Vancouver Cycling Budget Meeting!

We've just heard that the Vancouver Bicycle Advisory Committee is meeting with city council to discuss infrastructure and cycle-oriented budgeting for 2009-2011.

Basically, if you want money to be spent on improving cycling in the city, write or email council members now. (Here are their numbers)

And the original email in full detail:

If you are tired of fighting through traffic-clogged bicycle routes, narrow dangerous sidewalks on bridges or even longingly thinking of moving to Amsterdam, Copenhagen or even Portland to find safe places to ride, this is one of your best opportunities to make a difference.

The City of Vancouver's "Bicycle Advisory Committee" is recommending that
the City allocate $20 million in the 2009 to 2011 Capital Plan for the
Bicycle Network. Unfortunately, in the draft Capital Plan, there is only $5 million.

Regardless of good intentions and promises of members of city council and
candidates in the upcoming election, without sufficient funding available in the Capital Plan, their ability to dramatically improve cycling conditions in the city will be severely limited without this further recommended additional funding.

The city is not serious about really improving cycling unless they allocate enough money to actually get the job done. There is no money in the Capital Plan for the Central Valley Greenway bridge across the flats, no money to upgrade the cycling and pedestrian facilities on any of the bridges and not enough to complete the bikeway network. The $20 million in the Capital Plan for the Burrard Bridge is only enough to fix the railings and create a barrier between the sidewalk and traffic making the sidewalk even narrower; like the Second Narrows. This is definitely not a cycling improvement.

The candidates for Mayor: Peter Ladner, Gregor Robertson and Betty K. all
say they support the Central Valley Greenway bridge across the False Creek Flats but unless there is money in the Capital Plan ($10 million or so), it is not going to happen in the next three years, the term in which they are running for. You can't really say you are for something unless you support the funding needed to make it happen.

City council and staff really need to wake up the reality of global warming and high gas prices. Cycling and walking are the only option that the city has the authority and financial resources to improve people's transportation options in the near future.

A few key points:

- Each one percent increase in cycling saves Vancouver residents $4 million a year in fuel costs and $5 million in vehicle ownership and operation costs

- If we reach 20% by 2020, the cumulative savings for the residents of
Vancouver will total a staggering $430 million in gas costs and $550 million in vehicle ownership and operation costs. This is money that will stay in the local economy instead of heading off to Alberta to destroy the
environment.

- 83% of trips in Vancouver are less than 10km. The average commute is 5km. This is easy cycling distance.

- 31% of Vancouverites would cycle more if given safe facilities that are
separated from motor vehicle traffic according the Cycling in Cities Study by UBC

- 17% percent of Vancouverites currently cycle on a regular basis according to the City of Vancouver 2008 Recreation & Physical Fitness Survey.

- The additional $15 million only amounts to $7.70 or so per Vancouver
resident. The cost of a couple of lattes, three bus fares or parking a car downtown. People only have to cycle a couple of times a year to recover this investment.

- Cycling improvements such as signals and traffic calming also benefit pedestrians and neighbourhoods. Bicycle routes are also useful for people in electric scooters and wheelchairs.

- The Province is currently working on a Cycling Strategy while TransLink is working on a long range cycling plan. A strong commitment to increase cycling funding by the City of Vancouvercould indeed encourage the Province and TransLink to increase their funding for cycling.

- The City could have the additional $15 million be dependent on receiving match funds from TransLink, the Province or the Federal Government.

- The City has been under-investing in cycling for the last hundred years or so. More funding is desperately needed to complete the cycling network to make up for this lack of funding and provide people with a safe, cycling convenient network for all of their daily trips.

- In cities that do have a complete cycling network such as Davis, California and Boulder, Colorado, 20% of people commute by bicycle. In Vancouver, less than 4% commute by bicycle

What the funding is needed for:

- The Central Valley Greenway Bridge across the False Creek Flats
- Upgrades to the BC Parkway
- Improved traffic calming to get the cars off the bikeways
- Upgrades to the Granville, Cambie and Burrard Bridges
- Completing the bikeway network
- More bike parking
- An elevated approach to the Bike Path on the Canada Line bridge
- Separated bicycle tracks along arterial roads so cyclists can access shopping and other destinations

$20 million will not cover this all but with matching funding from TransLink, the Province and Federal Governments, it is a good start.

What YOU can do: Please encourage city council to increase the funding in the Capital Plan for cycling from $5 million to $20 million.

Speak at "Capital Plan" Public Meeting!

Monday, September 15, 2008, at 6:00 pm in the City's Council Chamber.

To register to speak at this meeting, please contact Nicole Ludwig at 604.871.6399 or e-mail: nicole.ludwig@ vancouver. ca

More information on the Capital Plan can be found here.

More information on the Benefits of Accelerated Investment in Cycling at the provincial level can be found here (pdf)