Cycling is slowly becoming a bigger part of the transportation landscape in Langley, as the City and Township, and local riders move ahead with plans for the coming year.
Langley City is working on an updated Master Transportation Plan, last revised in 2006.
In spite of a few major roads with bike lanes - notably the 203rd Street overpass, and 208th Street south of Fraser Highway, there are few dedicated bike lanes in the City.
"We've got a very auto-centric road network," said Mike Thomas, manager of engineering services for the City.
While the City is looking to include more cycling options in its updated plan, it will not be about forcing drivers off the road.
The plan isn't called the cycling plan, or the car plan, or even the pedestrian plan, noted Gary Vlieg, the City's director of engineering and parks.
The idea is to integrate all the modes of transportation together into a viable network for a community that is getting denser and busier.
One project the engineering department hopes to get off the ground this year is creating a cycle-friendly route from H.D. Stafford Middle School east along 48th Avenue to 208th Street. It can then join the existing bike lanes to the north and provide a safer way for kids to bike to school.
Creating safe north-south and east-west routes through the City is a challenge, said Vlieg and Thomas.
Adding bike lanes on 200th Street, much of Fraser Highway, or other existing major routes would be either difficult, very expensive, or both, the engineers say.
"You often have to acquire more land [to widen roads] and that gets horrifically expensive," Vlieg said.
Some key east-west routes the City is considering are 53rd and 51B Avenues, roads that are relatively low-traffic, but which are already fairly wide.
For north-south routes, 203rd Street may be the key route. Another wide road, it would need some upgrades.
"It is pretty narrow over the bridge," said Thomas.
Rebuilding would probably include making things better for pedestrians as well,
moving power poles out of sidewalks, for example.
Langley Township will spend up to $180,000 this year on improving bicycle infrastructure, with $75,000 of that money coming from TransLink.
Traffic engineer Paul Cordeiro said the Township is hoping to get the most kilo-metres of marked bike lanes possible for the least amount of money.
As such, it's targeting a few areas along major routes, painting lanes and putting up signs marking bike routes.
"A lot of it is signing and marking," Cordeiro said.
One of the bigger cycling lanes to be completed this year will be along Fraser Highway, as part of the widening to four lanes between 209th and 216th Streets.
The plan is to also complete marking out bike lanes along the existing shoulders of Fraser Highway, from 228th to 264th Street.
Stretches of 96th Avenue from Walnut Grove to Fort Langley will also be marked out. Glover Road from Fort Langley to Highway 10 will also be marked for bikes.
Along most of those routes, there are already paved shoulders in place, so putting up signs and marking the lanes is all that needs to be done. Cordeiro noted that there are a few spots where there is only a sidewalk, as along 96th Avenue, or where narrow shoulders may have to be widened.
Other areas are being widened and may get bike lanes as they densify. Areas in Willoughby are slowly getting bike lanes as the area between 200th and 216th Streets is redeveloped. The builders put in bike lanes as part of their agreements with the Township.
An updated cycling plan for the Township will be released for a public viewing and consultation sometime in March, Cordeiro said.
Both City and Township officials met with local cycling activists in the Greater Langely Cycling Coalition last month.
GLCC president John Evanochko was pleased with some changes made over the last year, such as the Township's plan to make much of Zero Avenue part of its official cycling network.
"That was a pleasant addition," he said. The plans of both City and Township still need approval and financial backing from their mayors and councillors before any "Share the Road" signs are put up, and before any bike lanes are paved or marked out with paint.