While some poor CRD staff get to deal with sewage, others are much luckier, working on the new Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. As was reported in our local rag, the public kick-off events for the plan were earlier this week, although some of us were “lucky” enough to get involved a bit earlier. For my sins I have become part of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, one of two groups to advise the CRD and it’s consultants.
First up Monday night was a short meet and greet of the aforementioned committed, before the public advocacy session. The committee as a whole totals about 20 people, with representatives from many groups the GVCC, Capital Bike and Walk, Roads, Rails and Trails, Bike to Work Society and others I am surely forgetting. Oak Bay is fairly well represented, with myself, Lesley Ewing and Gerald Smeltzer, who wears dual-hats, both the Oak Bay Bicycle Master Plan core team and the Oak Bay Community Association.
The main part of Monday night was actually the public advocacy session, attended by 70+ people from all stripes, although the crowd was heavily tilted toward bicycle advocates, a trend that continued the next day. To start the evening off, Tracy Corbett, Senior Manager of Regional Planning at the CRD, pointed out this isn’t the first bike plan the regiona as a whole has created, showing the 1897 bike route map seen on the right. This is also about the era that bicyclists where leading the fight for paving of roads, something forgotten in the recent celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first concrete road.
But the highlight of the night was a talk by Scott Bricker, Executive Director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, an Oregon bike advocacy group that has made great strides in making Portland and the rest of Oregon the bicycle-friendly place it is. He stared off by stating the core principles of the BTA:
- People like to bike
- People don’t like to bike with cars
- You need a dense network
- The network has to go places (that people want to go)
While obvious on the face it, these core principles evolved to become part of the official Portland Bicycle Master Plan. Beyond core principles, he spoke extensively about to advocate effectively, including such truths that businesses are some of the most effective advocates of bicycling and that you need both the bicyclist in the suit and the more fringe elements some of us would rather go away.
As a wrap up to his talk, he gave a quick top 10 list for what makes a good regional plan:
- Engage (the public, businesses, etc.)
- Build support from diverse camps
- Take the short view (get things done quickly)
- Take the long view (think where you want to be 10, 20, 30 years from now)
- Take the heat (be out there to support politicians that support you)
- Tell the story (stats and stories are both needed)
- Be polite and respectful (be thankful)
- Be a regional plan (make certain it effects all parts of the region, leave nobody out)
- Chase the money (with money, nothing gets built. Be where the money is)
- Don’t forget fun
Overall, it was a great night. Thanks to the Road, Rails and Trails people for bringing Scott to Victoria to talk with us. Of course, this was only day one of two for those of us on the citizen’s committee, as well as the Gil Penalosa talk on Tuesday evening at UVic. More on both of those later.