Question 3: What is the most important action that government could take to promote active transportation? What is unique in your community or region that needs to be considered?



Over the past month, the feedback requested was intended to help define what active transportation means to British Columbians, how it fits into your lives and the barriers that exist in B.C. communities that might prevent you from using active modes of transportation. The focus now shifts to solutions. Your feedback is requested on what actions or initiatives the Provincial government can undertake to better support and promote active transportation.

B.C.’s diversity of communities and people means a variety of approaches will be needed to support safe and accessible active transportation across the province. What can be done in your community?

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529 responses to “Question 3: What is the most important action that government could take to promote active transportation? What is unique in your community or region that needs to be considered?

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    [-] Martyn

    Important action that government could take to promote active transportation:

    – Develop a robust policy framework (a set of principles and long term goals)
    – Adopt measurable targets
    – Monitor progress and adjust the program as needed

    – Develop state-of-the-art guidelines for accommodating active transportation
    – Guide development of new and retrofit provincial infrastructure
    – Provide leadership to municipalities
    – Include end-of-trip facilities and integration with public transit

    – Integrate AT policies and guidelines into relevant Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) functions and procedures
    – Ensure that the Strategy is fully implemented across the province
    – Ensure that active transportation is fully considered in setting up work zones, planning access for new developments, designing roadways and structures, rehabbing pavement, etc.

    – Evaluate, prioritize and upgrade provincial infrastructure
    – Systematically survey current conditions and and identify needed upgrades to resolve gaps in the network and optimize user safety and comfort

    – Encourage and educate the public
    – Develop equitable criteria to prioritize upgrades and a well-resourced work plan to deliver them.
    – Develop or support events, programs and broadly based public information campaigns to reduce barriers to cycling and increase the use and safety of AT
    – Integrate active transportation into the school curriculum
    – Provide access to bicycle education for adults

    – Support municipalities
    – Provide targeted cost-sharing to encourage quick build-out of active transportation networks
    – Provide leadership in the form of guidelines, policies and legislation
    – Provide training for staff

    – Focus on safety
    – Adopt a Vision Zero approach (as has already been endorsed by the Province’s Road Safety Strategy).
    – Review and upgrade legislation and regulations (e.g. MVA)

    – Promote economic opportunities
    – Identify and develop cycle touring networks
    – Protect and upgrade non-motorized recreational trails (e.g. Trans Canada Trail)
    – Support service providers, especially in small communities

    – Integrate with public transit, ferries and inter-city buses
    – Facilitate cycling as first and last leg of multi-modal trips
    – Ensure easy carriage on transit, including inter-city buses

    – Ongoing consultation
    – Establish an advisory council

    Unique in my community or region that needs to be considered:
    – Hilly topography (e-bikes and e-bike incentives could be an important part of addressing this)
    – Land use policies that preserve car-centric sprawl, single family neighbourhoods, discourage density

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    [-] Mika

    Help on funding to low-income, remote, disability communities: Such as tax credit or rebate available in the purchase of active transportation-related goods.

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    [-] Karen

    Education for everyone! Do it when people get their driver’s license.
    But that seems so intangible, so:
    Secure bike infrastructure to prevent bike theft
    Money into Transit!

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    [-] Richard

    Would be great to have BC Ferries operate walk on and bike on ferries connecting downtowns and rapid transit stations. One option would be to have a ferry from a UBC Line rapid transit station to downtown Nanaimo and other destinations. This would be much easier to access via bicycle and transit.

    This would also help create walkable ferry oriented development in downtown Nanaimo and at UBC enabling even more people to walk and cycle more.

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    [-] Mike

    In my small town they are building neighbourhoods of houses with NO sidewalks! It should be mandatory to have complete streets, including sidewalks. When cars and trucks park on the street, there is nowhere to walk. Also, the sidewalks should not be lowered for driveways. Sidewalks should continue at the same level and the cars can climb up and over the sidewalk to enter the driveway, with the help of a very short angled portion. I’d also like to see support for cycling in my small town. You can get to anywhere in town in 10 minutes on a bike but you have to ride in traffic. Why do people have to drive everywhere? Kids could ride or walk to school if traffic was slowed down and protected space was provided for bikes. Our local town council doesn’t seem to think sidewalks or bikes are important. They seem to focus on making sure there is enough parking and that everything is easy for drivers to run back and forth all day doing errands and dropping off and picking up kids. If the streets were safer and there were more continuous sidewalks, trails and bike paths, the kids wouldn’t need to be ferried around everywhere in 2 ton vehicles. Also, people walking and biking might actually stop and talk to each other.

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    [-] Michael

    The single most important action that government could take to promote active transportation would be to establish routes that car-free.
    Frankly, however, the idea of a single action being identified in this way is problematic, since the government should – consistent with the current climate emergency – be pursuing a comprehensive suite of actions. So, for example, governments should:
    * Establish or facilitate electric bike-sharing programs in all BC communities within the next three years.
    * Establish car-free routes and zones.
    * Establish or facilitate a fleet of fast passenger boats serving multiple points on Burrard Inlet.
    * Impose congestion fees for motor vehicles entering downtown Vancouver and Victoria.

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    [-] Darren

    Fund active transportation properly, as if it were a real priority and fix our broken laws to make it safer.

    We sink incredible amounts of money into automobiles, which are destroying our health (obesity from inactivity, asthma from fine particulates, injuries from crashes), our cities, and threatening our existence as a species with their CO2 emissions. Just one project, the Patullo Bridge, is going to cost more than the entire budget active transportation funding over the past few decades. If we fund active transport and transit properly, we could start removing roads, but MoTI leadership and politicians share a car obsession.

    Equally, if not more importantly, we need to undo a century of car-centric lawmaking, from the car-industry sponsored jaywalking laws onwards. The BC Cycling Coalition and other organizations have presented a list of recommended changes to the Motor Vehicle Act. In addition to their recommendations such as a safe passing distance and lower default speed limits, we also need Dutch-style strict liability, the same helmet rules as motorists and pedestrians, and sensible measures like the Idaho stop.

    The province could also get a far better ROI on electric vehicles by funding electric bikes, instead of electric cars for those wealthy enough to buy new cars, and who have a private garage where they can charge it.

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    [-] Kari

    To start with: EDUCATION, full-on, wide-spread promotion via ICBC (make it mandatory to take/learn some information/understand up-dated traffic laws, etc) with each license renewal. It could be sent out with the new license !!
    AND, critically, ensure that every K-12 student in this province is getting cross-curricular education and access opportunities to learn about active transportation before, during and after their drivers’ license training !
    During drivers’ license training, spend more time and emphasise the active transportation concepts and options along with reinforcing their responsibilities as road users. Perhaps also escalating fines, points or license suspension for violating active transportation laws/signs, speed limits, etc.
    We all have to get on board with changing the WAY out-dated norm, and ensure that what comes across as entitlement/impunity on the part of some car drivers is changed to respect for responsibilities and a better understanding of, and conforming with the laws.
    UNIQUE: high cost for housing, meaning that many don’t have the means to buy in the city/place where they work and must commute or pay high rental costs.
    > Active transportation could play a greater, more empowering role in making our cities and regions more affordable and livable !

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    [-] Meghan

    Significant and sustained funding for public transit, walking, and cycling – including infrastructure and promotions, in communities province-wide. Make the proportion of investment MATCH TARGETS for mode share – this will mean a shift from the current focus of investment on highways and bridges. Of course, these investment of necessary, but we need to stop overlooking active modes if we hope to have a paradigm shift.
    Vision Zero has some momentum and interest – we are keen to see the BC government carry this forward with action on the ground.

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    [-] S.

    The most important thing the Province could do is start to focus on making the walk to transit more comfortable and efficient, and fund a stronger transit network throughout the region. Strengthen and support separated bicycle lanes and facilities, and look at lengthening crossing times at intersections in muncipalities reflecting an older population. Slowing road speed is the first tenent to reducing deaths and serious injuries among vulnerable road users. As the baby boom ages we need ways to help this large seniors cohort stay active and connected, and a good sidewalk infrastructure with bences and signalized intersections with leading pedestrian intervals and slower vehicular speeds would greatly assist.

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    [-] Jonathan

    To support and promote active transportation, the provincial government needs to amend Section 525 of the Local Government Act to remove the mandated parking minimums that foster the prevalence of inactive transportation.

    By allowing local governments the option of reducing parking, we can shrink our cities and make them more amenable to active transportation. As a side benefit, this will allow housing to be built more cheaply, since $25k or more of expense required to build a parking space in a highly populated area can be avoided.

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    [-] Sarah

    Time, Cost and Safety
    TIME: I would rather take the bus (over driving), but I need to take three buses to get to work which takes 1.5 hours each way; Driving takes half an hour. This means I have a choice between 1 hour driving vs 3 hours on the bus. If there were more B-line buses and dedicated bus lanes this would help to tip the balance.
    COST: We also need to make transit cheaper than driving. When travelling with kids it is often cheaper to drive than to take the bus. Transit should be free for children under 19. A congestion fee for cars would help to tip the balance.
    SAFETY: Invest in more protected bike lanes. I cycle occasionally but I feel unsafe in rush hour traffic with cars and buses passing very close to me. If I had a protected lane I would cycle more regularly.

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    [-] Oriano

    Increase funding to BC Transit for more frequent service throughout the

    GVRD. Also, insist that the city of Victoria remove the separated bike lane along Pandora so that blind citizens are able to safely use public transit.

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    [-] John

    I support HUB Cycling’s recommendations for active transportation:

    BUILDING

    Infrastructure:
    -Provide sufficient matching funds to maximize the rapid development of municipal active transportation facilities, recognizing that development of complete networks maximizes the usefulness and value of active transportation investments. Increase BikeBC Funding to at least $100 million/year for next 10 years ($21 per person per year) to complete the bike network in that time.
    -Include emphasis on end of trip facilities, integration with transit, and land use when providing incentives and creating policy.
    -Set mode share target of 10% cycling for all trip types in BC by 2040.

    ENCOURAGE and EDUCATE

    Encourage:
    -Invest at least $2/capita/year in promotion, enabling and education for active transportation. Increase multi-year investment in encouragement programming such as Bike to Work Week and Bike to School Week, Bike to Shop Days, ciclovias or open street events, etc. and develop or support data collection programs to monitor progress.
    -Remove PST from electric-assist bicycles. This will help cycling become more accessible to older folks, families with cargo bikes, people traveling long distances.

    Educate:
    -Integrate and invest in systemic cycling education into all elementary schools led by trained cycling instructors, and including adaptive bicycle options for 100% participation including those with mobility challenges.

    SAFETY AND SECURITY
    -Update the BC Motor Vehicle Act and related regulations to better protect vulnerable road users. See BC Road Safety Law Reform Group Position Paper for full recommendations.

    LEADERSHIP
    -Mandate active transportation end-of-trip facilities in all provincial government buildings, integrate active transportation into provincial operations wherever possible and offer cycling education to all employees at least annually.
    -Province to review and update rules and restrictions affecting cycling amenities at multi-family residences, workplaces and educational institutions with a focus on ensuring safe, convenient and secure bicycle and mobility aid storage at both existing and new developments( eg: strata council regulations, tenancy agreements, building and development regulations, etc.)
    -Develop an Active Transportation unit within the Ministry of Transportation to provide professional planning and policy expertise at the provincial level and to support staff at the municipal level, including to develop and promote active transportation facility manuals and best practice guidelines applicable to municipal and private infrastructure.

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    [-] C.S

    I think there needs to be a fully funded active transportation division in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure that is tasked with getting people out of their vehicles on onto bicycles and ebikes and into public transit in conjunction with active transportation . This division would be supported to give active transportation planning equity to funding and completion of active transportation projects. This division would need to have representation in all the different regions of the Province so there would be local knowledge and “boots on the ground” to get things done. The different regions could not be competitors with one another but need to work in harmony to create separated pathways and projects simultaneously. This division could also provide technical and practical information to encourage other ministries to integrate active transportation modalities into daily operations and long-term programming.

    The goal has to be to get people out of their vehicles and transition to mass transit and less C02 emissions. I don’t think my region is unique unique in getting people to shift from private vehicles to active transportation – we are so used to private automobiles it’s going to take a lot of commitment to follow through necessary behaviour change. To change behavior there is going to have to be incentives and rewards and it has to benefit people’s lives. If we don’t do anything about our C02 emissions, there will be a lot of people who suffer from climate disruption and they will be the less fortunate with ability to adapt. Please help us adapt now and make the necessary investments to shift our culture from automobiles to active transportation.

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    [-] Kim

    Encourage local communities to make transportation decisions that are pedestrian and public transit friendly. Provide funding to continue to build transit options and improve the hubs.

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    [-] Elizabeth

    Increase bike paths and shared walking/cycling routes.

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    [-] Sean

    Invest real dollars into more transit, safe cycling infrastructure and better pedestrian infrastructure.

    This includes regional BRT, LRT, rail and ferry systems for our major urban centres, better and more frequent services for rural areas and ending the prioritization of the private motor vehicle and its infrastructure. This should be done in a comprehensive way and in consultation with local governments, but it should be done much faster then it has been and is currently. Stop funding studies and start implementing their findings and recommendations.

    In Victoria (my area) this means HOV lanes and rapid transit between Victoria and Langford, better and more safe cycling infrastructure on a local and regional basis, better and more pedestrian infrastructure.

    It means stop investing 10s to 100s of millions in interchanges and highway expansions that will only result in more induced demand. Set up a real system of getting traffic over the Malhat safely with rules and enforcement (how can traffic move safely through Mont Blanc in France/Italy without the need for new access routes but we can’t make the Malhat safer?).

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    [-] Greater

    Victoria welcomes more than 700,000 passengers every year who disembark from cruise ships at the Victoria Cruise Ship Terminal. Roughly 30% of these passengers choose to walk to the Victoria downtown core every year; we at the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) receive complaints on the condition of sidewalks that impacts their usability. Although GVHA has initiated a proactive campaign to encourage walkability to and from the Victoria Cruise Terminal to downtown via Fisherman’s Wharf and James Bay, including promoting walking tours, various concerns remain. Technology applications for active transportation options (such as electric bikes, scooters, bike share peddle programs, etc.) are also advancing the required infrastructure expected by visitors and residents of a city the size of Victoria. Lighting challenges on these paths also raise safety concerns from patrons. We believe a much larger percentage of passengers, as well as residents and visitors, would use the pathway more often and ultimately increase active transportation in the area if the sidewalks were larger, leveled and better lit.

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    [-] Esther

    Active transportation would likely gain in popularity if active transportation corridors were:
    – efficient and accessible (as flat as possible),
    – safe from traffic and vehicle emissions, and
    – connected with other forms of transportation.

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    [-] Sarah

    There are so many things that need to be done, from safe bike lanes, to slowing traffic to make walking safer, to adding frequency on bus routes and dedicated bus lanes. Active transportation should happen on the way to school, doing the shopping, getting to work, going out for a meal. We need to be building walkable communities, make mixed use developments the norm, ensure more people have the option to walk to the restaurant, the grocery store, daycare, and work, because all of those things are located in close proximity. Adopt standards that require safe sidewalks and separated bike lanes with new development.

    It’s municipalities that are building communities, designing the roads, ensuring (or not) safe space for walking and cycling, adding separated bus lanes. For the province to really make changes in active transportation they need to get municipalities on board.

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    [-] Raymond

    The most important thing the Provincial Government should do is to embrace the already-happening changes in transportation, in BC and world-wide, and to do so in the context of climate change and better quality of life for BC residents.
    That means a strong and definitive effort to diversify its transportation investments and policies that support a mode-shift away from highways and automobile dependence. A mode-shift is needed towards huge investments in public transit, supporting electric vehicles and fleets (incl. BC Ferries), transportation innovations (ie. Ride share). AND smart and much larger investments in active transportation.
    In short, MOTI must become a multi-modal organisation, not just a roads and highways agency.

    And the Provincial Government should learn from the leading cities in BC – and around the world. Metro Vancouver has seen the success of strong investments in public transit. It now has the best transit system in Canada –maybe in North America.
    Similarly, protected bike lanes and bicycle networks in the Vancouver area have been cost–effective, positive and impactful. They have made demonstrable changes in travel behaviour. Bicycle ridership is up 60% since 2013 – less than five years. Seattle has seen a 12% ridership boost in one year after similar bike network investments (similar results are evident in many other cities).

    Much more robust support from the Provincial Government for active transportation – in funding, in policy and in legislation – could dramatically advance those successes in communities all over the province.
    Yes, the challenges and context is different in smaller and more suburban communities. But in my community – south Vancouver Island – and many others, people want to have transportation choices for their everyday travel and other activities (recreation, access to basic services tourism).

    And let’s remember: Having more and better transportation choices is a basic quality of life issue – with multiple other co-benefits: community and individual health, improved air quality, road safety, and addressing climate change.

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    [-] Laurie

    We live in a remote area next to a busy city. Our buses come every half hour and there are few designated cycling routes. I think a public awareness campaign about active transportation and its benefits; driver education and working with municipalities on immediate street calming measures they can take for cycling routes. A way to shift the perception that it’s ok for bikes to be on the road while making it safer for bikes to be on the road. Although, I haven’t participated yet, I like the ‘bike to work week’ and ‘bike the night’ events. Maybe there could be a way to organize those in more remote areas as I feel I would be more active, if I felt it were safer to do so. Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my personal experience and thoughts.

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    [-] Robert

    Separate bike lanes into discrete existing infrastructure like walking paths, LRT and Bus lanes.

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    [-] M.

    Most importantly, I would like to see a shift of priorities and values, and expressed with investment, away from “we want to make alternate choices viable sometimes, although individual vehicles are essential and prioritized” and towards “while personal vehicles remain viable, they should never be essential or prioritized.”

    Rapidly phase out invisible subsidies to car ownership and use. Make subsidies, whether for affordability or for other reasons such as carbon emissions, visible and targeted.

    Significantly increase sustained funding for public transit.

    Provide more resources and flexibility for local governments. Make their requirements more about accountability and less about conformity.

    In my local community, car culture is entrenched and entitled and defensive. We need leadership and resources to make smart choices and investments that help everyone feel included and empowered, not threatened or neglected, while we rapidly and belatedly adapt for the climate-changed world we have made.

    Information that is educational and accessible is essential for needed societal changes, but we also need more ‘show’ and not just ‘tell’. Unpopular choices must sometimes be pushed through to provide examples and experience. This means that funding and enabling smaller projects at local levels, and reporting on them and amplifying what was learned, is critical.

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