Langford developing network of cycling, walking routes
In Langford, cyclists are met with a patchwork of trails, bike lanes and busy roadways, but the City is rolling out a multi-year plan to make non-car travel easier.
Langford wants to connect the city’s downtown core and surrounding neighbourhoods with a “spider’s web” of continuous cycling and walking paths.
The project has an initial $1.8 million earmarked from Langford’s 2011 capital spending plan, and will start with paving a few kilometres of the Galloping Goose trail, from Glen Lake Road to Kelly Road.
With City Centre Park due for completion this year, the trail network is Langford’s next big project, said Mayor Stew Young. “For the next two or three years we’ll focus on trails and sidewalks and get neighbourhoods linked,” he said.
Coun. Lanny Seaton, chair of Langford’s parks and recreation committee, said the project is about giving people better options to move around the city, so a vehicle isn’t necessarily the default choice.
“As we grow as a city, we want to provide a nice way to get around, and where you don’t have to drive a car,” Seaton said. “The idea isn’t to force people out of their cars and onto bikes and buses. But we do want to give people the opportunity to do something different, and to choose a better way to get around.”
The plan envisions five major spurs — with a mix of separated and on-street bike lanes — along Goldstream Avenue, Veterans Memorial Parkway and the E&N rail trail and the Galloping Goose, and a series of information and map kiosks.
Smaller neighbourhood trails would link into the main trails, conceivably providing someone in the Luxton area a relatively easy bike ride to north Langford.
“It’s called a spider bike plan. It’s all to bring people downtown out of their cars,” said Mike Leskiw, Langford parks manager. “It’s an exciting project. Not many cities have tackled this.”
Langford is already building its first curb-separated bike lane on the west side of Millstream Road, a block north of Treanor Avenue. Much of the network will involve using and upgrading existing trails or improving existing bike lanes.
One of the trickiest links is the Millstream overpass, a bridge that links north and south Langford and takes nerves of steel to navigate on a bike. Cyclists may be routed to the Spencer interchange bridge, when and if that bridge is completed and open. Leskiw said the city is working with the Ministry of Transportation on the best way for cyclists to safely cross the highway.
As for paving the Galloping Goose, which is owned by the Capital Regional District, Seaton said he has a “commitment” from CRD parks to repay the City for improvements made to regional trails. It’s the same if Langford forges ahead and extends the E&N rail-trail about two kilometres east from Savory school along the steep ravine near Atkins Road.
An elevated trail through the Atkins area is expected to cost millions. “The CRD said if we want to put it in, they’ll pay us back over time,” Seaton said. “Some areas of the trail would be narrowed up to leave the natural areas. We’re looking at concrete pilings and a suspended bridge.”
Langford’s “spider bike plan” could take up to five years to realize, although Seaton said if residents are eager to move faster, the City could hold a referendum on borrowing funds specifically for the project during November’s municipal election.
The parks committee is planning open houses to gain feedback this summer. “Everything depends on the economy and money we have available, but people may want to spend money to complete this,” Seaton said. “It’s a neat way to connect the community together.”