At the July 11, 2016 Township of Langley council meeting, a decision was reached by council in a 5-4 vote to provide a public forum for residents to express their concerns about the planned infrastructure for 32nd Avenue in Aldergrove despite the cycle plan being previously approved by council in 2013.
Council announced that a public forum will be held within the month.
While we understand and appreciate the concerns of the residents, which are mainly about the reduction of street parking and the public consultation process, the HUB Langley Committee have also reviewed the Township of Langley Engineering department's plans including the decision to remove the parking on the north side of 32nd Avenue and feel based on the parking survey data that we've seen, the plan is sound and makes good sense.
It's worth noting that in discussions with residents and in their presentation to council the residents have made it very clear that they are not opposed to cycle lanes - the main concern is the reduction of parking spaces and the perceived lack of public consultation.
There are currently 244 on-street parking stalls available on 32nd Avenue from Highway 13 (264th Street) to 276th Street - after construction there will be 147 stalls on the south side of 32nd Avenue (engineering chose to retain parking on the south side because the north side has only 97 spots available).
Data has been collected showing that parking on the street is at a capacity of 11 percent to 19 percent usage according to Township's engineering department. We have viewed the Township survey data and did our own visits to the street over the past few weeks to count cars and our findings are within the range of the Township's data findings with one exception where we later learned that a problem in a townhouse complex forced several residents to park their cars on the street for a couple of days.
In discussions we've had with transportation engineers we have learned that the threshold for parking is 85 percent -- this is the point where people will have to start to have problems finding parking spots on the street. If we consider that there are more spots available on the north side of 32nd Avenue, removing the parking from north side of the street will increase the usage on the south side by less than twice the amount then the percentage of parking after the bike lanes will be at approximately 32 percent of available stalls -- which is still much, much lower than the 85 percent threshold and will leave ample parking on the street for residents.
Our parked vehicle findings on five visits - totals are for the entire 2.7 km route:
|Date||Approx. Time of Day||Number of Parked Cars|
|Sunday, July 3||9:00 PM||47|
|Monday, July 4||3:30 PM||27|
|Monday, July 11||10:00 PM||59 *|
|Wednesday, July 13||2:00 AM||49|
|Saturday, July 16||1:30 PM||39|
* We learned later that the spike in the number of parked cars in the area just west of the school on July 11 was due to a burst water main in a townhouse complex which forced several cars to park on the road for a couple days.
We'd prefer to see bike lanes through Aldergrove on Fraser Highway as there are many benefits of having bike lanes on a main road that passes through a downtown area -- benefits include more visible exposure of bike lanes (so that people driving can see cyclists and say to themselves "hey, I could do that"), the financial benefit to businesses along the route (cyclists have jobs and spend money), and of course a more direct travel route.
Unfortunately for cyclists in Aldergrove, there is no development in the works for the section of Fraser Highway between 270th and 272nd. This area realizes a lot of congestion due to high traffic volumes, trucks, and limited space. As it is today, this section of road is only suitable for those who are capable of cycling with traffic -- far from All Ages and Abilities (AAA) which is what HUB Langley would like to see. Hopefully, down the road when redevelopment takes place in the downtown of Aldergrove, we'll see AAA cycling facilities included in the mix.
Looking at maps for alternative routes around the downtown Aldergrove section of Fraser Highway it quickly becomes obvious that the most logical and most direct bypass route around the downtown Aldergrove section of Fraser Highway is on 32nd Avenue and 276th Street.
This 2.7 km by-pass around the dangerous bicycling section of Fraser Highway in the downtown of Aldergrove is a vital component of a 37 km Fraser Highway route that spans from the City of Abbotsford, through the Township of Langley, the City of Langley, to the King George Skytrain station in the City of Surrey. With 30 km of this route already hosting established cycling lanes, this connector through Aldergrove is of great significance to HUB's UnGaptheMap initiative.
If you're inclined to ride further west, you can ride from King George station through Surrey mostly on separated bike lanes to the Patullo Bridge and connect with the Central Valley Greenway which is a continuous bike trail (and nearly all separated from traffic) from New Westminster to Science World in Vancouver.
While we wait for council to announce a meeting date for the public forum, we at HUB Langley are researching options and reaching out to several stakeholders and decision makers in the community to find a resolve that will put this important project back on track.