OUR VIEWS: Transit first for Langley?

Reporter Matthew Claxton suggests transit be incorporated before, not after, new areas developed

TransLink is expected to announce new bus routes that will affect Langley in its next quarterly update, coming in September.

Most likely we’ll be getting some extra buses connecting Langley to Surrey, or linking down Fraser Highway to Murrayville and Aldergrove, or up 208th Street through Willoughby.

The more hopeful among us may want to get better local small bus service on collector roads in Brookswood and Walnut Grove, or a direct transit link to the Gloucester Estates Industrial Park.

Unfortunately, the thing we really need, that the entire growing South of the Fraser needs, isn’t going to be on the agenda.

We need transit as development happens, not years later.

We’ve seen this with Walnut Grove, with Willoughby, and no doubt we’ll see it again with Fernridge.

Hundreds, then thousands of new homes are built. Density rises – even Walnut Grove has a density comparable in places to that of East Vancouver.

And yet TransLink cannot plan to put transit in place for the day the moving vans arrive and the newcomers get the keys to their new homes.

Density first, then transit. That’s the way it’s always been, and the way it will likely be for years to come.

It isn’t working to get people out of their cars, because who would move to a car-dependent neighbourhood without a vehicle? If all new neighbourhoods are car-dependent, that means more cars for Langley and Surrey for the foreseeable future.

TransLink is cash-strapped, but an experiment in adding lots of transit as or before a neighbourhood developed might show us some interesting results.

Maybe Langley could volunteer.

– M.C.

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