Inadequate Funding for Communities
Communities across the province have produced extensive cycling network plans. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, these cycling networks may not be complete for 20 to 30 years. For instance:
- Surrey has recently completed a cycling plan that includes over 470 km of additional bike lanes and paths. With current funding, it plans on completing around 12km per year but has indicated that additional funding from the provincial and Federal Governments would speed implementation of the plan.
- The Pedestrian & Cycling Master Plan – Capital Regional District estimated the cost of upgrading the bicycle network to attract people of all ages and abilities is around $275 million.
- TransLink has estimated that completing all ages cycling networks around the region may be much higher than $800 million. Due to lack of new funding sources, in 2013, TransLink only invested $2 million.
Decades of Underinvestment
A large expenditure on cycling facilities is required to make up ground lost through several decades of underinvestment . The Netherlands, widely hailed as the world leader in cycling, spends approximately $40 per person per year on cycling. Several other jurisdictions with cycling levels similar to that of BC are matching or exceeding that level of investment. London Mayor Johnson recently announced he will increase cycling funding to $619 million over the next three years.
No other transportation investment of similar size can boast the potential to be enjoyed by people of all ages and income brackets, in communities large and small, throughout the province. High quality cycling facilities that are attractive to a significant portion of the population such as bicycle paths and separated bicycle lanes can cost from $1 million to $4 million per km (1/6 the cost of one km of road network for motorized vehicles). This investment will enable the construction of hundreds of kilometres of high quality facilities in communities around the province, giving the majority of British Columbians access to great bicycle routes.
Importantly, cycling facilities also benefit those who don’t ride a bicycle. Multi-use paths are used by pedestrians, in-line skaters, electric wheelchairs, personal mobility scooters, and skateboards. Traffic calming along bicycle routes benefits neighbourhoods, making streets safer for all pedestrians. But it has particular benefit for seniors, children, and the disabled. Bike lanes along busy streets calm traffic, enhancing the pedestrian environment and creating a more welcoming retail atmosphere.
In our Cycling Strategy. we recommend a significant acceleration of the investment in cycling networks including bicycle paths, separated bicycle lanes and other high quality bicycle facilities totalling $175 million per year by all levels of government. This investment in infrastructure, accompanied by funding for education, promotion, and end-of-trip facilities, will enable residents and visitors of all ages and abilities to safely and conveniently cycle throughout the province, fostering healthier individuals and communities.