Second 16 Avenue expansion survey in works

First online poll was carried out during the summer when many people aren’t home, argues councillor Charlie Fox

Councillor Charlie Fox was pleased that a second online survey of residents about 16 Avenue will be carried. Fox was critical of the decision to do a summer survey

The Township of Langley will conduct a second survey of residents about plans to increase traffic along the already-busy 16 Avenue route.

The move comes after the decision to carry out an online survey in July drew complaints that many residents were away and could not participate.

Councillor Charlie Fox was one of the critics, calling the summer a “brutal time to have public consultation.”

The new survey is tentatively scheduled for the last two weeks in October.

The 168 people who responded to the summer survey listed safety and traffic congestion concerns as their top issues and said widening of the 25-kilometre road should happen sooner than scheduled.

They were commenting on the 16 Avenue Corridor Study, which was launched by TransLink in November, 2013 at the Township’s request, to look at short-term, medium-term and long-term plans for the route.

The road, which is a designated truck route and part of the regional Major Road Network (MRN), has seen traffic increase roughly two per cent every year, going from 8,880 vehicles per day in 1992 to 12,400 vehicles in 2011.

About 13 to 16 per cent of that is truck traffic, more than the average arterial road, which carries five to 10 per cent trucks.

An Abbotsford proposal that would allow big rigs to access 16 Avenue from Hwy. 1 has raised concerns about increased congestion.

“We’re going to see way more trucks (and) way longer trucks,” Councillor David Davis predicted.

“We’re going to see South Langley get dissected a little bit.”

A staff report suggests the Abbotsford plan would have the benefit of reducing truck traffic along Fraser Highway through Aldergrove.

The corridor study proposes short-term improvements over the next five years that include more signage and lighting, speed enforcement, pull-out lanes for slow-moving farm vehicles, reducing the number of driveways and wildlife fencing.

Medium-term improvements, six and 15 years down the line, include the Abbotsford proposal and would also add two-way left lanes and upgraded traffic signals.

Long-term improvements, beyond 15 years, call for widening the corridor to four lanes.

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