Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not all residents want bike lanes removed for more parking in Willoughby

Of the things that can make people become irrational, parking has to be on the top of the list. Last Christmas, some people who live in Willoughby got up in arms when the Township of Langley removed temporary curb parking along 80th Avenue. This was part of a planned build-out of that corridor.

You can read more about this on previous blog posts, but the short of it is that there are only a few areas in the Yorkson part of Willoughby where on-street parking is fully utilized, even while much of the off-street parking remains empty. Further, Willoughby has off-street minimum parking requirements that would make suburban California communities blush.

Even though there is an abundance of parking in Willoughby, a small, but vocal group of residents are allegedly bullying both their neighbours and the Township to get even more parking. This small group of residences are demanding that bike lanes be removed to allow for more parking in Yorkson. This would be a big mistake if Township Council approved this in any form.

I was contact by one resident in the area that shared a letter she wrote to Township Council. She is concern about reprisal from her neighbourhoods, so she asked me to not use her name. I would like to share some parts of the letter she wrote.

I understand that we have 2-5 particularly vocal Yorkston South homeowners that insist they are representing those of us who live in the community. I can say with 100% certainty that is not the case. The petition they circulated is highly skewed. They did not only petition the residents along 80th that would be directly impacted by the change in parking regulations, they also spoke to homeowners that do not reside in the immediate area. In addition, their petition simply asked, would you like parking along 80th avenue? If you want a clearer representation of the opinion in the neighbourhood, you need to do a proper census to find out the following, how many people are residing in the single-family homes? How many have extended families and/or illegal suites? How many have illegal personal businesses being operated out of their homes? How many people are actually using the allotted 3 stalls for their intended purpose? These questions were NOT on the petition circulated, thus the information being presented to the Council and members of the community is extremely skewed and biased.

My husband and I purchased our home in April 2012. Never once did the developer or their employees mislead us regarding the parking regulations along 80th Avenue. In fact, my husband and I purposely bought our home, which is on 80th Avenue, due to the fact that we were told there would NOT be street parking but there would be bike lanes. We knew from the beginning what we were buying into, as would be the case for all individuals who purchased Yorkston South homes. People had the option of paying $20,000.00 more for a house on a quieter street that would have allowed them to have street parking in front of their residence. Those choosing not to take that offer knew full well what they were buying into. They made their choice and now they should have to live with it. If they have found they made the wrong decision for their family, perhaps they should move out of the neighbourhood and find one more suitable to their personal needs rather than trying to change an established neighbourhood.

As you are aware, all Yorkston South single-family homes have a double car garage and an outdoor parking stall. I would like to reiterate a major point from my original letter, which is many of the homeowners do not use their allotted parking. Some use their garages for storage and/or personal businesses.

I can offer two good examples. Firstly, [a] resident [on the 21100 block of] 79A Avenue currently owns 5 vehicles and typically uses 1 spot. Where do you suppose the remaining 4 vehicles are parked? Secondly, you will find it interesting that the homeowners located [on the 21100 block of] 80th Avenue are the exception because they actually have 4 spots. A double car garage, a single outdoor stall AND the apron off the garage large enough to accommodate a vehicle.

I am strongly in favour of the time limited parking along 79A Avenue and 80A Avenue. Perhaps you should go as far as including 211th street as well. On any given occasion you can go out and see the same vehicles parked on the street day after day. Time limited parking is a terrific idea and it will force homeowners to actually utilize the allotted parking they have for its intended purpose, not for storage and/or home businesses. The time limited parking will allow for the “visitor parking” certain residents are seeking. The fact that there is opposition to this viable option makes me think that certain residents are merely out for more personal parking rather than visitor parking.

I truly believe that any changes to the 80th avenue corridor to accommodate parking for a handful of residents is a monumental mistake. Langley has very few safe cycling lanes, which is partially why we are a so heavily dependent on our cars. Parking along 80th would entail eliminating the bike lanes along 80th avenue, thus endangering the cyclists who use this corridor. One of the few safe cycling corridors in the city!

If you believe that bike lanes should be preserved in Willoughby, please write or email Township Council today.

No comments: