Langley’s newest overpass and highway interchange was built largely for cars, but it’s won an award from a B.C. cycling group for improving access for bicycles as well.
The Township of Langley and the Ministry of Transportation were jointly awarded an Infrastructure Improvement Award from HUB Cycling for the 216th Street Interchange project, which opened late last summer to drivers and cyclists.
The first new interchange built in decades in Langley, it includes a divided cycling lane that runs from 80th Avenue all the way to Telegraph Trail.
“Connecting the neighbourhoods of Walnut Grove and Willoughby, the new protected cycling facilities on 216th Street are safe and comfortable for most people,” said Evan Hammer, Infrastructure Planning and Policy Manager with HUB Cycling.
The north-south connection includes both an on-street bike lane that is separated from traffic with a low curb, as well as a broad multi-use sidewalk for pedestrians, or for more cautious cyclists, including children.
“This is a fundamental piece of infrastructure that will create the basis of a more connected network of protected bike lanes in the future as the area continues to develop,” said Hammer.
Mayor Jack Froese was pleased with the award, and said as a cyclist himself he likes protected cycling areas.
“For me, I like to go out when I feel safe,” Froese said.
He took up riding on a power-assist electric bike two years ago, after not having ridden a bike since his 20s, Froese said.
In addition to the award for the overpass, a Langley cyclist was honoured in the HUB awards.
Dr. Geraldine Jordan was honoured with a volunteer appreciation award for her local community advocacy on behalf of cyclists and cycling projects.
Many people have been getting into cycling, particularly in the last year. During the pandemic, adults and families looking for a safe outdoor exercise flocked to bicycle stores, causing serious shortages of bikes, parts, and accessories.
Froese said the Township is moving on with its plan to expand cycling infrastructure.
“It’s a long range plan, but we’re working on it every year,” he said.
A few years back, the Township doubled the annual contribution to the fund, which is used to add bike lanes to areas that were built decades ago, before they were mandated.
Many newly-developing areas are being built with bike lanes included, but connecting up those areas is an ongoing process.
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