Traffic congestion on Highway One through Langley. The highway will be widened to six lanes to 264th Street by 2025. (Langley Advance Times files)

Our View: Opportunity in highway widening

The wider highway means an easier time for drivers – and opportunities for transit

The widening of Highway One east to 264th is both expected and necessary.

But it isn’t just an opportunity for commuters to shave a few minutes off their daily drive, and a few bucks off the cost of gas for their rides.

First, we have to acknowledge that we can’t widen our way out of congestion for ever.

With hundreds of thousands more people expected to move to Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack in the coming decades, we are going to need those extra lanes – and the road will eventually have to be widened to Abbotsford, too.

But putting everyone in cars will just see us back at square one in 20 or 30 years. But hopefully, we won’t need to keep widening the highway to eight, 10, 12 lanes.

Widening the highway now allows us to consider adding transit options, too.

Hundreds of people use the bus from the Carvolth Transit Hub in Willoughby to commute every day, via a rapid bus and SkyTrain.

Getting a transit route to connect both Aldergrove residents and the workers at Gloucester Industrial Estates to points west would be a huge boon to job seekers, employers, students, and seniors.

It’s also an ideal point to link up Metro Vancouver’s TransLink buses to the BC Transit buses that serve the rest of the Fraser Valley. Right now, downtown Aldergrove is one of the few places where you can transfer from one to the other, and arranging that link took years of planning.

Adding transit options, including rapid buses, more local bus service, and possibly a park and ride for Aldergrove or Gloucester, should be top of mind for local politicians. The road widening is expected to be finished by 2025. That’s long enough to plan for better connections for everyone.

– M.C.

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