Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Park Avenue condo project differs from Downtown Langley vision

Park Avenue is in the southern edge of Downtown Langley. This area is a special design district according to the City of Langley's Downtown Master Plan. The plan envisions development along Park Avenue to “have a higher quality compact 4 storey development fronting on Douglas Park. Park Avenue would be 'calmed' for local access so the development is almost an extension of the park and associated recreation activities.”

Park Avenue in the context of Downtown Langley. Select graphic to enlarge.

A new development is being proposed at the corner of Park Avenue, along Douglas Park. With the concept of the Park Avenue design area in mind, it was interesting to see that a 5 storey, 37 unit residential building is being proposed for this site. The units in this proposed building will be between 1,034 and 1,658 square feet.

Proposed development along Park Avenue at Douglas Park. Select image to enlarge.

While I’m not too concerned about the height of the building, the original vision was to see a softer transition between Douglas Park, Park Avenue, and buildings along Park Avenue. When walking along Park Avenue, you should feel like the street is a part of the park. The original Phase II document of the Downtown Master Plan envisioned an example project that included street-oriented entrances to ground-floor units (like the newer Serenade Building at the corner of Douglas Crescent and Park Avenue) which would help create an outdoor living room.

Render of same site as envisioned in the Downtown Langley Master Plan - Phase II. Select image to enlarge.

The proposed building includes concrete walls fronting Park Avenue and Douglas Park. In the site plan, I don’t see any improvements to the sidewalk treatment fronting this proposed project that would create a park-like, welcoming environment.

How could this proposed project be improved? A green wall, instead of an exposed concrete wall would certainly help soften the interface between the public realm and this building. Also, the sidewalk should include a green-buffer along the street to support the planting of street trees, placement of street furniture, and street lighting, while allowing for a wide sidewalk in keeping with Phase III of the Downtown Langley Plan. This would create a welcomimg environment for people.

Downtown Langley is the heart of the City of Langley; the utmost care should be taken on how it is redeveloped.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Nathan, I recently read this post on the importance of doorways on the street:

“It matters because it activates the street. And even if there’s nobody walking in and out of these doors, everyone else walking down the street … they’re not met with a blank wall,” Newberg said.