Letter writer wants to see fewer vehicle streets and more effort made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in Langley, and feels this is the time for councils to shift their thinking. (Langley Advance Times files)

LETTER: Allocate more space in Langley for pedestrians and cyclists

Writer believes now, more than ever, is a time to design for the Township for people, not cars

Dear Editor,

Having a birthday in Langley Township during the pandemic? No problem, we’ll have a car parade to celebrate!

Just got signed by an NFL franchise? Car parade!

Want to pay homage to first responders and care workers? Car parade, no problem.

Movies? Drive in. Summer music festival? Bring your pickup truck.

Want to support local businesses in your neighbourhood? Well, I guess I should drive there.

But Dr. Henry has advised us to use active means of transportation where possible, and it’s only two or three kilometres.

We’ve received near-constant advice to go outside and get some fresh air during the last two months, so maybe I’ll bike to the store. But the road doesn’t feel safe and the sidewalks and trails look pretty narrow and lots of people are walking on them.

Requests were recently put to Langley Township and City councils to set aside some road space so that people could safely get around using something besides a car. Neither council was particularly interested.

RELATED – One-way unlikely to go car-free in Langley City

The main argument from Township staff seems to be that drivers and people using free temporary parking might complain.

Well, I’m complaining now, though it seems my voice doesn’t count.

There’s still lots of car traffic, we’re told. But it’s clearly down significantly. And if safe space were provided, people might decide to bike or walk more often and further reduce traffic.

I’ve never felt safe biking on 88th Avenue in Walnut Grove, where virtually every shop and amenity is located. This has meant that I’ve taken my car for trips within the neighbourhood more frequently than I care to admit.

So why not add safe space for cycling and walking, and help people choose not to drive for short trips?

READ MORE – Busiest’ road in Langley under construction until July

When will Langley Township’s mayor and council start taking active transportation seriously?

We have reduced traffic, increased people walking and cycling, decreased transit use, and still there’s no interest when they’re approached about this.

Studies have shown that people who walk and cycle spend more money in their own neighbourhoods.

We should be doing what we can to support local businesses as we head into recovery.

RELATED – VIDEO: Slow and careful as Langley businesses re-open doors

So why is driving the only acceptable way to do that? As people get comfortable going out again, if we don’t allow for alternative means of transportation, people will get back in their cars more than ever and Langley will go back to its usual congested streets in no time. Possibly worse than ever.

We are a community of communities, we’re told.

The Township is committed to building sustainable and complete communities, we’re told.

Well It’s time for Langley to make space and build communities for people, not just cars.

Sarah Kikkert, Walnut Grove

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