Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature, call it “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online each Sunday.
MOST RECENT AT YOUR SERVICE: Laws and attitudes around guns must change – Langley MPs agree
Langley City councillors are being asked: The City is largely flat, and has an expanding network of bike lanes, making it ideal for local trips by bike. Is it time to bring in a bike share or scooter share program?
Mayor Val van den Broek
A. Yes, this is certainly something that will be discussed, once our master transportation plan (MTP) is ready to be reviewed.
With the arrival of SkyTrain, we need to anticipate the needs of our community, and the final MTP will address all the ways we get around, including driving, walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation.
There are many benefits to these share programs, such as improved health, positive economic impact on commercial areas, it encourages new demographics – those who wouldn’t normally ride a bike – to start using bikes for transport, which reduces car travel time leading to lower emissions.
A bicycle or scooter is also less expensive than owning a car that comes with insurance, gas, and maintenance costs.
We need to continue building a healthy safe community by creating walkable/bikeable neighbourhoods where residents can choose to live, work, shop, and play in close proximity.
Here are some questions we’ll also need to consider:
Would it be City led or could it be a good business opportunity for someone?
Could we partner with TransLink or other businesses or organizations for a pilot project?
Would it be a free or a paid service?
Do we only do one option, or do we proceed with both?
Fortunately, there are many cities to review the information from, giving us lots of advantages and not having to re-invent the wheel.
Councillor Paul Albrecht
A. I do not believe the timing for such programs is right for our community.
The City still requires more dedicated and safe bike lanes in order for such a program to be successful. The other challenge is that such a program would have to be a private company initiative as the staffing levels at the City could not support such a program without increasing staffing – which in turn increases taxation.
If a private company wanted to bring in such a program the City/council would certainly entertain the delivery of such a service model for our residents.
Councillor Teri James
A. In my opinion it’s too soon for a bike or scooter share program, as the bike lanes in Langley City aren’t fully developed enough for this.
This may be something to consider once SkyTrain is fully functioning, but even then, I don’t feel that this is something that should fall under the City’s responsibility of provided services to our community.
This should be run by private enterprise, and I would assume only because it would make business sense for the organization running it.
I envision that they would work with the City to develop this, ensuring fairness and the safety of everyone involved.
Councillor Gayle Martin
A. A bike or scooter share program may be a good thing as long as it was a private enterprise endeavour.
To spend taxpayer dollars to purchase and maintain the bikes and scooters would not be fiscally responsible, in my opinion..
Councillor Nathan Pachal
A. There is still a gap in the safer and more comfortable cycling network between 203rd Street and Glover Road. There is also a lack of safer and more comfortable on-street east/west cycling routes.
Once SkyTrain is running and the gap in the cycling network is filled, it would make sense to consider a bike-sharing program.
Councillor Rudy Storteboom
A. Traffic calming devices and dedicated bike lanes offer a healthy and affordable transportation option for Langley City residents now, and into the future.
I like the idea of a bike share program, but there is a lot to consider including: a business plan that provides for a well-maintained fleet of bikes/scooters, flexible payment options, convenient pick-up and drop-off locations, charging stations that have safety information, and effective locks.
Some logistics around safety, insurance, tracking of bikes/scooters, and the need to wear helmets will require special attention.
Minimizing financial risk and liability for taxpayers should be a priority.
Some cities have had great success with bike sharing while others have suffered significant and unforeseen losses.
Any bike share company the City partners with should consider a local strategy that is well-marketed, can integrate with transit, and expand throughout the region.
Langley City could partner by giving exclusive rights for a certain period of time, with a commitment to enhance and maintain the cycling network.
As well, the City could provide space for charging/payment/information stations.
I’d like to see more manual and electric bikes and scooters in Langley City. They are practical, affordable, safe, and fun.
Councillor Rosemary Wallace
A. It would be nice to see a bike share and scooter share program in the City of Langley.
It is important to look at safety, and dedicated infrastructure with sustainable funding must be well though through if the City of Langley were to move forward.
Meghan Winters, who leads the (CHATR) lab at SFU faculty of health sciences, said part of the problem may be provincial legislation that doesn’t allow devices like e-scooters to operate on roads, as well as general apprehension by potential users after they’ve had negative experience elsewhere.
People in Metro Vancouver are positive with micro-ability systems from a study done with (CHATR) lab in partnership with Hub Cycling.
If the City of Langley continues to build connectivity through expanded bike lanes, it might be prudent to look at a bike-share program to allow for equitable and inclusive transportation that has less impacts on the environment.
Next week’s Langley Township councillors are being asked: Where should the next SkyTrain extension south of the Fraser River go – east to Abbotsford, north to Maple Ridge, or west to White Rock and South Surrey?
Watch for their answers online next Sunday.
AT YOUR SERVICE: City council weighs in on supervised consumption sites
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley trustees applaud positives found amid pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Township council weighs in on lack of industrial land
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs see feds as partners in SkyTrain to Langley
AT YOUR SERVICE: Creating more housing, on all fronts, critical to stabilization: MPs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Heat wave another call to action – City council
AT YOUR SERVICE: Pools need to be part of Township-wide recreation planning
AT YOUR SERVICE: No current need for year-round schooling in Langley, trustees agree
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs suggest staying the course on battling of B.C. wildfire
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs call for borders to be safely re-opened
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley City council wants to keep higher density development north of Nicomekl
AT YOUR SERVICE: Passports key to keeping B.C. businesses open, people safe during pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Trustees ponder what kids are missing out on during pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Education should trump rules for vaccination of health-care workers, suggest MLAs
AT YOUR SERVICE: How to handle rising housing prices
AT YOUR SERVICE: City council divided on call for indoor pool
AT YOUR SERVICE: Council ponders vaccine requirements for workers
AT YOUR SERVICE: Skyrocketing enrolment prompts intensified lobby by trustees
AT YOUR SERVICE: Political stripes aside, MLAs agree heat dome was tragic and action required
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs agree much must be done to right wrongs for Indigenous
AT YOUR SERVICE: Is pay parking in the City a viable consideration?
AT YOUR SERVICE: Some suggest more needed to protect floodplains from development
AT YOUR SERVICE: Monitoring student transport not good use of school district resources – trustees
AT YOUR SERVICE: Liberal caucus floats all-party committee in reaction to emergencies
AT YOUR SERVICE: Views on future of middle schools differ
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley MPs address issue of rising food costs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Inflation inevitably hits City taxpayers in the pocketbook
AT YOUR SERVICE: Future of Aldergrove core up for debate
AT YOUR SERVICE: Trees and more greenspace at root of climate change solutions