A visitor-friendly City of Langley
First of all, the City of Langley needs its own maps, both the paper kind and the sort that go on billboards so visitors can find their way around.
Then it needs directional signs that are simple and easy to understand.
And other signs to show people where they can walk and where they can cycle.
Names are needed, too, so that people know what to call the downtown core and different attractions within the City.
All of it will make the City easier to navigate, both for visitors and residents and encourage them to explore the city and spend their money here.
The $600,000 "wayfinding strategy" adopted by council Monday night also calls for making the entrances to the City more more inviting.
In his presentation to council, consultant Adrian Bell of Applied Information Group (AIG) Inc. noted that the most visible sign on a most important City of Langley street consists of a "stark" do-not-enter warning at the beginning of a one-way.
The AIG proposal comes after a recent survey of Abbotsford residents discovered many potential visitors found the City of Langley hard to locate and confusing to navigate.
A diplomatic Bell noted that "this is not a standard grid city."
Bell said at the moment, the City appears on the fringe of other municipalities' maps, "as if its teetering on the edge of a cliff" rather than in the centre where would-be visitors could have a clear idea of how it connects to the surrounding Lower Mainland communities of Surrey, Langley Township and Abbotsford.
Signs need to be simplified, given a consistent look to make them easier understand, and should not be stacked together on single poles, Bell said.
Photo below: an example of the proposed new-look signs, from the consultant's report
Unique zones within the City should have clear descriptive names, like calling the "one-way" something like "downtown Langley" instead.
People should be told the City is pedestrian-friendly, and that a person can explore most of the City on foot once they park their car, Bell said.
It would take about three years to make the City more visitor-friendly, his firm estimates, and it would cost about $600,000 over that period.
An enthusiastic Councillor Rudy Storteboom supported the plan.
"I think it's an investment in our future and it's money well-spent," Storteboom said.
"It (the plan) will all get us to where we want to, so much more quickly."
A less enthusiastic Councillor Dave Hall said before the City tries to get more people to visit, it should fix its transportation problems.
"[Some people say] 'I know I'm in Langley because I'm waiting for a train," Hall observed.
In the end, council voted to approve the plan, but it was "subject to budget approval," meaning the money will still have to be found.