Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Another drive-thru in pedestrian-friendly Downtown Langley?

View of proposed Tim Hortons from Douglas Crescent.

Several years ago the City of Langley realigned 203rd Street, creating a new interaction at 56 Avenue, Douglas Crescent, and 203rd Street. Because of the realignment, an odd shaped parcel of land was created. This piece of land has sat vacant for many year, but now may be the home to a new drive-thru Tim Hortons.

The good news about this project is that the buildings best features front Douglas Crescent which helps with the City’s goal of transforming Douglas Crescent into a pedestrian street. The entrances to the store also front both 203rd Street and Douglas Crescent. The challenge with this project is that around 50% of the street frontage of both Douglas Crescent and 203rd Street is parking lot/drive-thru.

Site plan for proposed Tim Hortons. Click image to enlarge.

One of the City of Langley’s stated goals is to create a pedestrian-oriented downtown core. In order to create a pedestrian-oriented downtown core, the pedestrian environment has to be inviting. As I’ve posted many times, blank walls, drive-thrus, and parking lots all diminish the public realm. As the City wants build a storefront wall along Douglas Crescent, the Tim Hortons parking lot and drive-thru will limit this vision. On 203rd Street, pedestrians will be subject to idling vehicles as there is only a thin strip of landscaping between the sidewalk and the drive-thru. While this proposed Tim Hortons will created a pedestrian-friendly corner at 203rd and Douglas Crescent, the majority of street frontage will be parking lot or drive-thru.

The City of Langley has grown slower than other municipalities in Metro Vancouver. I wonder at times if this slower rate of development sometimes makes Council feel obligated to approve any new development proposal. Does it make sense to approve a project that is OK today, if it will prevent a great project from being built in five years time on the same site?

If the City of Langley truly wants to build a pedestrian-oriented downtown, Council will have to seriously reconsider its parking lot and drive-thru policies. Because since I’ve lived in Langley City, parking lots have been created in Downtown Langley at the expense of creating a quality, pedestrian-first public realm.


Tim said...

Why does there need to be drive thru? There is a perfectly functioning Tim Hortons at 88 Ave and Fraser Highway that has operated without a drive thru since the 1990's.

Why does every fast food joint need a drive thru? Eating and driving is not a good idea anyways.

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty challenging site and it looks like Tim Hortons did a pretty good job with the public realm and patio area out front. Also this building will be designed consistent with the new Commercial building to the east that First Capital is also developing. Obviously disappointing about the drive thru but thankfully the main entrance will still remain off Douglas east of the Tims.

Nathan Pachal said...

It is a challenging site. The biggest disappointment is that there will now be a permanent gap between the Tim Hortons and the new Commercial building.

Tim said...

Could have a triangular building: https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=triangle+building+vancouver&hl=en&ll=49.284131,-123.110046&spn=0.003246,0.006099&gl=ca&hq=triangle+building+vancouver&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=49.284196,-123.110144&panoid=oIO55_4-odVw9kpILzZMBg&cbp=12,128.13,,0,4.29