Bike lanes on 32nd Avenue are a priority that must be addressed

Bike lanes on 32nd Avenue are a priority that must be addressed

Families and cyclists in Aldergrove are urging the Township of Langley to proceed with the introduction of new bike lanes which would create a safe and direct route through the area.

Earlier this year, the construction of much-needed bike lanes began on Aldergrove’s 32nd Avenue were quickly put on hold due to residents’ concerns about it leading to a lack of parking.

Removal of the centre line on the road had already taken place and the project, which was approved by council in 2013, was due to start in earnest over the Canada Day weekend before being halted at the last minute to allow for an extended public consultation.

The lanes, which the Township of Langley marked as the second highest priority in their Five Year Cycling Improvement Plan, are a vital component of the 37km Fraser Highway which would create a direct cycle route between the cities of Surrey and Abbotsford.

Some local residents have tried to put a stop to the plans as they oppose the removal of 97 parking stalls to make space for the lanes. Surveys by the Township’s engineers have shown that even with the addition of the bike route, on average 70% of stalls would be free at any one time.

By creating the lanes, the Township of Langley hoped to create a sustainable and safe route that would lead to reduced congestion and vehicle emissions, as well as encouraging more people in the area to bike or walk.

“We need safe passage for cyclists of all ages around the dangerous section of Fraser Highway in Downtown Aldergrove.” – Heath MacKenzie, owner, Cranky’s Bike Shop.

Local cyclists fear that if the council reneges on the plans it could have a significant impact on the area. Dan Millsip, Chair of HUB Cycling’s Langley Committee which advocates for better bike infrastructure, said: There is a need for a focusing on direct and connective routes in Langley and the Metro Vancouver region.

With the plans now in jeopardy, other potential solutions such as ‘Share the Road’ signs have been proposed but research has shown these provide no safety benefits and in many cases increase conflict between cyclists and drivers.

The Township of Langley Engineering Department has submitted an updated report to Council about the plans which council will put to vote on Monday, December 12. If you would like to comment on the plans, you can do so by emailing mayorcouncil@tol.ca.

This letter from HUB Cycling was submitted to local newspapers in early December, prior to the December 12 council meeting.

32nd Avenue Bike Lanes on hold until Public Forum is held

32nd Avenue Bike Lanes on hold until Public Forum is held

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.

Looking west on 32nd Avenue from 266a Street

Looking west on 32nd Avenue from 266a Street - Monday, July 4 @ 3:30 PM

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.

Looking east on 32nd Avenue from 266a Street – Monday, July 4 @ 3:30 PM

Looking east on 32nd Avenue from 266a Street – Monday, July 4 @ 3:30 PM

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.

32nd Avenue looking east from 270th Street - July 3 @ 9:00 PM

32nd Avenue looking west from 270th Street - July 3 @ 9:00 PM

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.

32nd Avenue looking west from 276 Street

32nd Avenue looking west from 276 Street - July 16 @ 1:30 PM

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.

Stop work order given for Aldergrove bike lanes

Stop work order given for Aldergrove bike lanes

The Issue: 32nd Street cycle lane construction halted

Construction on the 32nd Avenue connector (a new bike route that bypasses Fraser Highway around the centre of Aldergrove) has been halted due to complaints from residents along the street. The main issue appears to be parking related. Township of Langley Engineers have conducted traffic parking surveys and found that parking along the route is only being utilized from 11 percent to 19 percent of capacity -- meaning that there's a huge surplus of empty parking spaces along the route all day and night. 

Engineers have determined that the amount of needed parking can be reduced to a single side of the roadway which means there will be room enough to install cycling lanes on both sides of the street.

In 2012, after public consultation, council approved the plan for this route, along with other roads in Langley in a 5 year plan for the development of a cycling network. This past week, after construction was already underway, complaints were lodged from residents who said that they were unaware of the planned construction and changes. This resulted in council halting construction of the bike lanes on 32nd Avenue last week until one resident can voice his argument against the project at this coming Monday's council meeting (July 11 at 7:00 PM). HUB Langley has also submitted an application to speak at this meeting.

For cyclists, the route is extremely important as it provides safe travel around the downtown section of Aldergrove along Fraser Highway which you'll know if you've ridden there, is quite hazardous for cyclists due to an extremely narrow roadway with high traffic volumes, large trucks, and no bike infrastructure. There are no plans in place for substantial redevelopment of the area so it will likely be many years before we will see cycling lanes on Fraser Highway through the Aldergrove downtown core.

What can we do?


There are two things to do:

1. Write a letter supporting the planned bike lanes on 32nd Avenue

And then send it to the Mayor and Council of the Township of Langley. Letters must be sent via email to Township of Langley by this Friday at 4:00 if they are to be included in the information packets that council receives before the Monday meeting. This doesn't leave much time so write your letter today and send it off right away and please, don't delay. We've provided a sample letter at the end of this email that you can copy and paste but we recommend that you change it a bit to make it your own.

Your voice matters -- writing a letter is the best way to be heard and each and every letter will make a difference. Council needs to be made aware that this cycling infrastructure is a vital part of a Fraser Valley bicycle corridor that connects the City of Surrey, the City of Langley, the Township of Langley, and the City of Abbotsford. Let's tell them!

Currently, 31 kms of the 37 km Fraser Valley corridor along Fraser Highway has cycling lanes. This 2.7 km addition in Aldergrove will leave only a short section in the City of Langley remaining to make it complete. We can make it happen.

Letters must be sent to legservicesinfo@tol.ca by this Friday, July 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm.

2. Attend the Township of Langley Council meeting on July 11

Show your support for cycling in Langley. Get involved in your community.

The meeting takes place at 7:00 pm at:

Township of Langley Civic Facility
20328 - 65th Avenue
Langley, BC V2Y 3J1

View the meeting location on Google Maps

Support Letter Template


Following is a sample letter that you can copy and paste and use as is or as a template to write your own letter. Please send your support letter in an email to Township of Langley at legservicesinfo@tol.ca

< --- copy and paste the following --- >

Mayor and Council Township of Langley
 
Dear Mayor and Council,
 
I would like to express my support for the construction of bicycle lanes on 32nd Avenue from 264th Street to 276th Street, and on 276th Street from 32th Avenue to Fraser Hwy.
 
The 32nd Avenue connector is a vital section of a Fraser Valley cycling route that spans the length of Fraser Highway from Surrey Central to Abbotsford connecting the Fraser Valley from east to west and allows safe cycling around the bicycle unfriendly section of Fraser Highway in the Aldergrove downtown core.
 
It is my recommendation that Township of Langley Council lift the stop work order to allow construction of bicycle lanes along the 32nd Avenue corridor to continue.
 
Sincerely,
 
[INSERT YOUR NAME HERE]

< --- end of copy and paste letter -- >
 

Please don't delay, the deadline to submit your letter of support is this Friday, July 8th at 4:00 pm. Send your email support letter today to legservicesinfo@tol.ca

 

A Fabulous Day at the MEC Langley Bikefest!

A Fabulous Day at the MEC Langley Bikefest!

42 kids, a bunch of bikes, fresh popcorn, sunshine, and a whole lot of fun

Sunday, June 5th was our first HUB Langley Committee public event and I'm happy to report that it went very well.

The Plan

The idea to get involved with the MEC Langley Bikefest started last year when our committee had an information tent at the 2015 Bikefest -- it was a great opportunity to meet people in the community and talk about bikes and cycling. Since then, MEC has generously invited us back on several occasions to have an information table in the store which has enabled us to reach out to many people who support cycling in Langley.

We wanted to make a bigger contribution to the event this year so last December when an email newsletter from the City of Langley was received that had an article about applications being accepted for the City's Community Grant Program, ideas immediately began forming.

Kids getting an introduction to bike safety

Kids getting an introduction to bike safety

The next stop was to MEC in Langley to see if the store wanted to have the Learn2Ride program at the Bikefest and if so, we'd look at what it would take to make it work and then submit an application for the Community Grant Program. Word came back from MEC Head Office -- we got permission and were good to begin organizing our first HUB Langley/MEC Bikefest Learn to Ride Program. Lots of calls and emails between the HUB Langley Committee, HUB Headquarters, MEC, Envision Financial, insurance agents, and instructors and we were on our way -- the wheels were turning.

We were fortunate that the City of Langley selected our application for a community grant and awarded us with $1000 which paid for the majority of our costs to bring instructors, a few loaner bikes, and pay for insurance for the day.

Working with MEC to plan the event has been a huge pleasure and all the staff and management there are great to work with. Rafael, our main Bikefest contact was on top of things from the onset, making sure that details for the day were taken care of well ahead of time. A manager change occurred at the store while we were in the process of making plans and both past manager, Karen and present manager, Khrista were terrific as were staff members Kathy and Ardeen, who both helped with some of final arrangements.

We learned that Envision Financial has a Tent and Popcorn Machine program for non-profit organizations and since our event qualified, we applied for both. There were no tents available for the day but we were given the use of a popcorn machine including all the popcorn and bags that we would need. The popcorn was a big hit and made a great snack along with ice cold water and flavoured drinks that MEC provided.

The Promotion

To promote the Learn2Ride program we had signs at the MEC Langley store along with sign-up sheets at the event table for a few weeks before the Bikefest. Our website was updated with information about the event, and an online form was created for signing up. But a week and a half before the event we found that we weren't getting any responses. We made new signs and put them on the MEC check out counters and figured that surely, this will work as every person making a purchase can't help but read about it. Still no sign-ups. We had been posting about the event on Facebook and on our website but registration just wasn't happening and we couldn't figure out why -- maybe people have other stuff on the go, maybe they don't want to commit until they know what the weather is doing, maybe it was something entirely different.

We were now at Monday, less than week before the event and we had only 2 sign-ups. Only 2! We contacted a few local schools and spoke to the principals who agreed to send out flyers out to all the students at their schools aged 8-12. On short notice we managed to call a few schools, get flyers designed, printed, distributed to the schools, and handed out to 700 kids. Thanks to Douglas Park Elementary, Langley Meadows Elementary, and West Langley Elementary schools for helping us to promote the event!

Because you can't be too cool when you're riding a bike.

Because you can't be too cool when you're riding a bike.

On Tuesday morning the flyers had been dropped off at the schools and would be sent home with kids on either Wednesday or Thursday. Still wanting to do more I considered other options and decided to give Facebook a shot. I clicked on the "Boost Post" button for our Facebook post and started a promotion campaign. I was able to focus on the target demographic by age, location, interests (and more). I entered my credit card information and clicked on the go button and waited. Nothing. More waiting. More nothing. Heck, an hour had gone by already and only a few more clicks on the post than before the paid promotion. Maybe I'm too impatient. I should go for a bike ride.

I return a couple of hours later from my ride and am happy in the increase in activity on our Facebook page. The ad has been seen by some 400 people and we'd gotten a few likes on our Facebook page. I fine tune the demographic reach and wait. More results -- and more interaction, a few more likes on our page -- more clicks to our website -- and a few more sign-ups. We're now at ten sign-ups and it's only Wednesday evening -- there are still three more days to go. I relax a bit.

By late Thursday afternoon we've got 14 kids signed up but in the evening things got interesting. My fine tuning of the Facebook demographic seemed to be working, we're now at more than 8,000 post views and for a while sign-ups are coming in at a rate of 2 or 3 a minute. As I'm entering the data into a spreadsheet my email is dinging with another sign-up. And then another. By midnight Friday we had over 40 kids signed up! Nearly 50 had signed up by Saturday night and by 10:00am on Sunday we had a total of 56 kids signed up! We didn't quite reach our goal (and maximum) of 60 kids but we were pretty close.

The Big Day

We arrived at MEC at 8:30am and the fellows delivering the popcorn machine were already there and we give them a hand to unload the machine. MEC staff had brought out tents and were setting them up for ourselves and for the St John's Ambulance first aid attendants that MEC saw to have on hand. Having first aid attendants handy turned out to be a good thing as later in the day one tyke fell and scraped his knee -- nothing serious at all but it was nice to have the medical attendants close by. Our instructors arrived in their car-share van promptly at 9:30am, an hour before the first class and begin setting up the course. Tables and chairs are brought out, sunscreen is slathered on, the popcorn machine is plugged in and popping, and we're ready to roll as we approach ten o'clock. Kids began arriving shortly after 10:00 and by 10:30 everyone was booked in, photo releases signed, and the first class was ready to start.

Stop. Signal. Go.

Stop. Signal. Go.

It was quite warm in the morning with not a lot of air movement. The instructors paused the class after each segment and the kids all had a break for a few minutes to get a drink and a popcorn snack before resuming with the lessons. Kudos to instructors Donna and Ben for their concern about keeping the kids well hydrated. Several parents offered to lend a hand and participated by helping at the stations and ensured that the kids were riding correctly. Smiles were everywhere.

The first two sessions went off without a hitch and only a few people who registered not showing up. The last afternoon session, which had the largest booking -- 23 kids in all, turned out to be our least attended session as 11 of the kids were no-shows. We suspect this was because of the weather. With temps in the range of 32 degrees it was definitely one of the hottest days of the year so far and we figure that parents were likely with their kids at soccer or baseball games all morning and decided it was just too darned hot to be standing on pavement watching their kids riding bikes in the afternoon.

The kids (and parents) who did show up for the last session did have a great time despite the heat and the instructors wisely worked in a couple more hydration breaks with rests in a shady spot.

We had a few HUB Langley committee members help out on the day -- special thanks to Aven and Tony for being there, and to Geraldine for stopping by in the afternoon. We also had a nice visit from one of the Township of Langley engineers and West Langley Elementary  Principal, Mr. Oliver stopped by to see how things were going as well.

High five! Practice for one handed riding.

High five! Practice for one handed riding.

In all, our first event in Langley was a huge success and there are 42 kids who are now a bit more street savvy with a few more of the skills necessary to become responsible cyclists in our community.

A big thank you goes out to all the parents who showed up with their kids -- we're glad that you could make it! And an extra thanks to the parents who helped our instructors with the stations.

Another thank you to the dedicated and passionate members of the HUB Langley Committee and to the staff at HUB Headquarters who were involved in the preparation -- you all rock.

And of course a huge tip of the hat to MEC, Envision Financial, and especially to the City of Langley -- without your support this could not have happened.

On behalf of the HUB Langley Committee I would like to extend our deepest appreciation and thanks to everyone involved for the opportunity to contribute to our community.

If you attended the event or just have something to say about it, please leave a comment below.

Ride safe,

Dan Millsip,
HUB Langley Chair, 2016

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the following who have made it possible for HUB Langley's participation in the MEC Bikefest:

2015: The Year in Review

It's been a really busy and productive first year for the HUB Langley Committee. We've met some fantastic people on our short journey and would like to extend a thank you to all of you who have supported the efforts to improve cycling in Langley.

Some of the 2015 highlights include:

  • Since formally becoming a committee of HUB:Cycling in May, we've reached out to all corners of Langley and have made connections with cycling groups, event organizers, engineering and planning departments, council members, and community stakeholders such as local and district Parent Advisory Councils (PAC), Langley Seniors Centre, Fraser Health, Langley School Board, as well as with engineering and planning departments from outside Langley.
  • We identified and categorized the important bike corridor routes in Langley as part of the HUB UngaptheMap initiate to connect the entire Metro Vancouver region with cycling lanes.
  • We've collaborated with the HUB Surrey Committee and are working on a cycling route between Cloverdale and downtown Langley City. We'll be telling you much more about this project as the new year progresses.
  • HUB conducted a Learn2Ride bicycle training program at West Langley Elementary School in September and nearly 200 children in grades 3 - 5 received comprehensive training about how to ride bicycles safely in the community. Following this training, our committee has been working with the staff and PAC at West Langley Elementary as well as with a professor from Trinity Western University (who recently did a transportation study on the school) to find ways to increase the number of children riding bikes to school each day. This is an ongoing project that we're certain will see positive results.
  • This past year brought us good news that the BC Provincial government provided funding to rebuild the 203rd Street bridge over the Nicomekl River which will include the addition of bicycle lanes. Shortly after hearing that good news, the Provincial government awarded the city with another $440,000 to make bicycle specific infrastructure improvements on 203rd Street from Michaud Crescent to Grade Crescent. This is an important segment of a cycling route that we in the HUB Langley Committee see as a vital future corridor for cycling from the Golden Ears Bridge through to south Langley.
  • The City of Langley recently informed us that HUB Langley is a recognized stakeholder in the 203rd Street project.

I'd like to send out much gratitude and introduce everyone to HUB Langley Committee members Stanley Ynetma and Michael Ge for all the hard work and dedication that they've put into helping get the HUB Langley Committee off the ground. Stan is a City Planner and Michael is a Transportation Engineer - their input and expertise has been invaluable.

It's been a great start up year for our committee and we're looking forward with excitement to continuing working and collaborating with others in the community in 2016 to make Langley a great place to ride a bike.

See you at a monthly meeting soon!

Thank you,

Dan Millsip
HUB Langley Committee Chair

Want to help the HUB Langley Committee? We’re looking for volunteers.

We're growing in Langley and are now expanding our committee and are looking for people who are interested in the following:

Note taker / Secretary
To take minutes at our meetings and send monthly agendas to committee members.

Road Assessment Sub-committee
Training will be provided for you to participate on Road Assessment bike rides where we determine needs, requirements, and conditions of our road inventory and then write reports to submit to engineers, councils, and other stakeholders.

Graphic Artist
To help with preparing Road Assessment reports and to design and prepare printed materials and web graphics used by our committee.

Website Developer
We're looking for someone with JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, and MySQL experience to help out with our web based projects.

Just be a volunteer!
We've got lots of other tasks that need doing as well so if you're into helping out on a casual basis, we'd appreciate any assistance you can offer.

If you're interested in any of these positions, or want to help out in other ways, please contact us at langley@bikehub.ca today.