Editor: There would be few who would disagree with Peter Thiessen (The Times, Aug. 19) for the need, in the short-term, of more traffic lights on 16 Avenue to ensure safer crossings for all who travel in south Langley, including the increasing cyclist traffic.
During the development of the Township’s cycling plan in 2013, the Greater Langley Cycling Coalition lobbied for 248 Street being the designated north-south route instead of 240, as suggested by the transportation engineers, not because of 248 being the easier or more heavily used cyclist route, but because of the plans for traffic light installation at 16 Avenue.
I have witnessed many near cyclist-vehicular crashes at crossings of 16 Avenue, especially at the 224, 240 and 256 Streets, heavily used by cyclists, who often underestimate the speed of traffic, which consistently exceeds posted speed limits.
The concern the cyclist community has with the installation of more traffic signals on 16 Avenue is the impact it will have on moving even more traffic off 16 Avenue onto Zero Avenue, as more drivers will seek a less regulated east-west travel route.
Zero Avenue is arguably the second-busiest cycling route in Langley and besides the busy and unpleasant 16 Avenue, the only direct east-west connector across Langley between Surrey and Abbotsford.
Much of this cycling traffic travels north into the central and north Langley areas.
The increasing congestion on 16 Avenue is pushing more traffic onto Zero Avenue, which, while designated as a collector route on the Township’s Transportation Plan, is being treated as an arterial route.
The posted speed limit of 50 km/hr, limited speed enforcement and the low profile, low number speed platforms on Zero Avenue are not doing much to regulate speed for the safety of the cyclists and agricultural traffic.
Planning for additional traffic lights on 16 Avenue needs to include, in consultation with the local agricultural industry, plans for the bolstering of higher and more speed bumps along Zero Avenue, as recommended by the consultant in 2003. This infrastructure development is needed to make Zero Avenue less attractive to those who would use it to get around the more regulated 16 Avenue route, further endangering the more vulnerable users of this route.
Currently there is no route identified by the B.C. Ministry of Transport of a bike route in the South Abbotsford-Langley-Surrey corridor. Cyclists off the TransCanada are routed north over the Mission Bridge, onto Lougheed Hwy.
As cycling tourism grows, a more practical route needs to be developed for the southern Lower Mainland. Both 16 Avenue and Zero Avenue could serve this purpose very well.