Dan Hill posted about The Trail of the Okanagans on Facebook 2017-01-30 09:29:25 -0800I just signed!
One of the key natural features of the Okanagan Valley is a chain of lakes that are connected by the Okanagan River. Many small and medium-sized communities dot their shorelines. Vineyards and orchards welcome visitors and residents. It is a remarkably beautiful region.
Over the last few years trail development for hikers and cyclists has progressed to a point where it becomes feasible to connect all communities of the Okanagan Valley including Osoyoos, Penticton, Kelowna, Lake Country and Vernon with a continuous 250km pathway. Over 70% will follow abandoned rail trails along beautiful lakeshores, valleys and rivers. Only a very small portion will follow Highway 97 on a separate bike lane or go through suburban areas on residential roads.
The Okanagan Valley has established an international reputation as a cycling paradise. Unfortunately many cycling events are at the local level since there currently is no safe way of cycling from community to community. Several local governments and volunteer groups including The Trail of the Okanagans, The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative, The Gellatly Bay Trails and Parks Society and The Shuswap Trail Alliance have developed plans to address this situation.
The vision of a valley-wide cycling corridor includes the development of loops and spurs that provide access to communities, vineyards, beaches, parks, the Trans Canada Trail and the many single-track mountain bike areas. Various studies have shown that significant economic benefits can be realized by encouraging cycling-tourism. In addition a safe, affordable, green transportation option is required for commuters and students visiting UBC Okanagan and the various facilities of the Okanagan College.
Though significant investments have already been made by local municipalities, regional districts and the Provincial Government, additional funding is required to build safe cycling lanes along sections of Highway 97, to acquire land leases from private owners and the Okanagan Nation bands, and to construct trails or to improve the surface of existing trails.
These infrastructure investments are expected to yield significant returns by extending the short summer tourist season into the spring and fall shoulder seasons, which is required to make additional private investment for businesses including hotels, restaurants viable.
HELP MAKE IT HAPPEN
The $1 billion for cycling and walking proposed by the BC Cycling Coalition would greatly speed the completion of Trail of the Okanagans and other cycling improvements in the Okanagan thus enabling residents and visitors to experience the economic, health and environmental benefits of cycling sooner. Please sign the petition and share it with your friends, family and co-workers.
Bold Action Now
It is time for bold action now to enable every person, including older adults and children, in BC to cycle or walk safely for their everyday trips and recreation.
Investing $1 billion over ten years in cycling and walking will send a strong message to the world that BC is serious about addressing Climate Change.
Cycling and walking will become attractive choices for everyone, leading to significantly improved fitness and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, congestion, and traffic injuries and fatalities. The paths and protected bike lanes could also be used by people in wheelchairs and other mobile devices.
Investing in cycling and walking will benefit the economy by increasing tourism, reducing healthcare costs, increasing workplace productivity, attracting talented workers, and reducing the societal costs of traffic fatalities and injuries.
Cycling is Popular
There is broad public support for cycling improvements. In the B.C. on the Move Engagement Survey, 72% of respondents supported enhancing cycling infrastructure. Cycling is popular. Almost 70% of adults in BC ride a bicycle at least once a year, 42% at least once a month and 25% at least once a week. Many want to cycle more, with around 65% indicating they would ride more if there were separated bike lanes that protected them from traffic.
A Transportation Bargain
On a per dollar basis, we all benefit more from cycling more than other modes. While bike paths and protected bike lanes are a bargain that will benefit far more people per dollar invested than other transportation projects, it does take a significant amount of cash to build networks of them in communities around the Province. For example:
- Metro Vancouver: $850 million
- Capital Regional District: $275 million
- City of Kelowna: $267 million (cycling and walking)
- City of Chilliwack: $27 Million
- City of Kamloops: $13 Million
At current rates of investment, these plans will take 30, 40 or even 50 years to complete, leaving people to brave busy roads on their bikes or more likely, not bothering to bike at all. Today's children will be grandparents by then.
The Provincial investment combined with local and federal funds will enable the completion of ambitious local and regional plans across BC. For example, the Metro Vancouver Regional Cycling Strategy predicts that upon network build out, cycling will increase to 10% of trips. The CRD Regional Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan predicts cycling network build out cycling mode share will increase to 15%.
The funding for the $1 billion investment could come from a variety of sources including an increase in the Carbon Tax, predicted budget surpluses, a reallocation of transportation budget, cutting the tax break on those earning over $150,000 or a tax on sugary drinks.
By providing people with practical and safe transportation choices, this investment would decrease the rate of the Carbon Tax required to meet Provincial goals also saving money for those who don't cycle or walk.
More Info6,576 signatures
I call upon the Government of BC to enable everyone in BC to cycle & walk in safety as part of their daily lives by implementing an Active Transportation Strategy that includes:
- Investing $1 billion over the next ten years to:
- Upgrade cycling & walking facilities on provincial roads & bridges
- Complete cycling & walking networks in communities across BC
- Provide safe routes to school for children
- Build trails & routes for cycling & walking tourism
- Ensuring that paths & protected bike lanes can be safely shared by people using wheelchairs, skateboards & in-line skates
- Enhancing cycling education for children & adults
- Promoting cycling & walking
- Encouraging electric bike use by eliminating the PST & providing rebates
Lougheed Hwy and the Mary Hill Bypass shoulders are often covered in gravel, rocks, etc. MOT says there is a contract to sweep shoulders every 90 days, which does not happen, and even if it did this is too infrequent. Clear shoulders makes for safer cycling!
Painting the bike lanes green in areas where traffic needs to crossover, or in other safety critical spots, is very important in my opinion. Inexpensive & effective!
There are numerous locations throughout BC where the construction of rumble strips along with the placement of concrete barriers has reduce the useable shoulder surface to less than 600mm. This is unrideable and unsafe forcing riders into high speed traffic lanes. The MoTBC design standards specify that the paved shoulder should have a minimum width of 1.5m. Cyclists lives are being placed at risk to protect motorists who are essentially unattentive for any number of reasons. This is unacceptable as it is based on discrimination in that it implies that cyclists are less worthy of protection than careless drivers.