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