Why is driving a car so easy and convenient (when we're not stuck in traffic)? It's because we invest a vast amount of resources constructing, maintaining and operating a connected network of roads.
Why is two thirds of Metro Vancouver's population interested in cycling, but only 5-10% of us actually cycle regularly? Why are so many children dropped off at school instead of making the 15-20 minute walk? (Yes, although I may be young, I do remember walking or biking to school from the age of 6).
It's because we are not investing enough resources in building a complete, connected network of cycling and walking facilities.
Here's a picture from a street in my neighborhood, maybe it is similar to one in yours. The speed limit on this street is 50km/hr and you would probably feel safe driving down this street.
Think of an 8 year old child you know and love. Keep the picture of that child in your mind. Now think of an 80 year old that you know and love. Keep the picture of that senior in your mind. Now picture the two of them together walking or cycling down that same street to the local park. Would you feel happy for them, or fear for their safety? If you are afraid for their safety then we need to do better. If we really want to encouraging walking and cycling and live up to the goals set in our community plan, we need to make it not only safe but easy and convenient.
To make walking and cycling safe, we need to separate it from vehicle traffic. On major roads this means separated cycling facilities and wider sidewalks. On minor roads it means bicycle boulevards and well maintained sidewalks.
To make walking and cycling easy and convenient, we need to build a connected network, a minimum grid, that connects desirable destinations and provides a real alternative to the automobile. Here's an example of what Toronto citizens are advocating for.
We need to move boldly. We need to move quickly. Our finances, our health and our safety.
I support a review of the 2012 North Vancouver Bicycle Master Plan to identify the "minimum grid" for North Vancouver, and will make the commitment to building that minimum grid during my 4 year term on council.
How this will help you:
- If you already own a car, it will provide you with the freedom to choose how to get around; by foot, bike or car.
- If you are under the age of 16, do not have the ability to drive, or don't have the desire/wealth to own and operate a vehicle, it will provide you the ability to get around safely, easily and conveniently.
- If you choose to drive (or are required to because of work or other factors), more people walking and biking means less cars on the road. You can get where you need to be with less traffic holding you up.
- If you choose to walk or bike, you will feel safer, save money and look and feel better by being active and healthy.