I contact TransLink. I sent a Freedom of Information request to TransLink and they also had no idea where the data used for the Provincial audit of TransLink came from. They suggested that I look at the 2011 Bus System Performance Review. How much can you trust the Province of BC’s performance audit of TransLink if they don’t even know where their information came from?

Anyway, I have put together the top 15 and bottom 15 of a few of the performance categories from the 2011 Bus System Performance Review. I've also included frequent transit level South of Fraser bus routes and the 97 B-Line as reference.

2011 Annual Boardings

1.) Route 99 (UBC B-Line): 16,642,000
2.) Route 20 (Victoria/Downtown): 9,177,000
3.) Router 41 (Joyce Station/Crown/UBC): 8,460,000
4.) Route 9 (Broadway): 8,298,000
5.) Route 16 (29th Avenue Station/Arbutus): 6,891,000
6.) Route 3 (Main Street): 6,676,000
7.) Route 8 (Fraser Street): 6,573,000
8.) Route 22 (Knight/Macdonald): 6,046,000
9.) Route 135 (Burrard Station/SFU): 6,032,000
10.) Route 25 (Brentwood/UBC): 5,998,000
11.) Route 49 (Metrotown Station/Dunbar/UBC): 5,888,000
12.) Route 19 (Stanley Park/Metrotown): 5,875,000
13.) Route 14 (Hastings/Downtown/UBC): 5,766,000
14.) Route 106 (Metrotown Station/New Westminster Station): 5,242,000
15.) Route 410 (22nd Street Station/Railway): 4,750,000
18.) Route 319 (Scott Road Station/Newtown Exchange): 3,623,000
19.) Route 321 (Surrey Central/White Rock): 3,623,000
20.) Route 97 (Coquitlam B-Line): 3,392,000
24.) Route 320 (Surrey Central/Guildford/Fleetwood/Langley): 3,148,000
26.) Route 502 (Surrey/Langley): 3,055,000
48.) Route 351 (Bridgeport Station/Crescent Beach): 1,313,000
201.) Route C94 (Richmond Oval/Richmond-Brighouse Station): 22,000
202.) Route C84 (English Bluff/South Delta Exchange): 20,000
203.) Route C48 (Thonhill/Haney Place): 18,000
204.) Route C89 (Boundary Bay/South Delta Exchange): 18,000
205.) Route 608 (Ladner Ring): 17,000
206.) Route C19 (UBC/Alma): 17,000
207.) N/A
208.) Route C87 (East Ladner/Ladner Exchange): 16,000
209.) Route C88 (Ladner North/Ladner Exchange): 16,000
210.) Route 259 (Lions Bay/Horseshoe Bay): 11,000
211.) N/A
212.) N/A
213.) Route 606 (Ladner Ring): 10,000
214.) N/A
215.) Route C99 (Port Royal/Hamilton): 8,000
216.) Route C90 (Bridgeport Station/Sea Island North): 2,000
217.) Route 231 (Harbourside/Lonsdale Quay): 2,000
218.) Route 609 (Tsawwassen First Nation/South Delta Exchange: N/A
218.) Route C10 (Bluewater/Snug Cove): N/A
218.) Route C11 (Eaglecliff/Snug Cove): N/A

2011 Average Capacity Utilization

1.) Route 16 (29th Avenue Stn/Arbutus): 232%
2.) Route 25 (Brentwood Station/UBC): 188%
3.) Route 7 (Dunbar/Nanaimo Station): 186%
4.) Route 49 (Metrotown Station/Dunbar/UBC): 184%
5.) Route 19 (Stanley Park/Metrotown): 180%
6.) Route 99 (UBC B-Line): 179%
7.) Route 41 (Joyce Station/UBC): 179%
8.) Route 22 (Knight Macdonald): 172%
9.) Route 14 (Hastings/Downtown/UBC): 163%
10.) Route 9 (Broadway): 163%
11.) Route 16 (Metrotown Station/New Westminster Station): 161%
12.) Route 410 (22nd Street Station/Railway): 157%
13.) Route 4 (UBC/Powell): 135%
14.) Route 20 (Victoria/Downtown): 135%
15.) Route 341 (Guildford/Langley Centre): 120%
17.) Route 502 (Surrey/Langley): 109%
26.) Route 319 (Scott Road Station/Newtown Exchange): 100%
27.) Route 320 (Surrey Central/Guildford/Fleetwood/Langley): 96%
39.) Route 321 (Surrey Central/White Rock): 89%
65.) Route 97 (Coquitlam B-Line): 68%
88.) Route 351 (Bridgeport Station/Crescent Beach): 57%
187.) Route C94 (Richmond Oval/Richmond-Brighouse Station): 10%
188.) Route 608 (Ladner Ring): 10%
189.) Route C60 (Langley Hospital/Langley Centre): 9%
190.) Route C99 (Port Royal/Hamilton): 9%
191.) Route C84 (English Bluff/South Delta Exchange): 8%
192.) N/A
193.) Route C22 (Hampton Place/UBC Loop): 8%
194.) Route C40 (Port Coquitlam Station/Meridian): 8%
195.) Route C89 (Boundary Bay/South Delta Exchange): 8%
196.) Route C90 (Bridgeport Station/Sea Island North): 7%
197.) N/A
198.) N/A
199.) Route C88 (Ladner North/Ladner Exchange: 5%
200.) Route C87 (East Ladner/Ladner Exchange): 5%
201.) Route 606 (Ladner Ring): 2%

2011 Average Load

1.) Route 99 (UBC B-Line): 68
2.) Route 44 (UBC/Downtown): 54
3.) Route 135 (Burrard Station/SFU): 49
4.) Route 43 (Joyce Station/UBC): 47
5.) Route 49 (Metrotown Station/Dunbar/UBC): 46
6.) Route 145 (SFU/Production Station): 44
7.) Route 395 (King George Station/Willowbrook): 42
8.) Route 241 (Vancouver/Upper Lonsdale): 41
9.) Route 41 (Joyce/UBC): 40
10.) N/A
11.) Route 410 (22nd Street Station/Railway): 37
12.) Route 25 (Brentwood Station/UBC): 37
13.) Route 502 (Surrey/Langley): 37
14.) Route 20 (Victoria/Downtown): 35
15.) Route 240 (Vancouver/15th Street): 35
16.) Route 97 (Coquitlam B-Line): 35
24.) Route 320 (Surrey Central/Guildford/Fleetwood/Langley): 33
36.) Route 321 (Surrey Central/White Rock): 30
45.) Route 319 (Scott Road Station/Newton Exchange): 28
91.) Route 351 (Bridgeport Station/Crescent Beach): 20
187.) Route C84 (English Bluff/South Delta Exchange): 3
188.) Route C3 (Fraserview/New Westminster Station): 3
189.) N/A
190.) Route C40 (Port Coquitlam Station/Meridian): 2
191.) Route C64 (Willowbrook/Langley Centre): 2
192.) Route C22 (Hampton Place/UBC Loop): 2
193.) Route C63 (Fernridge/Langley Centre): 2
194.) Route C94 (Richmond Oval/Richmond-Brighouse Station): 2
195.) Route C61 (Brookswood/Langley Centre): 2
196.) Route C89 (Boundary Bay/South Delta Exchange): 2
197.) Route C8 (Quayside/New Westminster Station): 2
198.) Route C60 (Langley Hospital/Langley Centre): 2
199.) Route C90 (Bridgeport Station/Sea Island North): 1
200.) Route C99 (Port Royal/Hamilton): 1
201.) Route C88 (Ladner North/Ladner Exchange): 1
202.) Route C87 (East Ladner/Ladner Exchange): 1

According to TransLink:

Average Capacity Utilization - Utilization of the passenger capacity provided (Boardings per Trip / Vehicle Capacity). Values higher 100% indicate passenger turnover i.e. the same number of spaces being occupied by multiple passengers along the route.

Average Load - How full does the bus get on an average trip (e.g. on an average trip, route 25 carries approximately 37 passengers along the busiest segments of the route).

Monday, December 17, 2012

City of Langley Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy

The City of Langley recently commissioned Colliers International to develop a brownfield redevelopment strategy to support the City’s Downtown Master Plan. The brownfield strategy focuses on land outlined in red on the following map which includes some land in the mixed-use Downtown zone.

Red Outline = Opportunity for Redevelopment. Black Outline = Downtown Langley. Click map to enlarge.

The City of Langley owes much of its industrial land-use to the relocation of the rail line to its current alignment and the construction of the Langley Bypass. BC Hydro led the industrialization of the City of Langley starting in the 1960’s though that land base has been slowly eroded by strip mall development along the Langley Bypass since the 1980’s. While lower paying retail trade is now the number one job type in the City, higher paying manufacturing jobs are still the number two job type in the City. The strategy notes this and that the City should be aware of this as it redevelops.

Brownfield sites are abandoned, vacant, derelict or underutilized land. In the City of Langley, this is the only type of development opportunity currently available. Unlike greenfield sites, brownfield sites may carry a higher-risk and higher-development cost. Colliers identified a number of challenges which may prevent the redevelopment of brownfield sites in the City. One of the major barriers to brownfield site redevelopment is the risk of site contamination, and the cost and delay associated with site cleanup. Another barrier is if the land is still being used; it may not make financial sense for the industrial business to relocate. In order to offset the cost of cleanup and/or relocation, a higher-value land use like high density residential must be allowed or site cleanup won’t make financial sense. While not highlighted in the Colliers strategy, aging municipal infrastructure is also a barrier to redevelopment as water, sewer, and power may need to be upgraded or replaced which is another cost that the developer must front.

Colliers suggests the following tools that the City could use to help be a catalyst for redevelopment:

-Establish a City-owned municipal development corporation (Surrey has one.)
-Perform a blanked contamination risk assessment.
-Perform a detail inventory of potential redevelopment sites which would be monitored and inventory updated.
-Provide tax exemption in the form of a time-limited reduction of property tax or waiving of development fees.
-Prioritize brownfield redevelopment in the planning process.
-Promote interim uses like pocket parks, public art, etc.
-Update zoning to allow for higher-value land-uses. (One of the barrier to higher-density use in the City is unstable deep soil conditions which makes very high density development more expensive than in other areas.)

One of the things that concerns me about the strategy is that it seems to suggest that Langley City look at converting its brownfield sites to auto-oriented office parks. This would be a big mistake considering the sites are within walking distance of Fraser Highway which is a high-frequency transit corridor and will likely support rapid transit in the near future.

The final pages of the strategy outlines some of the threats to redevelopment opportunity in Langley City which includes the increased focus of the development community on SkyTrain station areas, other transit improvement like the Evergreen Line, and the Port Mann Bridge toll.

It would seem that getting rapid transit to Langley City needs to be a priority to promote redevelopment.

The brownfield redevelopment strategy will be presented at tonight's council meeting, and will be posted to the City’s website shortly. City staff will then start developing actionable items from the strategy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crosswalks in Fort Langley

Recently, the Township of Langley installed a pedestrian overpass above the CN rail line through Fort Langley which connects Bedford Landing with the rest of the community. With the new overpass in place, local residents figured that crosswalks should be installed at the roads nearest the overpass as shown in the map below.

Due to residents’ concerns about the safety, Township Council directed staff to look at the possibility of installing marked, signed, and lite crosswalks.

According to the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual (Manual), marked crosswalks are recommended when there are about 800 vehicles through the proposed crossing site during a peak hour and about 20 pedestrians. It turns out that there are enough pedestrians to warrant a crosswalk, but not enough cars. Staff found that during a peak hour at 96th Avenue and Edal Street, there were 566 vehicles. At Billy Brown and Singh Street, there were 129 vehicles during a peak hour. Installing the crosswalks could be perceived as a waste of money as there is not enough vehicle traffic, though I wonder if installing the crosswalks would encourage more people to walk.

If there are not enough pedestrians at a proposed crossing location, installing a marked crosswalk can actually make things more dangerous “as the low pedestrian activity can lead to motorists not expecting pedestrians to be at the location, which can lead to motorists disregarding the crossing resulting in reduced pedestrian safety.” There is safety in numbers.

So if there is safety in numbers that means that we need to build communities that actually make people want to walk. In Fort Langley, it amazes me that there are still streets with no sidewalks. New mixed-use projects like Coulter Berry will certainly encourage more walking, but providing a safe and enjoyable walking environment is also key. The provisioning of sidewalks and trails should be a priority in the urban areas of the Township.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Solid Waste Management - Food Waste in the City of Langley

As a region, Metro Vancouver has adopted the aggressive goal of diverting 70% of solid waste (garbage) from going to landfill by 2015 and 80% by 2020. This is an aggressive goal, but important in reducing our region’s ecological footprint. To meet the 2015 diversion goal, the region expects that 30% of waste from multi-family housing and 65% from single-family housing will be diverted from landfill (the 70% goal is met by higher diversion rates in the commercial, industrial, and construction sectors.)

Food waste comprises 21% of the solid waste that goes to landfill. Metro Vancouver set the goal of requiring municipalities to setup curb-side kitchen scrap removal by 2012 for single-family housing and 2015 for multi-family housing. Municipalities like Surrey and the Township of Langley have implemented this system for single-family housing, and now the City of Langley will be rolling out a program. According to a press release from the City:

The City of Langley is pleased to announce the start of the New GreenCan Program for Kitchen Organic Waste beginning January 2nd, 2013 for all Single Family Residence’s in the City of Langley.

1. Add Kitchen Food Scraps to your GreenCan
- Beginning January 2, 2013, mix food scraps in with your yard trimmings and reduce the amount of garbage going to a landfill.

2. REVISED Garbage Collection Schedule
- Beginning January 2, 2013, garbage will be collected every other week (bi-weekly)
- Watch for the 2013 Recycling, GreenCan and Garbage Collection Schedule delivered to your door this month.

What’s really sad though is that the multi-family housing has such low diversion rate goal especially for a compact region like Metro Vancouver where a good portion of us live in multi-family housing. Maybe it is because those big garbage bins are just so easy to put things into. Clearly, something needs to change with how waste is handled with multi-family.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

When the SkyTrain goes down, information is key

Every so often the SkyTrain has technical difficulties, police incidents, and medical emergencies which prevents service from running. It happens a few times every year and when it does, chaos for transit riders normally ensues. I was subject to such a breakdown on Sunday. There was a track problem that resulted in Gateway, Surrey Central, and King George SkyTrain station being shutdown. When I got off the bus at King George, I was greeted by a closed station with no information. I ran back onto the bus (as did everyone else) to Surrey Central. At Surrey Central the station was also closed, but at least there was a flip-board sign that said a bus bridge to connect to the functioning parts of SkyTrain was in place though it didn’t mention where to get on the bus. Luckily, I found the bus because it said “Special” and was surrounded by TransLink security. Anyway, I got thinking that there has got to be a better way to handle these situations which will come up from time-to-time.

I can’t remember where, maybe Downtown Calgary, but they actually had permanent signage in place for bus shuttle service when their rail system had a disruption of service. This would be extremely usefully in Vancouver too. Instead of the mass confusion that occurs when the SkyTrain goes down, TransLink would already have signage installed that says “In the event of SkyTrain disruption, please use bus shuttle service from Bay 1”. There would be clear signage at the SkyTrain station entrances and at the shuttle bus bay. They could even make the signs a highly visible colour. When the next disruption occurs, people would see the signage and know where to get service to complete their journey. Riders may not get as confused or worked up. It would also show that TransLink is prepared for this kind of stuff and may improve customers’ perspectives of the agency.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lawyer's Letters, Growth Strategies, and the Trinity Western University District

Controversy and legal ambiguity still surround the proposed Trinity Western University District in the Township of Langley. One of the central issues is whether the Township is still under the old Metro Vancouver regional growth strategy or the new regional growth strategy. The Township does not believe it will be under the new regional growth strategy until it adopts new regional context statements which show how the Township’s Official Community Plan aligns with the new regional growth strategy.

The old regional growth strategy had a Green Zone which was meant to protect “Greater Vancouver’s natural assets, including major parks, watersheds, ecologically important areas and resource lands such as farmland. It also establishes a long-term growth boundary.” The Green Zone, while a good idea, had some implementation issues as there were questions around what land was actually in the Green Zone, what land-use would be allowed within the green zone, and how land could be added or removed from the Green Zone. The old regional growth plan also lacked enforcement tools.

The new regional growth strategy shifts to a clearly defined urban containment boundary, has policies about what land-use is allowed within and outside the urban containment boundary, and has a stronger policy and enforcement framework.

Under the new regional growth strategy, the Trinity Western University District would be subject to a regional process and a vote by the Metro Vancouver board to approve the district, so it would make sense that the Township wants to be under the old regional growth strategy (with its ambiguities) to push this plan through.

On November 6th, Andrew Gage of West Coast Environmental Law sent a letter to the Township with his opinion that the Township should interpretation its existing regional context statements under the new region growth strategy. In reply a letter dated December 3rd, Lidstone & Company (Township lawyers) disagree as they believe that the Township is still under the old regional growth strategy.

With all this legal back and forth over the proposed Trinity Western University District, I wonder if the spirit of both the new and old regional growth strategies which are to preserve green space has been lost. The Trinity Western University District will create a new community on former rural land which many would consider sprawl and not the protection of the original green zone.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Port Metro Vancouver project no longer subject to environmental assessment

In October, I posted about how the federal government under Harper's Conservatives has fundamentally redefined environmental legislation, and how the effects of that change are already being felt in Langley. Now Delta will start to feel the effects of the change to Canada’s environmental protection laws. Port Metro Vancouver is currently working on a Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Improvement Project. This is not the same as the proposed Terminal Two project. You can see a list of proposed projects below.

Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Improvement Project. Click image to enlarge.

This summer, the Port no longer became required to complete an environmental assessment for the proposed set of projects due to the replacement of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Port decided to continue with the environmental assessment process which generated a list of 29 recommendations to reduce the environmental impact of the projects. While the Port decided to do right by the environment, I can’t imagine that others will or that the Port will continue to do so in the future unless required by law.

I don’t think that people fully realize how much weaker the protection of the Canadian environment has become. The tragedy is that a healthy society cannot exist without a healthy environment, and the federal government is slowly taking the tools away to protect and promote a healthy environment.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Water Supply Expansion in the Township

Some of the most expensive infrastructure in our community is buried underground and maybe because of that gets very little attention. It is our water and sewer infrastructure, and in our region it will become one of the most expensive capital line items on budgets in the coming years. Besides the general expansion of water and sewer infrastructure to accommodate growth in the region, much of the current infrastructure was installed in the mid-20th century when they only designed infrastructure to last 50-years (today infrastruture is designed to last about 100 years). In the Township of Langley, Council received a list of Pre-Approval 2013 Capital Projects. These projects may be approved before the 2013 budget is formally approved. Of the $28 million requested, $19 million is for water and sewer infrastructure. The two big tickets items are the East Langley Water Supply project at $11.7 million and Maple Ridge Pump Station at $5 million. These costs are just the pre-approval costs and don’t represent the full cost of the projects.

Interesting enough water and sewer project like the East Langley Water Supply project are actually what enables sprawl (more so than roads), so will Salmon River/Uplands in rural Langley be ripe for development once this project is complete?

Speaking about water supply, there is a petition from residents of South Milner to expand water service in their area. A local area service tax zone would be created to share the $4 million cost of this expansion between 88 properties.

Proposed South Milner Water Distribution Expansion Project

The long range plan is to connect this proposed distribution system with the Murrayville distribution network along 216 Street which is where the East Langley Water Supply main will be built.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

4-way Stops and Common Sense

One of the interesting things about common sense is that it often finds itself at odds with facts. This is especially true when it comes to urban issues. Unfortunately politicians sometime pander to common sense logic instead of basing their decisions on facts. A perfect example of this presented itself at the Township of Langley November 26th Afternoon Council Meeting.

Township Council passed a motion at the September 17th Evening Council Meeting to have staff look at installing a 4-way stop at 197 Street and Wakefield Avenue due to public concerns about speeding and rat-running. There are three common sense ideas that this motion used: 4-way stops makes intersections safer, handle traffic better, and reduce speeding. Reality dictates otherwise.

According to research:

-Safety of pedestrians is decreased at unwarranted multi-way stops especially small children due to non-compliance with the Stop sign.
-Stop signs do not significantly change the safety of the intersection. Stop signs are installed with the anticipation that they will make intersection and neighbourhood safer.
-Multi-way stops do not control speeds.
-Unwarranted multi-way stops may present potential liability problems for undocumented exceptions to accepted warrants. Local jurisdictions feel they may be incurring higher liability exposure by “violating” the MUTCD. Many times the unwarranted stop signs are installed without a warrant study or some documentation.
-Speeding problems are associated with “through” traffic. Frequently homeowners feel the problem is created by “outsiders.” Many times the problem is the person complaining or their neighbour.

Reading into the research a bit further, it shows that stops signs when used as speed control devices actually increase speeding. The most interesting thing for me is that people commonly blaming “the other” for everything wrong with their community instead of realizing that we collectively part of the problem and can be collectively part of the solution.

Over the years, I’ve come to question common sense logic because more often than not it is based on assumptions and not research.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Duffy Hill Development at 200th Street and 68th Avenue

In early November a public hearing was held for a proposed multi-building, multi-phase development at 68th Avenue and 200th Street called Duffy Hill. The project has been controversial as some neighbours are concerned that the people who will occupy the five/six-storey apartments will overwhelm local schools with children and/or commit crime at a higher rate than people who live in single-family housing and townhouses in the area. The project appears to be proceeding and I thought I would share some of the site plans and renders for the project.

Maximum Height for Various Buildings in Duffy Hill Development

Duffy Hill Development Cross Section
Example Duffy Hill Apartment Elevation

The developer has buffered the apartment buildings by providing a step down in height around the buildings with other housing types that match the height of existing building. Because the apartments will be built on a hillside, they will not be towering above other buildings in the area. The most interesting part of the project will be the restoration of Jeffrieds Brook and the accompanying trail infrastructure around it.

555 Bus Service over the new Port Mann

This weekend the Port Mann bridge opened with eight-lanes for traffic and the new 555 express bus service started between Braid SkyTrain and the 202 Street Park and Ride in Langley. Apparently Township of Langley Councillor Steve Ferguson was very excited about the new bus service and at 6:30am on Saturday claims to be the very first revenue passenger of the new service.

Township of Langley Councillor Steve Ferguson boarding the 555.

Update: I have been informed that Councillor Ferguson did step on the bus for its first run, but got off the bus before it left the Park and Ride.