The road that runs past R.E. Mountain Secondary school will get an asphalt curb, possibly painted yellow, along with improvements to street lighting.
Langley Township council approved the improvements to the shoulder of 202A Street between 74 and 80 Avenues on Monday, by a unanimous vote.
Work could begin as soon as January.
Councillor Charlie Fox, who has been lobbying for some kind of “safe, yet temporary” measure to make the road safer, convinced his colleagues to add $20,000 to the $30,000 budget proposed by staff.
Fox said the additional money would allow staff to add other safety measures such as speed bumps.
Parent Dan Hunter, who created a Facebook page (RE Mountain Student Safety Now) to press for improvements, was happy with the news, but said more will need to be done.
“I don’t think that $50,000 is enough, still, but it’s a start,” Hunter said. “We know in the long term, major changes have to be made.”
Hunter said street lighting must be upgraded because during the dark days of fall, students are going to classes before sunrise.
“It’s pitch black,” Hunter said.
Currently there is no physical barrier separating the R.E. Mountain students who walk to school from road traffic, only a painted white line on the pavement shoulder.
At more than 1,100 pupils, the school has the second-largest student population in the Langley school district.
Parents and members of R.E. Mountain Secondary’s PAC have been campaigning for improvements to student pedestrian safety since March of last year, citing several near-misses with cars.
A staff report to council said a review found no collisions involving pedestrians along the section of 202A Street that runs from 74 Avenue to 80 Avenue.
At the time 202A was built in 1986, the Township staff report said it met the standards for existing traffic by providing one lane for vehicle travel in each diction as well as a paved shoulder for cyclists and pedestrians.
Eventually, Township plans for the area call for widening the road.
The expansion to four lanes, along with sidewalks is a response to increased traffic caused by the continuing surge in nearby new home construction, as well as the impact of the nearby Langley Events Centre.
But that can’t happen until the Township has an agreement with the property owners and that will take time to negotiate, unless the Township forces the issue by expropriating the land.
Councillor Kim Richter wondered if a curb would be enough, calling it “a little hump that a car could drive over.”
It is the most practical quick fix, said Ramin Seifi, the Township general manager of engineering and community development, who described the alternatives as either “much more expensive, contradictory to existing policies or impractical.”
When Councillor David Davis asked about bringing in three-foot high temporary cement barriers often used on road construction projects, Seifi said at a cost of $100 a metre, that option would run about $120,000.
Mayor Jack Froese called the interim safety measures “a step in the right direction.”
Councillor Steve Ferguson said the work should be done as soon as possible.
– with files from Monique Tamminga