Improvements to one of Langley’s deadliest roads have officially been given the green light by Township council.
On Monday evening, council approved the installation of four new traffic lights on 16 Avenue, along with new RCMP pull out bays, and increased signage, in anticipation of the opening of the King Road Connector in Abbotsford in 2018.
The projects are subject to Translink approval, and will likely begin in late 2017, or early 2018, depending on when a response from Translink is received.
The priority has been placed on installing lights at 208 Street, 232 Street and 240 Street, followed by a light at 272 Street, which currently has a four-way stop.
Last spring, the Township hired McElhanney Consulting Services to complete a study on the road, to determine where traffic lights and other improvements are warranted.
Their study recommends lights with left turn lanes be installed at only 208 Street, 232 Street and 272 Street, as adding too many traffic lights will cause delays in the corridor, and can “increase collisions due to disobedient driver behaviour when unnecessarily delayed.”
However, Coun. Charlie Fox, who lives south of 16 Avenue near 240 Street, said it is imperative that 240 Street be included and made a priority.
“Quite frankly, I don’t care about the corridor. I don’t care about the people going east-west. I care about the people going north-south,” Fox said.
“Those are the people that are my constituents, and those are the people that I represent and those are the people that are my neighbours, including my daughter, my son, my grandson.”
Fox called the 272 Street light “baffling,” as he hasn’t heard complaints from residents about that intersection, like he has about 240 Street, and the four-way stop appears to be working.
“If you travel through Surrey, it’s all lit — every intersection’s lit. If you travel east of here, east of 272, they’re all stop signs. We are the only part of the corridor that has an anomaly of open spaces,” Fox said.
“We need to close those open spaces and be proactive, in my opinion, and deal with this before the King Road Connector opens.”
According to the McElhanney report, from 2009 to 2013, the highest number of collisions on 16 Avenue occurred at the 208 Street and 240 Street intersections, with 39 collisions and 38 collisions, respectively. That makes them the 36th and 37th highest collision intersections in the entire Township (200 Street at 64 Avenue is the highest with 100 collisions followed by 208 Street at 88 Avenue with 84 collisions).
The report also says that at five of the intersections studied — 208, 224, 232, 240, and 256 Streets — it is evident that some drivers are taking risks when entering 16 Avenue from the side roads.
“… some side road motorists are likely misjudging the approach speeds of vehicles on 16 Avenue, and so accept gaps which they perceive to be safe, when in fact these gaps are shorter due to the approaching vehicle travelling above the posted speed limit,” the report says.
According to the report, installing a traffic light at 232 Street will help mitigate this, as it will assist side road traffic to safely enter 16 Avenue, especially during peak traffic volumes in the afternoon. It will also “establish better platooning of traffic along the corridor,” providing longer and more defined gaps for side road vehicles at the other intersections along 16 Avenue without traffic signals.