Residents want 56 Avenues changes undone

Petition maintains revised intersection has increased hazards. Developer of Tuscan Farms homes will make some revisions.

Changes to the intersection of the two 56 Avenues near 246 Street are unsafe and it should be returned to it original configuration, local residents say.

The demand was made in a 63-signature petition to Township council.

“We, the residents of Langley in the area of 56 Ave. and 56 Ave. feel the changes to the intersection are unsafe and want them changed back to the original access,” the petition says.

In September, crews rebuilt the intersection of the two 56 Avenues near 246 Street, changing it from a “V” into a “T” shape.

That eliminated a straight-line east-to-west connection.

“The access should be straight through heading east and heading west,” the petition said.

“The left turn heading east needs to be further up to see the traffic coming from the east,” the petition added.

It also called for changes to make the intersection easier for emergency vehicles and pedestrians to safely navigate.

At Monday’s council meeting, Engineering and Community Development manager Ramin Seifi said the intersection is being redone by the private company that did the work  to address a number of deficiencies,

Seifi said staff are “comfortable” that the changes will address the “challenge” of the topography where the two avenues separate and meet again.

The work will be carried out “in a matter of weeks” Seifi said.

At a previous council meeting, he said the changes would correct the “steepness” of the altered intersection and improve sight lines, but it will remain a “T” shape.

The changes to the crossing, where 56 Avenue is split into two identically-named roads as it crosses a tributary of the Salmon River, were funded by the developer of the nearby former Tuscan Farm Gardens site, Lavender Hills Holdings.

The builder agreed to make improvements to 56 and 56 as part of its plan to build 65 houses on the southern 32 acres of the 80-acre site at 24453 60 Ave.

The project was approved by Langley Township council in May of 2013, following an April 2011 decision by the Agricultural Land Commission to allow the subdivision of the former commercial lavender and echinacea grower.

At the Township public hearing on the proposal, opponents of the Tuscan project complained it was another case of building high-density housing on protected agricultural land.

Those in support argued the project actually increased the amount of farmland in Langley because the developer intended to restore the northern 48 acres to make them suitable for agriculture.

Those against talked about the impact of the project on local wells, sewage and traffic, while those who wanted to build it said water would be piped in and a sewage treatment plant would prevent contamination of ground water.