In the 21st century, every city will be challenged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our goal must be to plan for a walkable, cyclable and low-carbon transit-friendly city. Zero emission vehicles, reducing congestion, more complete local neighbourhoods, and a world-class citywide transit system — just as Vancouver had 100 years ago — are all part of the solution.
The economy and livability of every city depends on a robust transportation system that enables people and goods to arrive at their destinations safely and efficiently. This means ensuring that different modes of transportation — walking, cycling, cars, trucks and transit — work well together and our streets and sidewalks are well maintained. Instead we’re seeing growing congestion and conflicts that impact our quality of life and our economy. The rules of the road and the rules of the sidewalk need to be better enforced.
More importantly, a transportation strategy must be tied to and support a comprehensive citizen-driven city-wide plan.
Building a $3-billion, 9-km subway along Broadway to UBC (which, according to Metro Vancouver and city plans, will necessitate high density development and city financing) will not solve Vancouver’s congestion problems nor meet all our transit needs. Citizens should be offered access to transit that is convenient and that supports the quality of their neighbourhoods. For the same $3 billion we could provide frequent and pollution-free transit to every corner of the city, and accomplish this in a fraction of the time.
Vancouver has set a goal for 2040 that two-thirds of city trips will be by walking, cycling and transit. Twenty major cities, including New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, Delhi, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, have already exceeded that goal. We can do better. We need a transit system where all residents can access transit within a five-minute walk and where all neighbourhoods are complete and walkable.
The Green Party supports the City of Vancouver’s transportation policy priorities focused on transit, walking and cycling and the goal of zero traffic fatalities.
Your Green Council Team will work to improve:
Congestion and Safety
• Measure congestion and develop a plan to reduce it. The best way to reduce congestion is to invest in transit, walking and cycling.
• Look at shifting city construction to weekends and off-peak traffic hours, and minimizing land closures, especially in rush hours, by the construction industry.
• Better synchronize walking and cycling control signals with vehicle traffic signals.
• Investigate shifting delivery of goods and garbage pick up to off-peak traffic hours, as we did during the 2010 Olympic games.
• Engage citizens in formulating a transit plan for our whole city, including what kind of rapid transit to UBC makes most sense. For instance, is it a Broadway subway, LRT (light rail) and/or more rapid-bus service along multiple routes?
• Do not fund public transit with development levies, an idea included in our city’s Transportation 2040 Plan and in Translink’s plans. This would lead to high-density development, inflated land values and diversion of development levies from the community services they now fund. Better solutions are to use carbon funds and a bigger share of the federal gas tax and infrastructure funds.
• Strongly lobby that Translink be restructured with an accountable board and sustainable funding formula and that senior governments to fund and fast-track more transit that is more affordable, safe and convenient for riders, with more routes and frequency of service throughout our city, including more rapid-bus service along multiple routes to UBC. Ideally everyone should be able to access transit within a five-minute walk.
• Support a transit referendum if the question is HOW we fund transit not whether we fund major transit investment.
• Plan for a zero-carbon transit system now. Urge Translink to retain our electric trolley system and, at minimum, shift from diesel to compressed natural gas but, preferably, to hybrid and electric.
• Add more bus lanes other priority measures and smart transportation systems to increase the efficiency of transit and reduce congestion.
• Protect the safety of transit drivers and passengers: urge Translink to work with the Vancouver Police Department to improve protocols.^TOP
Walking and cycling
• Aim to be a more walkable city. That means making walking easier and safer: planning more complete neighbourhoods; repairing sidewalks; improving crosswalks and repainting lines; and, where possible, separating walking and cycling paths and controlling speeds on shared paths to minimize conflicts and injuries. Lobby the provincial government to amend the Motor Vehicle Act to allow the City to establish neighbourhood reduced speed limits.
• Complete Vancouver’s cycling network using neighbourhood-based decision making and collaboration with the cycling community to choose and design routes, considering public health, safety, equity and the economy and to achieve a network of neighbourhood greenways and traffic calmed residential streets suitable for all modes of personal transportation. Build bike routes around exisiting functional traffic hierarchy: where possible, encourage bike routes and infrastructure on designated collectors and high streets like Main or Commercial or 4th; consider bike routes off designated high capacity arterials like Broadway or Clark to ease congestion, facilitate faster, more efficient public transit, and reduce cyclists’ exposure to dangerous particulate matter and nanotoxics (especially diesel particulate matter).
• Improve cycling safety by getting more people cycling. Cities with higher numbers of cyclists have reduced injury rates. Encourage the Vancouver School Board to include bike safety education in our schools. Work with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), ICBC and the cycling community to develop a comprehensive bike safety and responsibilities manual and education program. Conduct regular “route” checks to reduce reckless cyclists along busy streets, the seawall and AAA bike routes.
• Improve cycling convenience. Enhance safe and secure bike lock-up and increase the number of city bike racks. Improve the cost and efficiency by which retailers can request bike racks, and develop minimum standards for the number of public bike racks relative to retail. Expand community programs like Build a Bicyclist that teach bike repair and provide bikes for low-income households and new immigrants.
• Address bike theft, which is now more prevalent than auto theft, by enhancing and expanding the VPD's bait bike program.
• Support the public bike share program and minimize competition with bike rental businesses.
• Support more active transportation-related street parties and events, in collaboration with communities and BIAs, including car-free days and events similar to Portland's Sunday Parkways which features street activations, music and food along a “discovery route”.
• Work with Tourism Vancouver to promote Vancouver as a walking, cycling tourism destination.^TOP
Cars, trucks and other forms of transportation
• Support zero-emission (electric) vehicles: allow free parking for electric vehicles (cars, scooters and motorcycles) in city parking lots and city street parking.
• Create free parking zones for motorcycles and scooters near street intersections.
• Support the taxi industry as an alternative in the mix of transportation choices that reduce vehicles on our roads.
Support alternatives to car ownership such as car-sharing.
• Investigate scheduling and routing of heavy commercial traffic away from the urban core at peak traffic hours. Investigate non-residential area night deliveries with Port Metro Vancouver, wholesalers and commercial haulers.
• Ensure that any consideration of removing the Georgia/Dunsmuir Viaducts is synchronized with a complete East False Creek Flats plan. New traffic management considerations must involve collaboration with local residents, community gardeners, businesses and other stakeholders and enhance movement of people, goods and services while enhancing livability. The delivery of a promised park for northeast False Creek should not be dependent on whether or not viaducts are removed.
• Require full disclosure on the transportation of hazardous goods and fossil fuel products through Vancouver. Investigate ways to reduce and eliminate these shipments.
• Lobby for a seat for the City of Vancouver on Port Metro Vancouver.