Monday, November 10, 2014

Township of Langley Council Election Issue

On November 2, 2014, GLCC sent a letter to all Township Mayoral and Council candidates on a public safety issue that is important not only cyclists, but to all vulnerable users of the road.  That letter was published on this blog on November 3rd, which you can read below.

Having had 8 days to respond to the letter, GLCC will now be publishing the responses from the 3 Mayoral and 22 Council candidates for the reader to decide whether the issue presented was answered (if even addressed) to your satisfaction and therefore reflects what you, the electorate, wish the new council to address.

The responses will be listed in the order of as letter "not read", "read but not responded" or "responded to" at the time of this posting.  They may respond, in which case GLCC will publish responses up until November 14.  In the meantime, GLCC wanted to ensure that the reader had time to digest this information and even share this information with friends and family.

Mayoral Candidates
Serena Oh:   Letter not read

Rick Green:  Read but not responded to

Jack Froese:

I will personnally ensure that the Township of Langley’s program of ongoing continuous improvement of our roads and traffic calming inititives is a priority of Council.  Also, the Ultimate Cycling Network that the Township is working on will continue under my term.  In fact, Council, over the last term increased the annual funding to complete the network sooner.


Jack Froese

Council Candidates
did not read the letter:
Karl Buchanan
Solon Bucholtz
David Davis
Bev Dornan
Zosia Ettenburg
Clint Lee
Bob Long
Jackie Mandzak
Scott Nichols
Kerri Ross

Read butdid not responded:
Dave Stark
Grant Ward

Dear John,
Thank you very much for your question on behalf of the Greater Langley Cycling Coalition. I am strongly in support of expanding engineered traffic calming initiatives in the TOL. On a personal note, I have recently moved to Aldergrove, where our complex enjoys the safety and security provided by three substantial speed bumps that were erected as we are across from a school and a park.

If elected, I would call for a review of the current protocol for traffic calming and would advocate for a more comprehensive approach at the time of development so that those creating new developments will help to pay for the amenities necessary to support public safety and livability in the TOL.
If you have any further questions on this, or other issues, I would be pleased to answer them.
Petrina Arnason
Lengthy question John
1. Safety is of utmost importance in Langley Township regardless of whether you are on a bike or walking.

2. Cycling is an accepted means of leisure, fitness, and transportation for many Township residents including myself and my family
3. Feeling safe on a bike is depending on where you are in Langley...the more dense the greater the fear of not being safe. For example I had no problem riding in Vancouver even before the bike must always be diligent!
4. Traffic calming is expensive but I believe it is warranted under certain circumstances which I totally support.
5. As co-chair of the Recreation Culture and Parks committee and member of the RCP master plan for 10 years, I believe we are supporting a cycling network for all of Langley. (You should also ask the City of Langley these questions)
6. We need more of your input and ideas because we want to improve cycling initiatives in Langley

Any more questions please visit my website

Cheers Steve
Good day


Submitted by: Charlie Fox

Raising the bar to this extreme height effectively dismisses a community's
concern and request for traffic calming measures. In 2014, an extremely
unsafe situation in front of a high school in Aldergrove could not meet that
threshold vote and required a Council member to intercede on behalf of the
community and get council's support to proceed with the traffic calming
measure. This should not be. The quality of life and safety issues of the
developed portion of the Township deserve as much attention as being paid to
future developments.

I wanted to note that I was the Councillor who interceded and moved this project forward. I believe this shows the kind of leadership that is necessary on Council. I also spearheaded the curb protection on 202A St. south on Mountain Secondary for safe passage of pedestrians and cyclists. This is what my role of being on Council means for me, leadership and advocacy, and I would continue to bring issues such as the one in Aldergrove or at Mountains Secondary forward for discussion and approval based on the best practices and interests of the community - safety is a major platform item and concern of mine.

As a candidate in the 2014 election seeking an opportunity to represent the
citizens of the Langley Township on Council, GLCC asks what you personally
will do to address the traffic calming situation which not only influences
the safety of the vulnerable users of the road, but also affects the quality
of life of those residents living on those streets and roads.

This Council has taken the issues of cycling and cycling safety seriously and I feel the decisions made reflect a strong commitment to a better cycle friendly community.
1. We have completed the Cycling Master Plan which is a part of our major road network plan.
2. We have increased the budget line item under the Cycling Master Plan to identify and delineate more approved and appropriately marked cycle friendly routes.
3. We have increased the budget for traffic calming in the community to deal with the increased numbers of request for this on our roadways. The requests are identified, they are evaluated by our staff and then prioritized based on need and safety. In the last budget we actually increased the monies spent ion this process as we realized that the need and safety of the highest priority areas has to be met.
4. All new schools and construction projects in the public spectrum have no got traffic calming built in to the road infrastructure surrounding the building.

As we move ahead in this coming term I propose to continue these efforts and continue to lobby for greater funds for both the Cycling Network implementation and the traffic calming budget. I feel this Council needs strong leadership and those of us on Council who have demonstrated it in the area of supporting traffic calming and improved cycling networks appreciate the work you have done in advocating for these improvements and I personally would love to continue to work to see these improvements come to reality.


 Hello John

Thank you for the question and your community involvement.

When I was on Council I initiated the Community Safety Advisory Committee and worked closely with ICBC and the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. We had a number of Road Safety Forums and committee discussions.
Road safety was an issue then and continues to be one now as Langley and area continues to grow.

I wish people would slow down but that is not happening. There seems to be worse accidents on nice days than on the rainy ones.

We need traffic management plans at all schools and encourage parents to walk with their children, when possible. We need new areas of development to include bike lanes from the start, not try to squeeze them in after. This means wider roads and sidewalks, which may take away from land for development.

Most of all we need to continue educating people about safer driving, riding and walking habits.

Thank you,
Mel Kositsky
Candidate for Township Councillor

Good morning John Evanochko,

I appreciate you contacting me.  I had no idea that there are so many neighbourhoods requesting traffic calming.  People feeling safe is a huge issue to encourage getting people out of their cars and walking and cycling.

I have put a call into the engineering department to get some additional information.  I am waiting to hear back from the transportation technologists.  I would like to better understand the process and expenses involved as well as time lines and man power requirements so that I can respond back to you appropriately and knowledgably.

“This is Our Langley, Working Together We are Stronger”


Thank you for the question and I too am deeply concerned about the spiraling number of requests for traffic calming in the Township.  This is (in many cases) a matter of poor planning on behalf of staff to not have anticipated these situations with the unbridled pace of development that this council (with notable exceptions Richter and Davis) are supporting.  Council says they have insufficient funds to address these concerns but can authorize (without public input) a $7.5M expansion to the LEC when the complex is seriously overbudget already, a $1.083M expenditure on burying power lines in Fort Langley to permit the construction of the Coulter Berry building (a "beautification" project as the developer calls it) and $275,000 to pay off a contractor for work never performed from 2006.  These are only three examples of how this Council continues to place its fate in the hands of the developers and others - NOT THE RESIDENTS.  As a member of the new Council, I would demand an immediate review of the spending priorities with a focus on public safety, something that should have been front and center from the outset.

Kevin W. Mitchell, P.Eng.
candidate for Township of Langley Council


Thank you for the note John.
I have been hearing from residents all over the community that traffic in volume and speed is a huge concern to their public safety.
We need to do a better job of anticipating the volume and providing for traffic calming measures  and crosswalks etc. during the development phase, being proactive will hopefully alleviate some of the issues moving forward.
With the current situation, the outstanding requests need to be reviewed, prioritized and moved up the budget priority list to actually get them done.  We are in a place now where we are having to play catch up but it has to get started.  The safety of the residents in our community is important, these needs to be addressed. I will advocate in the budget process for a way to get these moving forward asap.

Dear Mr. Evanochko:

Thank you for your campaign question. Personally, I think that the more we can do to get children to walk and/or cycle to school is a good thing.

However, we need more cycling routes on safer roads. This business of putting bike lanes in on major arterial and collector roads only is, in my opinion, not promoting cycling but hindering it especially for children. I think we need to rethink our whole bike lane plan in the Township.

I do support the lower threshold (51%) for roads in front of schools.

Sincerely, Kim Richter

Thank you so much for your email. I have been a strong voice on Council to see that the
developer pays for and installs traffic calming in a proactive manner at the time of new construction and will continue to be if given the chance to serve another term. As a mother with young children I am very concern with traffic calming issues as well as the amount of projects on the list and speak to the importance of ensuring the funding for them during our budget discussions. I do believe the more we can get installed and paid for at the time of the building of new developments the better, but we will also need to ensure there will be funding in the budget to address those which were not installed during construction. I do very much share your concern and I appreciate you taking the time to send an email, thank you.   
 Michelle Sparrow


Hello John:  Thanks for the email and bringing this issue to the attention of those seeking a position on Township council.  I have been a cyclist and runner for many years and so I am naturally supportive of a community that encourages people to cycle, run, or walk as much as possible.  I was not aware of the change in threshold requirements to add traffic calming in a community.  I need to understand the rationale for this change but certainly 67% is a difficult threshold to reach.  It is important that our community is safe for every resident who wants to walk or cycle for pleasure or as a form of transportation.  I am committed to asking questions and meeting with concerned citizens to make our community as safe as we can.

Blair Whitmarsh

Monday, November 3, 2014

Further to our post on October 26, regarding Traffic Calming in order to create safer neighbourhoods, GLCC has sent the following letter to all the candidates vying for a seat on the 2015-2019 Township Municipal Council.

The Greater Langley Cycling Coalition (GLCC) had been hoping to pose this question at the All Candidates meeting on Public Safety held on October 17th  at Willoughby Hall.  However, the format and time constraints did not allow for this question to be posed.

Therefore, GLCC poses this question directly to each candidate vying a position on the 2015-19 Township Council.

The Greater Langley Cycling Coalition has been involved in a number of initiatives and events over the years in order to increase the number of cyclists enjoying the use of Langley’s roads and bike lanes for transportation, for children and youth  to get to school or as a healthy recreational activity.

The overwhelming challenge facing organizations and agencies attempting to increase  this mode of transportation is that people just do not feel safe cycling on our streets and roadways, even if there are bike paths, because of the perception that the streets are not safe and traffic volume and speeds are most cited as the reasons.

Currently there are 86 neighbourhoods (or more) in the Township requesting traffic calming measures due to high traffic speeds, which leaves not only cyclist but pedestrians feeling vulnerable.  Parents do not feel comfortable allowing their children walking to school or the local park, never mind allowing them to cycle.  This results in an increase in traffic around all the schools twice a day and a lost opportunity for children to get some exercise by walking or cycling to school.

The GLCC recognizes that no amount of effort on their or the Township Engineering Department’s part will lead to increased walking or cycling until our streets are safer and traffic speeds are brought under control.

Up until June of 2012, the Township policy stated that traffic calming was warranted if there was community support from a minimum of 51% of the total number of households and business in the affected area.

On June 23 of that year, Council passed a resolution that amended the policy to require support from a minimum of 67% percent of the total number of respondents to a ballot of the study area.

This requirement of a “super majority” has effectively resulted in few community initiatives being supported under this policy and dumping greater responsibility for traffic management and enforcement upon an under-resourced RCMP Traffic Division.  In turn, the RCMP response is that these areas are not a priority for them, as addressing distracted driving and monitoring high crash areas in partnership with ICBC as being more important. 

Raising the bar to this extreme height effectively dismisses a community’s concern and request for traffic calming measures.  In 2014, an extremely unsafe situation in front of a high school in Aldergrove could not meet that threshold vote and required a Council member to intercede on behalf of the community and get council’s support to proceed with the traffic calming measure.  This should not be.  The quality of life and safety issues of the developed portion of the Township deserve as much attention as being paid to future developments.

As a candidate in the 2014 election seeking an opportunity to represent the citizens of the Langley Township on Council, GLCC asks what you personally will do to address the traffic calming situation which not only influences the safety of the vulnerable users of the road, but also affects the quality of life of those residents living on those streets and roads.

The Greater Langley Cycling Coalition looks forward to your response on this matter.

On behalf of Greater Langley Cycling Coalition

John Evanochko

Will be interesting to see the responses, who responds and whether the question asked is responded to or just side stepped.

Stay safe on the streets and roads.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hello Everyone and welcome back!

The GLCC has been on a bit sabbatical on this website as some of our advocates have moved unto other ventures or moved out of the area, so resources have been thinned somewhat.

However, the core group is still in place and moving forward on a number of fronts in a measured manner.

GLCC has determined that in order to encourage more people to participate in the health activity of cycling, the issue of safety on the roadways must be addressed. This issue is not only of concern to cyclists, but to all those who engage in self propelled modes of travel, be they pedestrians, joggers, walkers, even equestrians. So effective this blog, be it known that forthwith, GLCC will be advocating on behalf of all vulnerable users of the road and addressing issues that affect those
"vulnerable users of the road".  One issue that quickly comes to mind is that, as of May 2014, there were 86 neighbourhoods in the Township that have requested
some form of traffic calming, reflecting that there are serious safety issues in our Community related to traffic.  GLCC will be looking to work with neighbourhoods to addressing these and other pressing safety issues.

Further to the Share the Road Signage for Zero Ave Petition, this petition was sent to Council as well as included in the Engineering Department's 5 Year Cycling Improvement Plan report to Council.  Not surprisingly, staff recommended against the petition, and Council, as has been their practice, supported the staff's recommendations.  The most disappointing part of the process was how Council zeroed in on the fact that only 22 signatures out of the 158 collected were Township residents, thereby dismissing the importance to the safety of the cyclists from our neighbouring areas, who not only drop some serious coin in coffee and bike shops throughout the Township but also make the roads safer for all cyclists by their presence on the roadways.  See Smeeds Law.  The comment "it's nice that they like our roads" from one of the councillors was, well, a bit patronizing.

In May, 2 reps from GLCC met with consultants hired to work on updating the Township Recreation, Culture and Parks Master Plan.  GLCC spoke to the issue of addressing the needs of recreational and sport cyclists within the Township. GLCC provided the consultants with statistics of participation by Township residents in the sport of cycling as well as the issues facing cyclists in general.
A conservative count was that 327 Township residents participated either in a competitive bike race, Gran Fondo or Triatholon event in 2013.  As these cyclists need to train for these events, you can imagine how busy our roads are in the peak cycling season, when you factor in our guests from the west, who cherish the routes available in the Township and points east.

The Master Plan is expected to be completed mid spring to early summer 2015 and GLCC will be reporting on its outcome.

GLCC attended an Open House regarding the reformatting of the Aldergrove Border Crossing in order to get an idea of how the redesign will affect cyclists who use the Zero Avenue route through to Abbottsford.  GLCC will be posting the design on this website in the near future.  In the meantime, cyclists travelling eastward will have to take 264th Avenue northward up to the traffic light and then travel south on the 264th bypass to access Zero Avenue.  Westbound, one can get into the southbound traffic lane with the big trucks and RVs and easily access Zero Avenue, with access around the concrete blocks.

GLCC attended the October 22, 2014 Township's Economic Forum entitled The Future of Transportation in the Township and posed a question to the Township Engineer on cycling matters, announcing that GLCC is viable, is paying attention and intending to be a part of the planning process going forward.

In the meantime, GLCC can always use the help of committed individuals stepping forward with their energy and ideas.  The more there are of us, the more we can achieve.