Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New safer bike lanes, additional parking, and a loading zoning along 53/51B Avenue

If you’ve walked, cycled, or driven along 53 Avenue/51B Avenue over the last few days, you’ve likely seem some changes along that corridor.

53 Avenue near 204 Street, Before. Select image to enlarge.

53 Avenue near 204 Street, After. Select image to enlarge.

When I first moved to Langley City, I wondered why 53/51B Avenue was so wide, and looked like a highway in some sections. This corridor was originally supposed to be a Langley Bypass-style road, but due to the Langley Bypass, became redundant. Today, this corridor has very low motor vehicle traffic volume, and doesn’t require four lanes.

One of the goals of Langley City is to make our streets multi-modal, making walking and cycling safer and more convenient. Early this year, the City received funding from the provincial government to add bike lanes along the 53 Avenue/51B Avenue corridor.

Comparing the safety, comfort, space, and cost of bike lanes. Select image to enlarge. Source: Global Designing Cities Initiative

With this funding, the City installed buffered bike lanes along much of the corridor. A buffered bike lane is safer than a conventional bike lane, and has the following benefits according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials:

  • Provides greater shy distance between motor vehicles and bicyclists.
  • Provides space for bicyclists to pass another bicyclist without encroaching into the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane.
  • Encourages bicyclists to ride outside of the door zone when buffer is between parked cars and bike lane.
  • Provides a greater space for bicycling without making the bike lane appear so wide that it might be mistaken for a travel lane or a parking lane.
  • Appeals to a wider cross-section of bicycle users.
  • Encourages bicycling by contributing to the perception of safety among users of the bicycle network.

The safest bike lanes are protected bike lanes, similar to what is along 203 Street.

Besides installing safer bike lanes, the City was able to install 26 on-street parking spots along 51B Avenue near the Seniors Centre, and a new loading zone near 204 Street. Some parking was remove between 203 and 204 Street, but overall there is a net gain in parking along the corridor.

There is still some work to be done including adjusting some of the traffic lights and installing some flexible bollards at intersections.

With the installation of safer cycling infrastructure complete along 203 Street and 53/51B Avenue, Langley City now has a basic connected, usable bike network that can get you to all quadrants of our community.

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