Increasing Active Transportation
The targets for 2030 are that (1) at least 80% of trips will be made by walking, cycling or public transit in current and emerging planning areas around SkyTrain stations (2) 90% of Vancouver residents will live within an “easy walk/roll” for their daily needs and (3) two-thirds of all trips in Vancouver will be made by public transit, walking or cycling.
To achieve its targets the COV will need to create new walking and cycling infrastructure and vastly improve public transit. Good news for us in that hopefully, the Seaside Greenway cycle route through Kits Point will soon be completed. Currently it’s routed through what’s been called the “Kits Parking Lot Pinball Parade” and, as you can see from the opening page of our website, “Conflict Corner” at Arbutus/Creelman.
“It is no exaggeration to state that walkers are an indicator species for quality of life in the city,” writes Paul Tranter and Rodney Tolley in their book Slow Cities (2020). They list, among its many benefits, that walking:
- Provides a wealth of benefits to physical and mental health,
- Reduces municipal costs, providing savings of 25 cents per vehicle-mile on average, rising to 50 cents per vehicle-mile in urban-peak conditions,
- Increases municipal revenues as there is an inverse relationship between money spent on transportation and housing,
- Reduces consumption of fossil-fuel pollution thereby improving the quality of our air and health, and
- Reduces noise pollution (now if we could only do something about motorcycles!)
We are grateful that near the onset of COVID-19 the COV introduced the Slow Street initiative wherein on-street parking was temporarily removed from the east side of Kits Beach Park. We’d like to see this initiative made permanent. Kits Point has a confusing and unenforced blend of speed limits: 30 km/hour throughout would be safer. A collision between a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h and an elderly (60+) pedestrian or cyclist has a 60% chance of fatality but only 5% at 30 km/h. (Data from: Relationship between Speed and Risk of Fatal Injury: Pedestrians and Car Occupants) In the UK speed limit zones of 20 mph (32 km/h) have shown a 70% reduction in child-pedestrian fatalities compared with higher speed limit zones. (State-of-the-art review: preventing child and youth pedestrian motor vehicle collisions: critical issues and future directions)
This summer, foot traffic in parks was more than double than normal in Vancouver (and in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal) according to The Globe & Mail. The COV reported that weekday bike traffic increased 48% during the last week of May compared to 2019—observing the activity over the summer, that figure was likely higher in Kits Point.
Cities worldwide are moving to active transportation. Bogota has 550 km of bike lanes, added 84 km in March 2020 and plans to add another 280 km, aiming for 50% of all trips to be on bicycles.
In Melbourne, the weekly transport cost of a household that owns no cars and walks and cycles everywhere was 7.5% of that of a two-car household, a saving of nearly A$240/week.
Improving bus routes in the Bronx resulted in a 10% increase in bus ridership, a 20% improvement in bus speeds and a 71% increase in retail sales.
Auckland found a 10% increase in walking connectivity resulted in a 5.3% increase in productivity, equivalent to NZ$42 million.
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