Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Langley Bypass, Auto Dealerships, and the City of Langley’s "Vision in Action"

One of the least accessible places in the South of Fraser is the Langley Bypass. East of 196th Street, the Bypass is entirely in the City of Langley; development on the north and south side of the Bypass are in the City. I’ve walked and cycled to many places in the City of Langley, but try to avoid the Bypass. This last weekend, I decided to walk the Bypass.

One of the first things that I noticed about the Langley Bypass is that the road actually isn’t that wide. The Bypass is about the same width as Glover Road or Fraser Highway, but because of its wide shoulders, lack of sidewalks in most sections, drainage culverts, and building setbacks, it seems much wider. Because the Bypass seems wider than other roads, motorist travel at higher speeds. In fact many motorist travel faster than the posted speed limit.

Most of the Bypass is a pedestrian no-go zone. When I legally crossed one intersection, I was almost struck by a motorist doing at least 50km/h while doing a left-hand turn. He was not looking for people in the intersection. I had to run out of the intersection.

Cycling is also risky. I wonder how many people would feel safe cycling in the same lane as motorist.

Share the Road sign at rail crossing on the Langley Bypass

The City of Langley posted a sign at an auto-dealership that is under construction at the corner of the Langley Bypass and Glover Road that reads “Our vision in action. Building for the future.”

City of Langley's “Our vision in action. Building for the future.” sign in front of under-construction high-end auto dealership.

This sign seem to say that the City of Langley is happy to build auto-orient, non-accessible development that is hostile to pedestrians and cyclists; development that is hard to serve by transit. This is certainly not my vision for the City of Langley.

I want the City of Langley to be a place where all people can travel safely around their community as first-class citizens. Their mode of transportation or level of physical mobility should not matter.

The City has installed sidewalk in some sections of the Bypass. There are other ways to make the Bypass more accessible while recognizing its important role as a trade corridor, though it will be many years before the Langley Bypass can be fully redeveloped.

In the meantime, it will be important to ensure that the build-form in the rest of the City of Langley redevelops in an accessible manner that puts people first. Sadly, it seems that many of the newer retail development projects, even off the Bypass, don’t put people first in the City of Langley.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Langley City had no vision when it came to the bypass. The bypass should have been left as a highway with little access points off of it. A finer grain network of streets should have paralleled it on both sides for business development that could have promoted walking and biking instead of the big box store extravaganza. There is no need for superblocks. It is unfortunate that developers only develop single use auto dominated developments when they could have incorporated mixed use development. The entire Willowbrook area should be redeveloped into a town centre focused on incorporating rapid transit.

For the rail crossing of the Langley bypass why didn't they just keep a wider area and pave an area outside of the barriers and crossing arms for cyclists and pedestrians? It looks like the intention is that pedestrians stay to the right, why not include cyclists instead they force them into traffic where they can flip over their handlebars in front of a semi to die. Great thinking.