Monday, December 1, 2014

City of Langley’s Master Transportation Plan fails to address existing sidewalks

Last Thursday, I posted about the City of Langley’s new Master Transportation Plan. One of the great things about the plan is that, if funded by Council, it will result in sidewalk coverage on both sides of almost every street in the City. The authors of the Master Transportation plan note that:

Sidewalk clear width of less than 1.5m is generally considered quite narrow, where walking in single file may be necessary when passing other pedestrians. Sidewalk clear widths of 1.5 to 2.0m can improve pedestrian accessibility and comfort, and clear widths greater than 2.0m (i.e. what is seen in many areas of Downtown) can comfortably accommodate many pedestrians and make for a more pleasant walking experience.
Wider sidewalks (greater than 1.5m) should be concentrated in Downtown, around schools and multi-family areas where more people are and can be attracted to walking.

One of the things that I find odd about the new Master Transportation Plan is that it doesn’t include widening sidewalks on key pedestrian corridors.

The west sidewalk on 203rd Street around 54th Avenue has to be one of narrowest and most dangerous sections of sidewalk in the City. It is along a major pedestrian corridor.

Yesterday, I went to return some cans to the recycling depot, and decided to take a tape measure with me.

Section of sidewalk on 203rd Street at 54th Avenue. Select image to enlarge

The tape measure shows a 2.0m length which is the recommended non-obstructed width for a downtown sidewalk. As you can see, besides the narrow width of the sidewalk, there is a 1 to 2 foot drop on one side. If you look in the background of the photo, you can see a utility pole in the middle of the sidewalk and sign posts which further constrain the usable width of that sidewalk.

While I’m happy that the Master Transportation Plan addresses adding new sidewalks, I’m surprise and disappointed that it doesn’t include recommended projects to widen sidewalks on key pedestrian corridors.


D. Hall said...

So funds are limited. Which are your priorities -- Widen existing sidewalks in frequently used corridors or install sidewalks in areas that are lacking?
You can't have it both ways without deleting other projects from the 10 yr. Capital Plan.
Which of these would you delete to accommodate these widenings of existing sidewalks?
This is part of growth, coming to grips with the bigger picture and establishing priorities.

Nathan Pachal said...

In Downtown Langley, the City could explore working with the Downtown Langley BIA to see if there is interesting in setting up Local Area Services. This has happened in places like my hometown of Vernon, and in places like Fort Langley.

For the section of sidewalk in the picture I took, the City could look at setting up a special account to fund the sidewalk upgrades now, having the developers pay back in once that section of street change from single-family to multifamily. The City could also use DCC funds now as this expansion is a result of new development and growth.

Unknown said...

As a walker, I'd rather see the frequently used sidewalks widened before putting down sidewalks in a place where there isn't one, and that isn't used (much)by pedestrians.