Lone complaints will no longer be enough to trigger traffic calming investigations in Langley City, under a new policy approved by council.
Under the new guideline approved at the June 15 council meeting, at least half the people living in the affected area, or 10 people, whichever is the smaller number, will have to support an investigation.
Once a plan is developed, 50 per cent, or 10, of the residents will have to support it before measures like speed bumps are deployed.
It doesn’t apply to busy arterial or collector roads.
Rick Bomhof, the City director of engineering, parks and environment, said a lot of staff time is involved when a traffic calming complaint is investigated.
“We have limited resources,” Bomhof told council.
“There’s a list of requests that we have and we can only get to so many.”
A staff report to council noted that minimum thresholds exist in other Lower Mainland communities like Maple Ridge, where the threshold for a traffic calming review is 75 per cent of residents in the affected area, Surrey with 40 per cent or 10 residents, Vancouver with 30 per cent or 12 residents.
As for the Township of Langley, which does not have a specific number at the moment, the City staff report said the other Langley is “considering an update to their policy to also require a minimum number of residents’ support before initiating an investigation.”
Most members if council supported the policy change.
Coun. Teri James wanted to know how the boundaries would be set.
“Who decides that area, city hall?,” James asked Bomhof, who replied that the City would, and people pressing for traffic calming would be told the boundaries.
Coun. Paul Albrecht, called the proposal “overdue,” a “very good step” that will add clarity for staff
Coun. Rudy Storteboom said he was proud of the calming measures already takenin the City, even though they can generate complaints.
“Inevitably it boils down to the fact that, well, ‘it slows me down,” Storteboom commented.
“So, it’s working.”
When Storteboom asked if the new policy would allow opponents to petition for removal of traffic calming measures, Bomhof replied that it was possible.
Coun. Nathan Pachal felt that was unlikely, given that, in cases of “other traffic calming measures, we’ve received 80 per cent plus support” when thye Cuty has conducted polls.
Pachal called the threshold ”a fairly low barrier, to get 10 signatures.”
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Mayor Val van den Broek voted against to the new policy, saying it could discourage people from reporting problems.
“I think its super important that we leave all avenues open,’ van den Broek maintained.
“I think we’re going in the right direction … but I think if we limit it to what is being proposed it’s gong to stop people from reporting what’s going on.”
“I have very big reservation that people will not be reporting.”
Councillor Rosemary Wallace asked about calming measures on 200 street near Penzer park.
Because that is an arterial road, it would likely be an enforcement issue, Bomhof replied.
“It doesn’t mean nothing could be done to slow traffic but it would be ” a little more more complicated” than a residential street, Bomhof said.
Bomhof added single complaints will still be recorded.
“It’s all logged,” Bomhof noted.
“It’s not that we won’t take the calls.
Setting a threshold, Bomhof said, will allow staff to prioritize complaints.
“If it [traffic] is truly an issue I would think there would be more than one individual.”