Thursday, November 27, 2014

City of Langley's New Master Transportation Plan

On November 2nd, during this last election campaign, Langley City Council adopted a new Master Transportation Plan. This plan lays out the vision for the City’s transportation network over the next decade. The previous Master Transportation Plan was adopted in 2004.

While some people think that master plans are set in stone, they are actually guiding documents. Council can choose to move forward with some of the recommendations in these plans, while ignoring others. Council can also shift priorities in these plans, funding “long-term” projects before “short-term” projects. Council could also move forward with projects that are not even in these plans. For example, the City of Langley contributed $8.4 million toward the new Fraser Highway Bridge at 208th Street even though it was not in the previous Master Transportation Plan.

City of Langley Sidewalk Priorities. Select map to enlarge.

One of the most exciting aspects of this plan is that it is heavily focused on improving accessibility for pedestrians in the City. In fact, $10.5 million of the estimated $21.4 million in capital costs in the Master Transportation Plan is to improve walking. The single largest focus of this transportation plan is to ensure that sidewalks are provided on both sides of every street in the City. The plan also suggests funding crosswalk improvements in the community.

While the new Master Transportation Plan talks about the need to widen existing sidewalks in some parts of the community, I don’t see that translated into any funded projects in the Plan.

The plan also recommends installing audible signals, countdown times, and bicycle pushbuttons for most traffic signals in the City.

City of Langley Recommended Bicycle Network. Select map to enlarge.

The proposed enhancements to cycling infrastructure in the new Master Transportation Plan are disappointing. City of Langley Council has a poor track record of improving cycling infrastructure in the community. While the majority of new road projects include bike lanes, Council has consistently denied funding to fill in the cycling network, leaving a patchwork of bike lanes. A network is needed in order for people to actually consider cycling. In order for the majority of people to consider cycling, off-street trails and separated bike lanes are a must. The Master Transportation Plan sets aside $3.7 million for cycling improvements, though most of it is relegated to the “long-term” funding category which is code for “not going to happen anytime soon.”

There is some good news though, the Master Transportation Plan has identified 203rd Street and Michaud Crescent as short-term priorities for bike lanes. I hope that City Council will show some vision and put bike lanes on these corridors as it will allow for at least one north/south cycling corridor and an east/west corridor.

Bike lanes don’t feel safe for seniors, children, or women. To make cycling safer, and to attract more people to cycle in the City, building separated bike lanes is a must, but there are none proposed in the Master Transportation Plan.

The Master Transportation Plan proposes to spend $5.2 million on changes to the road network. Short-term priorities included reconfiguring keys intersection in the City to improve traffic flow for automobiles.

City of Langley Proposed Road Network Changes. Select map to enlarge.

Longer-term projects including spending $1.7 million to widen 200th Street between the Langley Bypass and Fraser Highway. The Plan also suggests advocating for the province to widen the Langley Bypass to six-lanes between 200th Street and Fraser Highway.

One of the more interesting long-term road projects is to realign Grade Crescent for $1.26 million. One of the proposed options would see the City bulldoze people’s homes for this realignment.

50th Avenue/Grade Crescent Realignment Options.

While the City has very little control over transit, as it is the responsibility of TransLink, the Master Transportation Plan identifies $2.0 million in projects. These projects include moving towards making 100% of the City’s 121 bus stops fully accessible for people with disabilities. These projects also include improving bus stop lighting and improving or installing new bus shelters.

If you want to see the full details of the new Master Transportation Plan, the City of Langley has posted it online.


D. Hall said...

An "option" is just that and if it hasn't been embraced since first offered in 2004 does this necessitate such inflamatory comment about house bulldozing? With regard to improved cycling infrastructure, segregated bike lanes would also necessitate expensive land acquisition. Do you have some solutions to overcome this hurdle?

Nathan Pachal said...

If the City has no plan for the realignment option, why was it not removed during the recent update? As for bike lanes, there is ample ROW on 203, 53, and Michaud to support separated bike lanes, sidewalks, parking and thru lanes. No land acquisition would be needed.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. 203rd is prime to become a north-south cycling/pedestrian corridor right up to Grade Cres with no land acquisition needed. This would be a great option for the City of Langley to show some vision going forward and help enhance the walkability and cycling infrastructure of the City with separated lanes down 203rd. In my opinion, this would also help connect the residents that live South of the Nicomekl with Downtown.

D. Hall said...

I didn't say there were "no Plans" -- grde/200th and Grade/approach to high knoll has a proposed syncronized signalization that might make this realignment moot.
As for 203 cycling route the new plan acknowledges the route but does not identify a segregation design/technology. What do you favour? --- The master Plan is a living/modifiable document.

Nathan Pachal said...

There are many great examples of cost-effective separated bike lanes. Here is one picture from Chicago.