How do we slow traffic on Allard Crescent?
Long time Township resident Greg Drew delivered a passionate plea to Council last monday regarding the speed of traffic on Allard Crescent in North Langley. As someone who often walks along this stretch, I concur with Mr. Drew on this that this should be taken care of. There have been several deaths and the number of incidents continue to grow.
Mr. Drew mentioned that the Township has tried many things to try to reduce speed from installing various speed bumps (which were later removed due to motor home damage) to added road speed signage. However, he curiously stated that the construction which added better perspective has actually increased speed since drivers can see farther. He said many bicyclists don’t use the bike lanes because of all the junk collected along their path. He provided a host of other issues including altercations between drivers, problems with trucks, etc.
“All I’m saying is this is a huge issue and I don’t want to have to come back before council and say I told you so when somebody dies.” -Greg Drew
During his delegation to council, Mr. Drew was seeking another speed/traffic count (since the last one was during January, which is not a high traffic period here), increased RCMP presence, and a “no truck” sign at McKinnon & Allard. The problem with RCMP presence will always be that it is more reactive whereas what this street needs is long term traffic conditioning. It may work on the short term, but it isn’t a practical long term solution.
When Mr. Drew mentioned that the improved line of sight sped up traffic intrigued me because this is exactly what is expected. The easier a roadway is for drivers to speed – such as line of sight, wider lanes, less lights – the faster and therefore less safe local traffic will be. Allard Crescent is a gorgeous drive, almost like a mini-Stanley Park (which ironically benefits from a lack of visibility for motorists, forcing them to stay slow), which invites all sorts of joy riders.
A few days after his delegation, I spoke with Greg Drew and he confirmed that the majority of the speeders are not residents on Allard – but mainly pleasure drives benefiting from the beautiful scenery, lack of police enforcement, long straight-a-ways, and no traffic calming measures.
There are many techniques to traffic calming that a municipality can undertake, but it takes the will of the people and of council to actually want safer streets. To make streets safer, you must make it less desirable for cars. In urban areas, this often includes roundabouts, road diets and angled street parking. In a more rural area like Allard Crescent, this could involve street chokers and diverter medians as pictured above, in combination with the narrower lanes.
While Mr. Drew mentioned that speed humps were causing problems for motor homes, rumble strips in key location could be another solution and wouldn’t hurt vehicles. Greg Drew provided anecdotal evidence during our discussion that this would work since even the little speed counters were laid in January, drivers would actually break just before them due to the slight rumble.
Following the delegation I drove through Allard Crescent during the day. The lanes on Allard Crescent are not even 9.5′ in most areas, but there is little congestion, which defeats the benefit of narrow lanes. While speeders have good visibility throughout most of the Crescent, there were several hidden driveways and areas of high pedestrian activity, even in early April, where the lack of speed enforcement could definitely lead to tragedy. Indeed, there is an impossible amount of natural debris along bike paths. The road shoulders were used by joggers and parents with strollers instead of the uneven dirt path beside the road on the other side of the fence. Personally, I found at least four locations that would benefit from having aggressive rumble strips and/or street chokers, especially around Derby Reach parking locations.
While I am sure Mr. Drew will continue his own advocacy, I will follow up closer to summer as pedestrian activity increases and a better understanding of the relationship between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians along this uniquely beautiful roadway.