Monday, August 16, 2021

Building People-Centred Communities – Valemount, Jasper, and Banff

I recently returned from a vacation to Banff and Jasper. One of the things that I like to keep an eye out for when on holiday is how other municipalities build people-centred communities.

One of the things that I saw in many communities along my journey was the removal of street parking, the closure of lanes, and even full closures of streets to accommodate streetside patios.

In Banff, they made their main street for cycling, transit, and walking only.

Main Street in Banff for patios, walking, cycling, and transit. Select image to enlarge.

Banff also created shared streets where people could drive, but at a much slower speed.

Slow, shared street in Banff. Select image to enlarge.

To encourage people to park once and walk within Banff. They introduced paid on-street parking in their downtown with free parking in their downtown parkade and other parking lots at the edge of the downtown. With SkyTrain coming to Langley City, this is something that we will need to do in our community. Of course, we need a downtown parkade first.

In Banff, Jasper, and towns like Valemount, the speeds in the downtowns and main streets were set at 30 km/h. This is something that should be considered throughout all of Langley City’s Downtown.

Streetside patios take over a lane of traffic in Jasper. Select image to enlarge.

While it would take a change to BC law, setting the default speed to 30km/h in municipalities would allow places like Langley City to set a default 30km/h speed limit on all streets and lanes. Of course, main streets such as 200th, 208th, overpasses, and sections of Fraser Highway would still be posted with a 50km/h speed limit. This reduction in default speed would reduce injuries, fatalities, and the severity of crashes in our community.

In Valemount, they also created traffic-calmed intersections, which included built-in street furniture along their downtown.

Traffic Calmed Intersection in Downtown Valemount. Select image to enlarge.

Small Downtown Plaza in Valemount. Select image to enlarge.

While it makes sense that communities like Banff, with a large volume of pedestrians traffic, would implement the measure I’ve just posted about. Communities like Jasper, Valemount, and others are building people-centred communities where walking and cycling are safer, and downtowns are a pleasure to walk through.

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