Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition candidate questionnaire

The Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition has sent out a questionnaire to all council candidates. They are making the answers available online, but I thought I would post them here as well.

1. Do you ride a bicycle?
Yes, Leisure/Occasional
Yes, Exercise/Health
Yes, Commuting
Yes, Sport/Competitive

2. Are there any changes that could be made to cycling infrastructure that would encourage you personally to ride more often, or more year-round?
Although there aren’t any changes that would make me ride more, it would be a nice to have a little rain.

3. If never, are there any changes that could be made to cycling infrastructure that would encourage you to start riding?
I already bike.

4. How would you rate existing bicycle facilities in your municipality?

5. What are the greatest weaknesses in your municipality’s cycling infrastructure? What needs to be addressed immediately? In the next 5-10 years?
Our greatest weakness is our lack of facilities that make cycling comfortable for all users, not just the strong and fearless. Thankfully the PCMP has addressed this, by creating a plan that caters to all levels of cyclists. Within the next year, I would like to see the CRD and the municipalities agree to the strongest funding level, which includes the creation of an active transportation office.  Within the next 5-10, we should have the recommended level of separation of facilities on all of the Primary Intercommunity Network defined in the PCMP. We also have a pair of part-time bike lanes, on Henderson and on Cedar Hill X Rd., that need to be converted to full time bike lanes, and no further part-time lanes should be installed.

6. What improvements to cycling infrastructure in your municipality will you promote and support if you are elected?
We need more cycling routes,not only on the major routes, but also on quieter parallel streets. We also need more end of trip facilities, especially covered and secured bicycle parking. We need to link into existing bicycle lanes on Fort, and boulevards on Haultain, but also push ahead and leapfrog the City of Victoria and Saanich.

7. If you are an incumbent, what have you done in your last term to improve conditions and/or facilities for cyclists?
Not an incumbent

8. The Capital Regional District’s Regional Pedestrian & Cycling Master Plan sets a goal of 25% transportation mode share for cycling and walking. Do you support the CRD Master Plan?

9. Which parts of the CRD master plan would you work towards implementing during your next term?
As much of it was possible. I strongly support not only working on the various infrastructure projects, but also the creation of an active transportation office at the CRD. Hopefully we will see a good portion of the regional gas tax money in the next few years going to working on various aspects of the PCMP.

10. Are there any changes to the bylaws or bylaw enforcement in your municipality that affect cyclists that you would recommend?
The parking bylaw needs to be changed not only to require bicycle parking (including work on making certain that that parking s installed correctly, as City of Victoria is working on right now), but also changing the motor vehicle parking minimums. Oak Bay also needs to have a policy so that in all new road construction, more vulnerable users such as pedestrians and bicyclists are considered before cars.

11. Do you see any potential for cycling tourism in your community, and if so, how do you see that evolving?
Oak Bay has part of the Seaside Touring Route, but also has many destinations that make cycling tourism very attractive. We need to work to make certain that various destinations have attractive and safe routes to them, but also have end of trip facilities at them most recently, partially at my urging, the Kiwanis Club of Oak Bay installed new bike racks near their Tea House in Willows Park, which massively expanded the amount of bicycle parking at Willows.

Oak Bay releases Active Transportation Plan

Oak Bay Council last night approved the Active Transportation Plan, a first for the municipality. Developed by Boulevard, based here in Greater Victoria, the plan covers walking and cycling, as well as touching on public transit.

I will have more to say about in the next day or so, but I wanted to post it here so other’s could read it. Please ignore the comments on the side of the page, they are my notes.

[download id=”10″ format=”1″] And sorry about the size, I wanted to upload at a high resolution so that the maps came through.

Remembering Allan Cassidy

Although there are many things that Allan will be remembered for, it is his deconstruction of the recent Oak Bay Beach Hotel rezoning that will stay in my mind for the longest. With his usual style, he looked at the list of zoning variances and then the two plans and asked, quite simply: Why did these two things not agree with each other? End result: away goes Kevin Walker to come back with a complete list. Details matter.

I have no idea why that little episode happened, but I do know one thing: this was one of many ways Allan made our community better. And while, he and I disagreed on bike lanes, he always had a good reason why. So goodbye, my former Beaver leader. Thank you for your service.

Oak Bay posts Active Transportation Plan RFP

Want to help change the face of transportation in Oak Bay? The municipality is looking for a team to put together an active transportation plan. What should this plan address?

The main goal of the Active Transportation Plan is to enhance choices and opportunities and improve the usage of human-powered forms of travel and recreation within Oak Bay. It should also promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles for all ages and support green initiatives within the community.

What do you need to enter? Three hard copies of proposal marked “Active Transportation Plan Proposal” addressed to Loranne Hilton, Municipal Clerk, District of Oak Bay, 2167 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, B.C. V8R 1G2 on or before Friday, February 18, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. local time.

The full RFP can be download here: [download id=”6″ format=”1″] (PDF).

(Full disclosure: As a member of the Community Initiatives Committee that will be overseeing this plan, you cannot contact me with any details of any bid. To do so would be a bad thing and illegal.)

Kia bikewashes itself

“…perfectly capable of owning any road, but prefers to share it. After all, we started out making bicycles.” So runs the new ad for the 2011 Kia Sportage, a “compact crossover SUV”, which goes on to say “Sharing. That is how we can all drive change.” Umm, no. This is still a car, a fairly big one at that (by world standards), with all the problems and benefits inherent within. But don’t listen to me, see for yourself:

Black Press talks cycling

With a great deal afoot with cycling in the Greater Victoria area — the CRD Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan, recent works in Oak Bay and the future bicycle plan, etc.

Vivian Moreau of the Oak Bay News came to the recent Active Transportation forum, focusing her article on the Spokesmen, a group of Oak Bay cyclists who ride together each Saturday morning, and their spokesperson (sorry) Stuart Culbertson noted what many cyclists in Oak Bay know: home is where the bike lanes stop (although that will be slightly less true in the new year).

In the good news department is the recent referendum victory for a new Johnson St. Bridge, which promises to elminate a major bottleneck at the end of Galloping Goose & Lochside Trails. Hopefully the CRD will get gas tax money to save the rail link, as well. (The Times Colonist covered Victoria Mayor Fortin talking about possible funding sources today)

The Victoria News actually does a pretty decent piece of work with their article on the bridge and cycling in Victoria, even mentioning the problem with vehicular cyclists’ crazy belief in stopping all bike lanes and other similar works.This group often muddies the waters, writing letters to councils who don’t know which group of cyclists to believe.

And for the last little bit of amusement, question 7 on this faux questionnaire:
Q7. When people discover that you work for the City of Vancouver they complain to you first about:

a) Bike lanes.

b) Backyard chicken coops and bike lanes.

c) The former Olympic Village and bike lanes.

d) Property-tax rates and bike lanes.

Ah, municipal politics, isn’t it fun?

New bike lanes coming

Foul Bay Hill looking northbound
Foul Bay Hill looking northbound

After much debate and staff time, there are some new bike lanes coming to Oak Bay. Likely early in the new year new paint will hit the road on  Cedar Hill X. Rd, closing the gap between the  Saanich border and the UVic entrance at Henderson. Like most politics, this win comes with a compromise: the northern side will only be a bike lane from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Frieday, just like the Henderson Rd. lanes. (The southern side is a full time bike lane).

Slightly longer in the coming is anything on Foul Bay just before Lansdowne. Engineering staff didn’t feel that a bike box is warranted, nor do they feel it was safe, a discussion that slowed the whole process down. Engineering has yet to return a detailed design to council, a necessary first step to anything else being done.

The drive for all this work came most recently from Councillor Jensen, who started the ball rolling in the early summer, before council ultimately choose to hand the matter to the Community Initiatives Committee  (of which I am a member). The CIC ultimately produced a recommendation for both bike lanes on Cedar Hill X. Rd. and the Foul Bay at Lansdowne, but the second part has been longer in coming.

Also coming in the new year is an RFP for an Active Transportation plan for the muncipality. A $20,000 project, the plan would be a first for Oak Bay, although the [download id=3] (PDF, pg 6-7) did make some specific recommendations as to improvements in 2009. All in all, things are moving, something I don’t think I could have honestly said or believed this time last year.

Long time, no post

Life has a been a little busy for me recently, but I have been taking just a few photos since then:

Off the Grid Art Crawl

[slickr-flickr tag=”victoriaartcrawl2010″ items=”3″ type=”gallery”]

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial

[slickr-flickr tag=”victoriahiroshimamemorial2010″ items=”6″ type=”gallery”]

Johnson St. Festival

[slickr-flickr tag=”2010johnsonstfestival” items=”9″ type=”gallery”]

AIBC Art Deco/Moderne Walking Tour

[slickr-flickr tag=”2010aibcwalkingtour” items=”8″ type=”gallery”]

Franklin Common Block Party

[slickr-flickr tag=”2010franklincommonparty” items=”9″ type=”gallery”]

and photos from the Luminara studio

[slickr-flickr tag=”luminarastudio” items=”6″ type=”gallery”]

Council asks for feedback on proposed bike lanes

The great disappearing bike lane on Foul Bay Rd.
The great disappearing bike lane on Foul Bay Rd.

It seems those bike lane improvements I mentioned the other day might not be as slow as coming as I had feared. At the time council hesitated, asking for more information about traffic counts and resident feelings. The counting of cars has begun with the engineering department deploying a vehicle counter just south of Middowne and notifying the residents has apparently already happened, as I received in my inbox this notice (PDF) asking for their opinion.

For a quick refresher, the proposed works are:

  1. Completing the bike lane up Foul Bay Rd. northbound and possibly adding a bike box at the intersection with some sort of striping through the intersection itself
  2. Adding a bike lane on Cedar Hill X Rd. between the Saanich border at the intersection with Gordon Head Rd. and the UVic entrance at Henderson Road.

The deadline for getting information back to council is fairly short: you need to send in your comments by 4pm on Thursday, July 8th or by attending the meeting on the 12th of July at 7:30 pm. It will be held in the usual place at the Municipal Hall on at 2167 Oak Bay Ave. Thanks to Lesley Ewing for forwarding this on to me. Hope to see you all there.

Guerilla sharrows, the press release

The guerrilla sharrows that have appeared on Lansdowne just south of Camosun College have made the news. A few days ago, the press release from OURS hit my inbox. I have been ruminating on what to do with it since then. I really don’t support what they are doing and I don’t really want to support their cause by publicizing what they are doing. But given the Times Colonist has now covered them, my little blog is small potatoes.

I do have one question however: Why are they attacking the City of Victoria when they painted the sharrows in Saanich? It isn’t like Saanich doesn’t also have a bicycle network plan (PDF, from the Saanich Official Community Plan site). That section of Lansdowne is even on it.