The improvements to lighting and policing at and near the Langley City bus loop are welcome, but it’s important to give credit to the people who really made it happen — the readers of The Times.
On Nov. 28, Chris Lafrenier was heading home late at night when he was attacked by two teens. He had got off the bus at the bus loop, and it appears he was followed from there by the teens.
The Times published his story, including a graphic photo of his swollen and bruised face. It struck a chord with readers, who contributed generously to a crowdfunding site and also called in and dropped by with offers of further help for Lafrenier, his wife and their pets.
Readers did far more than reach out to him. They also let the City of Langley and TransLink know they were unhappy with the level of lighting and security at the bus loop, and in other areas of the downtown core.
Several wrote very strongly-worded letters to the editor, and also communicated in equally strong terms with the City and TransLink.
To their credit, the City, TransLink and Langley RCMP responded vigorously. The City asked the owners of the nearly-vacant Rainbow Mall, adjacent to the bus loop, to install some exterior lighting. The same request was made of Cascades Casino and Hotel, whose back wall fronts on an alley adjacent to Rainbow Mall.
Both businesses responded positively. In addition, TransLink is setting aside some funds for lighting improvements at the bus loop. New lights will be installed this spring.
In addition, Langley RCMP and TransLink Police are working together on several joint projects in the City core area. Among them are joint patrols. While this is a pilot project, the additional police presence is very welcome. Many City residents have serious concerns about their safety on the streets, particularly in the evening hours, and the patrols offer an added sense of security.
Also in the good news department is that the added focus on the Langley City bus loop has coincided with a time when there has been more criminal activity at the Carvolth bus exchange in the Willoughby/Walnut Grove area.
Langley RCMP have been beefing up their patrols there, and transit security has also been out in force. There have been numerous thefts reported there, along with at least one assault, and the added police presence there is very welcome.
Carvolth bus exchange is very well-used during the week, although it gets little traffic over the weekend. If plans to improve bus service go ahead, it may well become much busier seven days a week.
Any efforts to make it safer for drivers who park there, and for all transit users, are very welcome.
While all agencies who have responded to these issues deserve a lot of credit for listening and acting quickly, it is important to acknowledge the readers of The Times, who really pushed hard when the Lafrenier story came out.
They were not content to live with the status quo.