Thursday, April 30, 2015

Downtown Langley Tim Hortons pulls a fast one on the City

Blank cement walls, windowless buildings, and parking lots that abut streets are sure-fire ways to discourage people from walking, and is detrimental to creating a pedestrian-friendly community.

The City of Langley’s plan for Downtown Langley is to see it transformed into a pedestrian-friendly centre. Part of this pedestrianization plan around the Langley Mall, along Douglas Crescent, is to build up a street wall of shops to create a sense-of-place.

Now the City of Langley created an odd parcel of land when they realigned 203rd Street a few years back. This parcel set vacant until this spring, when a new drive-thru Tim Hortons opened. Council didn’t require Tim Hortons to fully embrace the pedestrian-friendly vision of Downtown Langley. I was told that many on council felt that a drive-thru Tim Hortons would likely be the best thing that would ever be proposed for this parcel of land in the near-term, and it was better than nothing.

Decorative shield meant to hide parking lot from the street. This is an attempt to enhance the pedestrian-friendliness of the public realm.

Tim Hortons removed the shield because it was blocking the Langley Mall sign.

Regardless, one of the things that the City and Council did requires was landscaping in an attempt to mitigate the pedestrian-friendly, public-realm killing parking lot along Douglas Crescent. As part of the landscaping and the development permit, Tim Hortons installed decorated shields. This Tim Hortons has only been in business for a few months, and I was a bit shocked to see that they removed one of the decorated shields; apparently it was getting in the way of the auto-oriented “Langley Mall” sign.

While using landscaping and decorated shields might not be the most effective way to create a pedestrian-friendly environment, it is certainly better than nothing. It seems a bit dishonest that Tim Hortons would install these things to get development approval, then remove one decorative shield only after a few months of being opened.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course it was dishonest, though of zero surprise. It is common sense that these developers will say whatever is necessary to get the approval they need, and not at all uncommon, for them to undo whatever changes they were forced to make to get that approval.
When I think of our city council and mayor, lots of words come to mind, but the most common lately (for mixed company) seems to be gullible.