Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Province’s new CleanBC plan promises new investments in walking and cycling

Earlier this month, the provincial government released its CleanBC plan. This plan outlines how the provincial government plans to reach its 2030 greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction targets.

One of the largest sources of GHGs is transportation. While the CleanBC plan outlines how the province plans to move towards a zero-emission future for automobiles, it also contains a section about the important role of active transportation in reducing GHGs and giving people a way on out congestion.

On page 25 of the report it states that “in 2019, the Province will establish an active transportation strategy with measures to support new infrastructure, education and incentive programs, and safety improvements for people walking, cycling and using other kinds of active transportation.”

The authors of the report note that currently the province invests just $1.50 per people on active transportation (walking and cycling), and that places like Denmark and New Zealand invest $34 and $24 per person respectively. The plan goes on to say that “lessons learned in these leading jurisdictions will help to inform the new B.C. strategy.”

Combined with the TransLink 10-Year Vision, significant funding is becoming available for walking and cycling infrastructure.

A family using the year-old bike lanes on 53rd Avenue this summer. Select image to enlarge.

In Langley City, we have been successful in getting grants from both TransLink and the provincial government to build cycling infrastructure on 203rd Street and 53rd Avenue. We also will be receiving funding from TransLink over the next few years to implement $1.9 million in cycling infrastructure on Glover Road and $2.2 million in cycling infrastructure on the 208th Street Causeway.

We’ve also received funding to improve walking in our community from TransLink for projects such as the new path on Duncan Way.

With the provincial government now doubling down on investing in active transportation options, Langley City will be in a good position to take advantage of that funding.

Our community is 10 square kilometres which is the perfect size for providing active transportation options. Within our community, if we continue to invest in safe and comfortable walk and cycling infrastructure, people will have real transportation choices. When traveling outside of our community, people will be able to take high-quality transit.

6% of people use active transportation options as their primary way to get to work in Langley City, and around 7% of people take transit to get to work, based on the latest 2016 census data.

While some people must use a car to get around, there is ample opportunity for increasing the number of cycling and walking trips in Langley City. Doubling the percentage of trips that use transit and active transportation options in our community would help reduce congestion and GHG emissions.

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