Monday, July 27, 2020

Connectors, buttons, and sensors that make walking and cycling easier in Langley City

I have been working from home since mid-March, and as part of my morning routine, I have been taking walks around Langley City neighbourhoods. Douglas, Nicomekl, and Blacklock are the neighbourhoods that I frequent the most.

In neighbourhoods like Blacklock, many of the roads are curvilinear. This design helps to reduce the likelihood of people “rat running” on side streets. One of the unintended consequences of this design is that it can discourage people from walking.

When streets are aligned on a grid, you can walk the shortest path to your destination. With curvilinear streets, a 5-minute walk “as the crow flies” can easily turn into a 10- or 15-minute walk.

This is not that case in many Langley City neighbourhoods because where there are curvilinear streets, there are also pedestrian connectors.

Walkway in Blacklock neighbourhood. Select image to enlarge.

These connectors are sort of like the shortcuts in an Ikea. They let you get from point-A to point-B much quicker. These connectors are in most neighbourhoods in Langley City with the exception of Uplands (which could use a pedestrian connector around 46 A Avenue and 206 Street.)

One of the other things that I have noticed while walking around is that more people are cycling on the trail network and on the streets. While bike lanes have been the most visible addition to cycling infrastructure in our community in recent years, there have been some other changes that help make cycling easier.

The City is slowly rolling out bike sensors and bike push buttons as shown in the following pictures.

Bike lane sensor at 200th Street and 53rd Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

Bike lane button at 200th Street and 53rd Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

This allows people to stay on their bikes, and still be able to trigger a traffic signal.

As the City continues to invest in walking and cycling infrastructure, and with the new Official Community Plan looking to provide small-scale neighborhood retail at locations such as 50 Avenue at 200 Street, and 48 Avenue at 208 Street, the walkability of our community will continue to improve.

One of the metrics of success for me will be when parents feel safe letting their tween go to the corner store or school independently by foot or by bike.

1 comment:

Nathan Davidowicz said...

Langley City is not the only city that promotes these ideas.
However we do not want to push a button there is the technology to do it and it is done elsewhere. Most cities in Metro Vancouver are missing 30 to 75% of their sidewalks, and up to 40% of street lights. Protected bike lanes are needed everywhere.