A Langley City crosswalk that staff were suggesting be delayed will go ahead on 208th Street and 45A Avenue, after Councillor Nathan Pachal convinced a majority of council to green-light the crossing with pedestrian-activated flashing beacons and illuminated signage at their Monday, Nov. 2 meeting.
Staff were recommending postponing the project because construction and design costs at the location were estimated to be $37,000 higher than expected, bringing the projected price to more than $140,000.
As well, a staff report said, foot traffic in the immediate area was low, and ICBC crash data showed zero pedestrian related collisions have occurred in the past 10 years.
Pachal, citing multiple complaints from residents of the area, said when the number and spacing of crosswalks is considered, the area has been “under-served for a very long time.”
He said the extra cost could be covered with funds from the City 2020 traffic calming budget, describing the crosswalk as “within the spirit of traffic calming.”
Councillors Rudy Storteboom and Gayle Martin were against overruling the staff report, with Storteboom expressing concern about the potential hazard of putting a crosswalk on a sloping road and Martin citing the extra cost and predicting “its going to be dangerous for the kids.”
“Why are we paying the engineers, [who prepared the report] what we are paying them, and go against them?” Martin wondered.
Among the councillors who backed the crosswalk, Coun. Paul Albrecht said the whole “Uplands quadrant” was limited in terms of “walk-ability,” describing the crosswalk as an “effective use of dollars”
Coun. Teri James said the flashing lights would probably help mitigate the speeding.
“I do see kids jaywalking and parents jaywalking [there] and it terrifies me,” James commented.
At the same meeting, a Pachal proposal that would help the City make a case for photo radar on the route won unanimous approval.
It means the Langley City signs on 208th Street that flash the speeds of oncoming traffic will have their recording features activated to find out how severe the problem really is is.
That information, Pachal said, can be used to help the city convince the provincial government to install speed cameras along the busy route.
“RCMP can’t be on 208th Street 24/7,” Pachal explained.
Pachal said 208th functions as a “regional highway” through Langley City even though it isn’t a provincial highway or designated part of TransLink’s major road network.
Staff will use the data to prepare a report that shows the “minimum, maximum, and 85th percentile speed for vehicles at the 208th Street corridor “flasher” sign locations over the data recording period.”
When the speed reader boards were first installed on 208th, in 2012, it was estimated that the location at the bottom of the 208th Street hill saw over 10,000 vehicles a day driven at an average speed of 70 km/h, or 20 km/h over the limit.