A community campaign for a crosswalk at Aldergrove Secondary School’s 29 Avenue entrance has paid off.
The crosswalk and redesign of the school parking lot will be built this summer, as a result of a partnership between the Township of Langley and Langley School District.
It will be the only marked crosswalk on 29 Avenue between 264 and 272 Streets and will be used by students from both the high school and the adjacent Betty Gilbert Middle School.
Councillor Charlie Fox says this aspect of the project is a done deal, however, the issue of whether traffic calming measures would be undertaken at the crosswalk requires approval of 67 per cent of neighbouring residents.
Ballots and letters informing residents of this option have gone out to 900 homes in the area within one kilometre of the high school. The deadline for responses is Dec. 13, and if approved by two-thirds or more of respondents an open house would be held in the new year to present the traffic calming design concepts to the public. The options include speed bumps and curb bulges (to prevent motorists from passing stopped cars on the inside lane) between 267A and 269A Streets. Traffic-pedestrian lights are not included in the plans.
Regardless of whether the traffic calming is approved, Fox says the crosswalk plans will go ahead, as approved by the Township-School District Liaison Committee.
“This is a cooperative effort by the Township and District to make a four-way intersection at 268A Street, with a designated crosswalk,” said Fox. “Both sides are aboard, and the funding allocation has been included in the budgets, and it would be built next summer in about a four-week project.”
“We’re excited to have the green light on this,” said Aldergrove Secondary principal John Pusic. “It’s been a long-standing issue of safety for the students at both schools, and I give credit to the Leadership Team students at our school for their petition to TransLink and the Township earlier this year which really brought this issue to the forefront.”
The crosswalk design involves a redesign of the school parking lot and entrances. The two existing entrances to the school would be closed and fenced off, and replaced with a single entrance directly across from 268A Street, where the crosswalk would be built.
Pusic said this makes sense as it would create a more orderly procession of students crossing 29 Avenue at 268A Street, instead of walking through the existing two gates and jay-walking across 29 Avenue willy-nilly. He notes that many of the students walk directly down 268A Street to their homes on the north side of 29 Avenue.
Pusic and Fox said they hope the traffic calming proposal will be approved as it would serve to slow down traffic on 29 Avenue, which is all too often used as a thoroughfare by speeding motorists.
However, “I just want there to be no misunderstanding,” said Fox. “The crosswalk is a separate issue from the traffic calming and regardless of the outcome of the ballots we will proceed with the crosswalk.”
Councillor Charlie Fox and Aldergrove Secondary principal John Pusic stand in the area where a new, single entrance to the high school will be built along with a crosswalk directly across from 268A Street. -KURT LANGMANN PHOTO