CRD gets federal gas tax money for PCMP implementation

Finally announced, the CRD recently received $780,950 from the Government of Canada’s Gas Tax Fund transfer to implement various part of the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) recently completed Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan (PCMP). The full announcement can be found on the Canada News Centre or from the CRD’s 2013 Media Releases.

Excitingly, this means a whole series of pilot projects for all the “E”‘s from the PCMP, including Engineering aka infrastructure such as:

Bike activated warning signals
Such as HAWK beacons

HAWK signal
HAWK signal (Image credit: Wikipedia)

Advisory bike lanes (Minneapolis has a few)

Advisory Bike Lane in Minneapolis
Advisory Bike Lane in Minneapolis (Photo credit: City of Minneapolis)

Traffic calming for bike boulevards

Traffic barrier at Haultain and Shelbourne
Traffic barrier at Haultain and Shelbourne (Personal photo)


Other engineering projects include solar-powered signage, automated count stations, and secure lock-up systems that support dual-mode trips such as cycling and transit. The “soft” E’s including Education and Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation aren’t left behind either. Should be fun times!

(Full Disclosure: I work for CRD Regional & Strategic Planning and am the Bicycle Count Coordinator for the CRD)

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?

CRD plans next Regional Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan event

The CRD Regional Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan (PCMP) is having its next public event on March 11. The event will cover the completed first phase of the plan, including the unveiling of the Bikeway Inventory Map. The plan, which launched last year, has already gone through some initial collection of public input. As has been the case with previous events, project consultants Alta Planning + Design and CRD staff will be on hand to discuss the next steps. I strongly encourage you to come, for which you need to register on the CRD PCMP page.

The new CRD Bike/Ped plan

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.

1897 Bicycling Map of Victoria
1897 Bicycling Map of Victoria

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:

  1. People like to bike
  2. People don’t like to bike with cars
  3. You need a dense network
  4. 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:

  1. Engage (the public, businesses, etc.)
  2. Build support from diverse camps
  3. Take the short view (get things done quickly)
  4. Take the long view (think where you want to be 10, 20, 30 years from now)
  5. Take the heat (be out there to support politicians that support you)
  6. Tell the story (stats and stories are both needed)
  7. Be polite and respectful (be thankful)
  8. Be a regional plan (make certain it effects all parts of the region, leave nobody out)
  9. Chase the money (with money, nothing gets built. Be where the money is)
  10. 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.

Monday Quick Links

There are a few interesting announcements today from the CRD and the Federal Government regarding communities, planning and green space.

The CRD is looking for people to sit on their Regional Parks citizen advisory panel for the new Regional Parks Strategic Plan. If you are interested, the site has documents with more information and the deadline for applying is June 12th, 2009.

The new CRD Pedestrian and Bicycling Master Plan has its launch event next week. Curiously, it doesn’t have a website yet, so to get a better idea of what this plan with entail, see the Request for Proposals (PDF). The CRD has selected Alta Planning & Design out of Portland to do the initial stages of the work. Alta has done some great work all over the US and Canada and they are very focused on planning for bicycling and walking, so I look forward to they can bring to our great region. The initial report is due this fall with the larger plan including network maps done by Spring 2010.

The federal government also dropped another tiny little bit of money in the bucket today, with a $4.2 million announcement of the EQuilibrium™ Communities Initiative. And yes, they did trademark the name. So sayeth the press release:

The new $4.2- million, EQuilibrium™ Communities Initiative will seek to improve community planning and develop healthy sustainable communities that are energy-efficient, economically viable and vibrant places to live.

Colour me not impressed. $4.2 million is nothing. The new CRD plan above will cost $20,000 – $30,000 just for the inital report with the 2nd and 3rd stages being considerably more. I suspect this might just be a feel good thing for Lisa Raitt, better known the whole Chalk River “sexy” isotopes statement, bad-mouthing a fellow minister on tape and leaving documents behind at a newspaper issue.

(Hattip to the Livable Region Blog in Vancouver for the link)

I am off to council tonight, where the agenda pretty normal. It is the season for block party requests and there are the usual rezoning requests. Also up is a letter from the Oak Bay Marine Group regarding the ongoing saga of the getting the Sea Rescue Society a new boathouse.