Bike group wants to 'ungap the map'

Bike group wants to ‘ungap the map’

Dan Millsip has used a bike as his main method of getting around for almost a decade, but there are still roads in Langley he avoids.

While most drivers in Langley are very good about giving cyclists room, they don’t really want bikes on main roads, Millsip said.

“Honestly, I don’t want to be there either,” the chair of the newly launched Langley HUB chapter said.

HUB is a cycling advocacy network started in Vancouver in the late 1990s and has been sending out spokes to other communities since. 

Millsip, a semi-retired Langley City resident, will be advocating for better cycling infrastructure.

“There’s a couple areas that I’m looking at focusing on,” said Millsip. “One is schools.”

Millsip’s own kids rode to school through most of their early years and have become avid cyclists as adults.

After riding for years, eight years ago Millsip’s family sold one of their two cars.

“Everybody in the family got a thousand dollar bicycle,” he said.

HUB has already met with the District Parents Advisory Council, and has connected with families at local bike shops.

Millsip said he keeps hearing that people want their kids to be able to ride bikes to school, but are worried about safety.

A lack of bike lanes leading up to many schools is part of the problem, Millsip said. There isn’t a bike lane to Yorkson Middle School, for example. A bike lane down 48th Street was just added near H.D. Stafford Middle this year.

“The alternative to that is the traffic jam at every school,” Millsip said.

Another priority is what HUB calls “Ungap the Map.” 

Langley, like many other communities in the Lower Mainland, has stretches of road with bike lanes. But existing lanes and safe routes don’t necessarily connect to one another.

Even where such routes exist, they aren’t necessarily well marked.

For example, how to ride from Brookswood to Langley City?

Millsip isn’t a fan of riding down most of 200th Street or 208th Street, as neither is very forgiving of cyclists, and there are no bike lanes until north of 48th Avenue on 208th Street.

There is a safer way through, on 203rd Street – but it involves winding through residential streets and cul-de-sacs and cutting through a path on the BC Hydro right of way.

Without safe, marked routes, many people choose not to ride.

“What I’d like to see is a north-south corridor going all the way from Walnut Grove to Brookswood,” he said.

The local HUB chapter is putting together a survey of cycling routes, and will have recommendations about which areas could do with connections and upgrades soonest.

He points out that other communities, like Surrey and Vancouver, are farther ahead on cycling infrastructure.

“My wife, she won’t ride on the streets in Langley,” Millsip said. “We go into Vancouver, and she’s all over it.”

They’d like to see connections in and between higher-density neighbourhoods in Langley, including industrial areas like Gloucester.

Langley Advance

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