Traffic around the 216th Street interchange, which opened in September, is being studied by TransLink. (Langley Advance Times files)

Traffic around the 216th Street interchange, which opened in September, is being studied by TransLink. (Langley Advance Times files)

School zone speed limits for Langley school wait on TransLink study

Topham Elementary needs TransLink approval for a 30 km/h limit

A 30 km/h speed limit for Walnut Grove’s Topham Elementary might be put in place, but TransLink is holding off until a traffic report on the new highway interchange is completed.

In October, the Langley Township council voted to install 30 km/h school zone speed limit signs for the two schools on 216th Street to the north of the new highway interchange.

The signs for école des Voyageurs were installed, slowing trucks and cars down near the corner of 216th and 88th Avenue.

But signs were not installed at Topham, because TransLink has authority over routes in the Major Road Network, and that includes 216th between 88th and 96th Avenues, Paul Cordeiro, the manager of transportation engineering, explained in a presentation to Township councillors on Monday, Dec. 7.

TransLink wants to hold off on a school zone decision for Topham until a second-phase study of the new traffic patterns has been completed, Cordeiro said. However, that process has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as have local traffic patterns.

The study might wrap up next spring.

“We’re not sure when that’s going to happen,” Cordeiro said.

Cordeiro was outlining the upgrades and changes that have been made along the corridor related to the September opening of Langley’s newest highway interchange, its first in decades.

Changes included new crosswalks north of 88th, signs have been added, and there have been some upgrades to the roads.

Before the interchange opened there was a considerable amount of concern and opposition from some residents along 216th Street about the danger of increased traffic to children, more air pollution, and noise.

Some residents lobbied the Township and province to either not allow the interchange at all, or to only allow vehicles to enter and exit the highway on the south side, into Willoughby. They also asked for the truck route designation to be removed from 216th Street.

Cordeiro said the opening of the interchange has already altered local traffic patterns.

Car counts show that 11,000 vehicles per day are using the north side of the interchange, and 10,000 per day are using the south side.

This has also caused traffic on the 200th Street interchange to decline by 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles using the south side of the interchange, and there are 2,000 fewer drivers using the 208th Street overpass.

That’s simply a matter of drivers taking shorter and more direct routes, Cordeiro said.

Truck traffic was one of the major concerns for 216th Street residents who opposed the interchange.

The Township is looking at adding signs on Highway One saying “local deliveries only” to restrict large trucks from cutting through nearby neighbourhoods, but that has not yet been approved.

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