Well, one all candidates is done. Speaking last was the distinct advantage of getting to listen to everybody else, but you do get to stew in your own nervousness for over 20 minutes while everybody else talks. Jason Ross of ModernDemocracy.ca was there again with his video cameras, which was excellent, so those you following at home can see. I tried collect all the questions I could while they came up, and I think I managed to get most of them:
Child care – How are you going to provide more spots?
Traffic on the avenue – How are you going to deal with heavy traffic on the avenue and surrounding residential streets
Young families – How do you attract more to Oak Bay
Affordable housing – How to you provide more
Town hall meetings – Why haven’t we had more?
Oak bay lodge
Smart meters, and health
Deer issue – What is Oak Bay and the CRD doing about it?
Community engagement young families – How do you engage young families in the community
P3’s water/sewage – Do you support keeping water and sewage infrastructure and operation public
Composting -When is it coming to the rest of Oak Bay?
The latest round of debate about the Uplands Sewage Separation project will happen during tomorrow night’s council meeting (PDF). This is the last meeting that Council can decide to move forward with the low-pressure system to respond to the federal and provincial funding deadline of Jan. 29th. The directors of the Oak Bay Community Association have also released a statement asking council to consider the financial impacts on the entire municipality when making a decision. Expect a packed room, so arrive before the 7:30pm start time.
For those interested in active transportation (biking, walking and transit) Saturday’s forum was a great place to be. Hosted by the Community Association of Oak Bay, participants at the day long forum not only learned about new initiatives in the local area, such as the CRD Bike/Ped Plan, as well as what other cities have been doing. Michelle Kirby has a great write up at the Community Association’s website, plus there is the Times Colonist article, so I won’t repeat what they said.
For me the most exciting part of the day came last, with a short brain-storming and group discussion about various improvements to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Thanks to Sue for supplying us with a few larger maps for drawing and sketching. Lesley Ewing has compiled a list of them and I will be sharing some of the best over the next little while.
All in all, an excellent day. Watching the rugby players in the rain made an interesting backdrop to the whole event.
Montreal’s pioneer bike sharing program, the first in Canada, has just launched with 3,000 bikes spread across 300 stations. This is only a small part of a very ambitious plan of stations across Montreal. Just take a look at the map of stations to get an idea. Like it’s inspiration Velib,the first 30 minutes are free, the rest of the day is $5 and frequent users can get monthly or yearly rates. They both also share cute contractions for names, bike + taxi in the case of Montreal and velo + liberte for Paris. Lastly, Velib is also not “dying”, so ignore all the hysteria.
Creating them is a bit of an art with funky algorithms and the like. There are quite a few tools out there, but Wordle seems to be the most common. I used it for my announcement of my candidacy in the 2008 municipal elections, for example. So I figured I would run the raindrops and rainbows from the Safer Cycling Oak Bay table at the fair on Sunday and see what I got:
A few things pop out at me: There was a strong current of environment and community running through the likes. Nice to see that bikes not only help the environment, they help everybodies health and help build community as a nice side benefit. The dislikes centred around two themes: respect and lack of infrastructure. People wanted to see more respect between drivers and cyclists, especially with regard to both needing to follow rules of the road. Bike parking and lanes were much talked about, as well as the growing number of potholes in roads.
As I said yesterday, I am very pleased at the amount of feedback we got and that people took the time to think about what they wrote. I am truly looking forward to the next few months. If you wanted to give us feedback in person, the next time to do so will likely be at Bike to Work Week coming up from the 11th to the 17th. When details are worked out, I will post more.
At the Community Fair yesterday we put out two piece of bristol board, sticky notes and pens and then we asked people who came by to tell us about biking in Oak Bay, both what they loved and what they would like to see changed or disliked. We got some great feedback, as I have transcribed below:
Healthier and environmentally better way to travel. Oak Bay is awesome for biking
Riding along the waterfront (Dallas Rd.)
Path along the water
New bike lanes on Henderson
love riding on Oak Bay’s quiet streets
Part of Foul Bay Bike lane
Slow traffic in Oak Bay
Quiet bike lanes. Sidelanes and back alleys
Roads that are generally quiet
Bike lanes. Secure locking ???. beach dr & oak bay avenue
Quiet streets for making long traverses across the community
Fresh air and exercise
New bike parking at municipal hall
close to community, parking easy, fresh air, calories burned
Of course, life is not all roses. Sometimes there are thorns:
Disrespect by cyclists and motorists for each other
bicyclists who ride in the middle of the road instead of the cycle lane! 🙂
cars parked on Beach Drive
No road bike lane by Marina and Glenlyon
Need more bike trails
Roads where there is not enough room for bikes + car (McNeil Ave)
Lack of bike trails and lanes
Access to Galloping Goose from Oak Bay
Cyclists who ignore the rules of the road
Need bike lane on Foul Bay
Oak Bay needs more bike lanes
nervous of traffic
Parking along Cedar Hill X Rd up to Uvic is very dangerous!
Oak Bay needs more bike lane & bike racks
traffic calming devices. potholes in street
Not enough bike racks in the village!
Cyclists who don’t follow the rules of the road. Cyclists who don’t have lights.
Foul Bay & Oak Bay intersection
not much bike parking on the avenue
clear glass from bike lanes
–> Please signal –> Wear helmets
Each line is a single note. Where possible I have tried to preserve the formatting/spelling/etc.
We also got a few comments about the pedestrian experience:
For wheelchair: Good in the village, Foul Bay rather rough
Safe, clean sidewalks that have been redone
More attention to care of sidewalks on non-busy roads
crosswalk at Brighton + Foul Bay to fit with the Brighton Ave Centennial path
Thanks again to Jill Croft and the whole OB Comm. Association for organizing the event, the OB Emergency Preparedness people for being so kind as to share their space and time and to Jane and David who came out and peopled the SCOB booth with me. Here’s looking forward to next years.
Despite the beautiful weather, today’s Community Fair and Emergency Services expo was well attended. The community fair had booths from Safer Cycling Oak Bay, the Oak Bay Green Committee, Oak Bay Volunteer Services, the Bowker Creek Initiative, Native Plant Society, Oak Bay Rotary, the Oak Bay Green Map and Oak Bay Kiwanis. Check out the photos below for a quick look at some of the booths, although ironically not the SCOB booth.
Our Safer Cycling Oak Bay booth was a big draw. Nearly everybody that came by gave us some feedback. Our raindrops (dislikes) and rainbows (likes) posters got lots of sticky notes filled with people’s thoughts. I will be posting them in the next day or two once I get them transcribed.
Thanks to Jill Croft and the whole Community Association for organizing such as event. Jill was also kind enough to take the above photos, as I was stuck at the SCOB booth due to the number of people who came by.
Safer Cycling Oak Bay will be at the Oak Bay Community Fair today between 11:30am and 1:30pm. The fair, which is co-hosted with the emergency prepardness people, is in the Oak Bay Recreation Centre’s indoor soccer pitch. We will be there to talk about what we are working on, to meet more people from around Oak Bay and learn what they love and want to change about biking in Oak Bay.