Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Auto dealerships and minimum bicycling parking requirements

Last week, I posted about how the City of Langley was very excited to be getting a new auto dealership at the corner of Glover Road and the Langley Bypass. The City described the architecture of the dealership as combining “simplicity and elegance in a modernistic expression.” From how the City described this proposed auto dealership, one might assume that this is a special one-off design for our community. As it turns out, it's just the standard concept design for the auto brand. The proposed Langley dealership is an exact copy of a dealership which is being built on Terminal Avenue in Vancouver. I see it every weekday as I take the SkyTrain into work. Many municipalities try to discourage concept designs as they feel it takes away from the character of their community. For example, Surrey doesn't allow gas stations to use standard concept designs, and Fort Langley has very specific design requirements that also prevent the use of these standard designs.

There was one odd thing that I noticed when I looked at the site plan for the auto dealership last week; bicycle parking. I thought it was odd that an auto dealership would include bicycle parking, unless of course they were hoping people would arrive on bike and leave by car.

As it turns out, the City of Langley actually has minimum bicycle parking requirements, just like it has minimum car parking requirements.

For any mode of transportation to be successful, it needs to have trip terminal facilities and the actually infrastructure for travel. For SkyTrain, you need stations and a guideway; for driving, you need parking and roads; and for cycling, you need bike parking and bike lanes.

The City of Langley’s policy to require bicycle parking is meant to encourage cycling and make it a viable transportation choice. Unfortunately, many places in Langley are hostile for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users because they are design for cars and not people. I don’t know many people who would take a bike ride along the Langley Bypass.

It’s great that the City requires bicycle parking, but it also needs to build the travel infrastructure like protected bike lanes and off-street paths to truly make bicycling a viable mode of transportation. The City also needs to develop zoning that encourages walking, cycling, and transit use. As I posted about yesterday, there is work that needs to be done.

I looked into the Township of Langley’s zoning bylaw and it doesn’t appear that it has a minimum bicycling parking requirement.

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