Friday, October 10, 2008

The Place to Be.

You should see the looks on people's faces here in Langley when I say I don't own a car.
The transit system here leaves much to be desired (ie. a trip that would take 25 minutes to walk takes 45 minutes on the bus because of all the weird loopdy loops the bus makes up and down random side streets) but I am determined not to give in to the call of the Toyota dealership.

There is a push out here by the few people with any interest in public transportation to have a light rail system reinstated here that would connect different parts of the Fraser Valley to each other and to Vancouver. I hope it ends up happening. The Langleys (both the Township and the City) are a Conservative stronghold and are quasi-rural, so you know what that means -- generally lots of oil being used to push lots of single occupancy vehicles around from one big box store complex to the next. Much of the time my mom's car (with us in it) is the only car in the HOV lane all the way from Vancouver back to Langley (even during rush hour).

I took a walk to go meet a friend the other day, and was so disturbed by how pedestrian unfriendly the whole event was. I walked from 200th and 56th to 200th and 72nd, and the experience was so disheartening -- semi trucks flying by me with nothing around but WalMarts and Winners stores. Trying different routes has proved fruitless. In many cases I am lucky to even get a sidewalk. When there are sidewalks, they often turn into just a line painted on the road with no warning, and no way to cross the street safely unless you walk back a mile.

I live in the only really pedestrian friendly part of Langley City that I have come across. There is a big Opus Art Store across the street, and some cute stores on the Fraser Highway (more like a normal street near where I live). There are beautiful parks nearby, and several bus stops (too bad the buses only come on the half hour at best, though.) My wish for Langley is that it would become a city that feels more like a community, though, in terms of its pedestrian culture -- or even several communities separated by big stretches of highway and Petsmarts.

There is a group in Toronto that ambushes city streets with impromptu bike lane paint jobs. Maybe they would consider a cross country tour. 

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