117th Ave Multi-use Path – First Look
A new multi-use path (MUP) has recently been completed along 117th Ave in Maple Ridge. Bookended by 207th Street in the west and Laity Road in the east, this 1.5km path is located on the south side of 117th Ave, and it wasn’t without controversy.
Local residents had raised concerns about vehicle speeds, and they also wanted a sidewalk along that stretch. Until now, the road was relatively quiet, except during rush hours and school pickups and dropoffs. It was arguably one of the best segments of east-west cycling route to and from downtown Maple Ridge.
Our HUB Cycling Local Committee had recommended a 2 meter wide sidewalk for pedestrians, and various traffic calming measures, such as a bike permeable traffic diverter at Steeves Street, as well as bike-permeable curb bulges. We also felt that street parking alternatingly provided on the south and north side would make for a “meandering” street, which would help reduce traffic speeds.
We believe that a MUP is suitable along routes with few driveways and side streets and along more rural routes where pedestrian and cycling traffic is light, and there are few motor vehicles crossings across a MUP. Due to the number of driveways and side streets that intersect with the MUP along 117 Ave., HUB has been hesitant to endorse the city’s decision.
With a MUP, the city also gets a sidewalk. Two birds killed with one stone.
New MUP on 117th Ave. (Google Maps)
117th Ave with Jordon Park on the left prior to construction (Google Maps)
117th Ave at 207th St at the start of construction (Google Maps)
With the project now completed, we recently rode by the stretch where the new MUP was constructed to see how the project turned out. For those who haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, here’s a quick take.
The MUP starts on Laity Street south of Lougheed and runs westward along 117th Ave to 207th Street. The path’s width has been slightly increased from the original proposal to ensure there is enough space around bus stops and utility poles. The roadway has also been narrowed, which may reduce traffic speeds.
New MUP on the south side of 117th Ave. at 207th Street
Intersection crossing with elephant feet
Overall, the MUP is quite wide and in theory should be able to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians given the present low traffic volume. However, there is still a concern about the potential danger of vehicles backing out of driveways unaware of faster bike traffic from either side.
Curb bulges – the vehicle calming measure designed to address area residents’ concerns over speeding vehicles and a primary motivation for the re-construction project– have been placed at several intersections. Whether they are adequate in slowing down traffic remains to be seen.
The city originally planned to remove all but one stop sign along 117 Ave. In response to concerns expressed by residents, 117 Ave. now has 4 all-way stops. Hopefully this will make the route less attractive for rat-running.
Curb bulges at intersection as traffic calming measure
In addition to the new MUP along 117th Ave, the intersections at both ends have also been improved. On the east end, where 117th Ave meets Laity Street, a new MUP has been added on Laity, between 117 Ave. and Lougheed Highway. This is a welcome addition especially for those who are heading south on Laity from Lougheed and feel uncomfortable being pushed into traffic by a pinch point.
And for those heading east towards downtown Maple Ridge, the new stretch of MUP along Laity now improves the connection to the existing MUP along Lougheed Highway from Laity to 216th Street.
Pinch point on Laity southbound after crossing Lougheed Highway.
117th Ave. MUP crossing at Laity
New multi-use path on Laity towards Lougheed Highway
On the west side of the MUP, along 207th Street, improvements have also been added to make it easier to navigate the zigzag between 117th and Thorne Ave. Painted bike lanes terminating onto elephant feet crossings have been added to either side of 207th Street, providing a safer and more convenient passage for cyclists.
Painted bike lanes and crossings at the 207th St. / Thorne Ave. zigzag
We would like to know how users of the route feel about this new MUP addition. Feedback is welcome by shooting us a email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antoinetta De Wit
May 2, 2023 @ 3:46 pm
Excellent article! Let’s hope the City continues to impress the cycling community