Langley Township is likely to put a busy north-south road in Walnut Grove on a “diet” to keep traffic slow and safe through a residential area.
The road diet plan for 216th Street, between 88th and 96th Avenues, was up for debate at the Monday, Sept. 25 council meeting.
If approved, the plan is to spend $250,000 for the detailed design phase and public consultation on the plan, which will restrict the road to two lanes.
There has been controversy for years about 216th Street north of Highway One, ever since plans to build a new interchange and overpass at 216th were announced. The site had long been planned for another overpass, and the road allowances along 216th are wider than for other nearby roads.
Some neighbours fought the plans for years, as they didn’t want the increase in traffic, particularly truck traffic, that they expected would come off the highway and into residential areas of Walnut Grove.
That stretch of 216th Street north of the highway also passes two elementary schools – École des Voyageurs on the southeast corner of 216th and 88th, and Topham Elementary just off 216th at 91st Avenue.
The safety of children walking to school was one of the key issues raised both before and after the interchange was completed.
According to the most recent report to Langley Township, a previous study has already found that 216th north of 88th does not require four full lanes.
Therefore, the detailed plan will lay out designs for a two-lane road, with protected bike lanes in both directions, and street parking in some areas.
There will also be upgrades and a re-alignment to the intersection at 216th Street and 96th Avenue, and a new traffic signal at 91st Avenue.
Public consultation on the final design is expected to take place between Nov. and next April, with construction, if the project is funded, taking place from the autumn of 2024 to the end of 2025.
The cost for the actual construction phase is not specified int he report, but it notes that the stretch of road is part of the region’s Major Road Network (MRN) and may be eligible for cost-sharing grants from TransLink.