Question: Each year the Comox Valley is experiencing heavier traffic volumes, especially on the main arterial roads. What are your views on how to deal with this problem?

Sunday
Nov092014

Comox Town Council - Russ Arnott

As an avid cyclist to and from work I think we have a nice balance of bike lanes in Comox; however, I think the RD needs to widen Anderton road. Also knight road needs to be safer so that those of us going to and from the base can do so safely. That alone would reduce a number of vehicles on the road.

Money spent on widening some roads for bikes would go a long way in reducing traffic volumes along with less pollution.

Cheers
Russ

Thursday
Nov062014

Director CVRD A - Dan Lisch

We live in a rural area where the main arterial road is the Old Island Hwy. I have 2 children in elementary school-one at Royston El and one at Navigate/Nides. I have walked my daughter to Royston mostly along the highway several times (45min) but do not feel this is a safe or enjoyable option. My other daughter I have to drive out to Tsolum campus at least once a week as there is no transit available. When we lived in Courtenay, my wife was an avid bike commuter. However, biking on the highway in the wet, dark winter months is too stressful and so her bike sits collecting cobwebs. I recall an article about planning bike routes in major that said for a route to be well utilized you would have to be comfortable taking your 4 year old child or your 80 year old grandma on it.

While I understand that the main focus is on the congested areas in Courtenay/Comox, it is essential that routes like the Galloping Goose, the Rotary Sea Walk in CR or the Airpark be planned into our infrastructure in the rural areas as well. While this would help decrease traffic congestion and get our citizens more active, there could also be a huge economic benefit through tourism. With our wineries and farms and incredible scenery, we should be able to promote bike tours to rival Europe.

Thursday
Nov062014

Director CVRD B - Rod Nichol

Rod Nichol here, as a retired RCMP officer from Courtenay Det. I share your concerns and I am very aware of the many close calls cyclists endure on a daily basis in the valley on our rural roads. Unfortunately the regional district does not maintain or improve the rural roads. I agree the shoulders are not wide enough (if they even have one). I have often thought, would it be safer for cyclist to ride against the flow of traffic on the other side of the road? Thinking outside of the box, at least the cyclist would see traffic coming at them instead approaching unseen and often unheard from behind. Just a thought I think it would be safer, I would like to know what you think, You never know. Hoping the highways will be widen our roads any time soon by the province is just not likely. Rod

Wednesday
Nov052014

SD #71 - Donna Gambacorta

Thank you for your email. The School Board along with Administrators and staff have been working together for a long time to tackle the issue of traffic congestion in the neighbourhoods of our schools. Our schools do walking buses and wacky walking wheeling Wednesdays to support leaving cars at home. We are huge supporters of the newer program under the great leadership of Angela Holmes. We have found this to have had a huge impact on lessening vehicle use in our school zones. This is a subject that we are always working at getting better. Thank you again for your email and look forward to hearing any ideas you have in helping the district towards lessening vehicle use.
Donna Gambacorta

Wednesday
Nov052014

Courtenay City Council - Doug Hillian

Thanks for this opportunity to comment on how we can deal with increasing traffic volumes.

My vision is a community where we focus on moving people rather than moving vehicles; where new and existing development is pedestrian and cyclist friendly; where transit is effective and well-used; and where we find ways to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels to promote individual health, a more liveable community and to combat climate change.

The City's 25 year transportation plan reflects these goals with it's emphasis on multi-modal solutions, increased density and complete streets. I believe we need to improve our transit system while at the same time encouraging ridership. This is particularly important with an aging population – people will not start to ride the bus in their senior years unless they have developed the habit while younger. While we clearly need to maintain our roads to assure smooth travel for all modes, building more bridges and roads with cars in mind will result in more cars on those roads and bridges. We need to gradually change the car-centric mind set to a multi-modal approach with our policy and our practice.

I also support:
- encouraging workplace incentives to take transit and carpool;
- expandinging the School District's active travel program;
- traffic calming in neighbourhoods and policy that new development is pedestrian/cycling friendly;
infilling and increased density, particularly close to downtown/shopping hubs, to enable walking and reduce commutes;
- passive roundabouts to help reduce congestion at intersections and reduce accidents - very expensive to build, so we need to push senior governments to direct infrastructure spending into sustainable transportation initiatives;
- cycling recognized as a legitimate means of transportation and investment in cycling infrastructure (routes, lanes and separate paths) promoted as a key element of managing traffic flow by making cycling a safer alternative and thereby increasing ridership;
- make the third crossing a pedestrian/cycling bridge.

I have advocated for these approaches at Courtenay Council and hope to continue to do so with your collaboration and support.

Thanks,

Doug Hillian

Tuesday
Nov042014

SD #71 - Jeany Kane

To answer your question : Comox Valley is definitely getting heavier traffic volumes and I had to check and find out what this answer was with the BCSTA. I didn’t really know we had a problem and my answer is that I would have to find out from each school what kind of safety practices are in place. I know there are bike safety programs in the elementary schools but I am not aware of how well they are being implemented and if every grade gets this program. I think the bike safety issue is very important but in regards to heavier traffic flow I believe we have to lobby for better bike lanes and safer traffic flow around our schools. I am very happy with the advances already made in Comox but I do see some room for improvement. Courtenay is sadly lacking in bike lanes and safety will be more of an issue there. In my way of thinking, the way of the future is scooters, bikes and electric cars. To go forward we need to address these issues and I applaud you and your group for being forward thinkers. If I am voted in I would like to sit down with your group to see where you are thinking of in regards to this problem because I was not aware and this does pose an important issue with our students in this community. My big issue in this election is that our community needs to have more input in where we live. My whole platform is that I want to LISTEN. I want to hear from other groups and organizations on what they feel are important issues. I want to help solve these problems in the four years I am running, so please encourage everyone you know to vote and thank you again for the email.

Tuesday
Nov042014

Comox Town Council - Barbara Price

Thank you for your question.
Here is my response.

I've lived in my Comox home for over 30 years and have seen a vast increase in vehicular traffic particularly at peak times. We need to get more people out of their cars and using alternative transportation. I support improving public transit and making our roadways safer for all users whether through bike lanes, off road linkages or 'share the road' signage. As a founding and active member of the Comox Valley Cycling Task Force, I support the work of the Public Advisory Committee and value their advice in identifying safety issues.

Reducing congestion prior to making decisions on expensive infrastructure additions such as more roads, is economically responsible as well as environmentally sound.

Getting out of our cars and using self propulsion, not only saves the planet, it saves our selves. Obesity is sky rocketing as is diabetes.

On a personal note, I include an endorsement.

'Barbara is committed to safe travel for everyone. She helped to bring Active School Travel Planning to Comox. She has my vote.' James Taylor, Joint Chair of the Cycling Public Advisory Committee.

Barbara Price
Seeking Re-election to Comox Council

Tuesday
Nov042014

Courtenay City Council - Erik Eriksson

I would be most interested in making sure that safety continues to be a high priority, particularly at intersections. With particular regard to cycling safety, I will be supportive of the goal of cycling advocates to make the roadways safer for cyclists.

Erik Eriksson

Sunday
Nov022014

Cumberland Village Council - Jesse Ketler

The two bridges act as bottle necks in our traffic flow. If a third bridge for vehicle traffic is not feasible or palatable then what about a dedicated bridge for pedestrian and cyclists? This would encourage people to use other modes of transportation and reduce traffic.
We can look to bigger cities for ideas on how they have reduced traffic volumes. In Montreal, they have a great program called Bixi-bike that lets people rent a bike (using a credit card) at a stall at one location then return the bike to another stall near their destination. This program has been very successful and I think a similar service in the Comox Valley would be beneficial to both residents and visitors.
Taxi service in Comox Valley is very expensive and it discourages people from giving up car ownership. In many cities now there are car sharing programs. Currently the valley has Island Rideshare which is a website for people to post needed or offered rides. This current program can be expanded upon to increase available services. Other programs that could be offered include monthly fees for participates to receive an allotted time per month for use of a car. Or taxi-like services where a person becomes a member of a service and requests rides through the use of a phone app that has GPS capability and is pay per use but lower cost than regular taxi (an example of this service is Uber offered in many US cities and currently being considered in Vancouver).

Kind regards,
Jesse Ketler
Candidate for Cumberland Council

Sunday
Nov022014

Cumberland Village Council - Steven Royer

Good to hear from you. Yes this is a good question. My wife always rides her bike from Courtenay to Cumberland. There is no bike lanes between Cumberland Rd to fourth street cumberland. Its very dangerous and my wife has had close calls. Also Royston Rd. is very thin and dangerous. Cumberland needs Bike Lanes and when I get in as Councillor I will deal with matter. It affects all Comox VAlley residents. Talk to you soon.

Steven

 

Sunday
Nov022014

Cumberland Village Council - Roger Albert

I don’t believe the answer lies in more and bigger arterial roads. A better and safer way for cyclists to come and go from Cumberland into Courtenay is much needed. Cumberland Road between the interchange and 4th Street needs bicycle lanes. We also need to improve transit and that doesn’t mean raising fares. Problem is we’re quite spread out in the valley. The busses that travel between Cumberland and the rest of the Valley are underused in my opinion. We have to fight the idea that public transit is a subsidy for the poor and we have to educate people into using busses as a viable transportation option. That’s not easy. I don’t use the busses myself because it’s much more convenient to just jump into my vehicle when I need to get anywhere. The automobile is so entwined in our lives that giving it up seems ridiculous to most folks. Still, we don’t need more and bigger roads. And you know what? Yes, we are experiencing heavier traffic volumes but we’re nowhere near experiencing gridlock. Planning is the key to a reasonable and balanced approach to transportation issues. There are ways of improving traffic flows on existing roads. I wrote the Comox Valley Social Planning Society’s 2014 Quality of Life Report available at cvsocialplanning.ca. I deal with transportation in that report.
Regards,
Roger Albert

Sunday
Nov022014

Courtenay City Council - David Frisch

Thanks for asking such a pertinent question. Yes, our arterial roads are becoming busier every year and I have a plan to ease the pressure of vehicle traffic.

1) Sidewalks to all schools and shopping Centres, crosswalks wherever benefical to pedestrians, and signage to reinforce the rights of pedestrians.

2) Cycle paths to connect East and West Courtenay, East Courtenay and Comox, East Courtenay and CFB Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland, and safe bike path routs for school children.

3) The continued support of bus transit to find efficiencies while growing ridership.

4) keeping an open mind a finding new solutions form around the world.

Sincerely,

David Frisch

Sunday
Nov022014

Cumberland Village Council - Roger Kishi

Local government has an important role in this matter. I support the transit futures plan and active transportation.

We can aid in raising awareness of alternative transportation options, and work towards more sustainable transportation in the Comox Valley.

Increasing density, and slowing sprawl will also relieve car dependency.

Roger Kishi

Saturday
Nov012014

Director CVRD C - Edwin Grieve

We know that the population in the Comox Valley is going to grow by about 30% over the next 20 years. We are putting our efforts into shifting how people get around in the valley. We know that approximately 80% of all cars on the road are occupied by the driver only. We are trying to shift transportation patterns away from that trend towards transit, cycling and pedestrian, by offering better transportation infrastructure in the rural areas.

The Transportation Road Network Plan, completed in Fall 2014, will be implemented by an agreement with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, (MoTI) who holds the mandate to build transportation infrastructure. In the follow up to this plan and through our agreement we will be encouraging MoTI to build better cycling lanes, using separated lanes in some key priority areas, and better walking trails so that people in the rural areas have more choices, safer choices and healthier choices. We have also just completed the BC Transit Futures Plan and it proposes better routes that will increase ridership over time. Finally, our land use plans are discouraging rural sprawl, and nurturing growth in key areas that can help support better active transportation infrastructure by directing growth to key areas so that a threshold can grow to support this alternative infrastructure. We have also developed new street network guidelines that will ensure that new subdivision provide a road network that is linked and enables cyclists and walkers to make their way through neighborhoods, without ending up on dead end streets of areas where they have to turn around. Our rural directors, like the coalition, are working to get people out of their cars for at least some of the time.

Saturday
Nov012014

SD #71 - Sheila McDonnell

As you know, I’ve been involved in the Active Travel to School initiative from its beginning. As chair of the then SD71 transportation Committee, I believed our mandate was bigger than busing. By reaching out to the Cycling Task Force and building a great partnership with the municipalities, school district and community members like yourself, I think we’ve made a difference to how safe neighbourhood routes are being looked at for cyclists and walkers of all ages. We know that active travel and reduced reliance on cars are important for student health and school success. HASTE BC started as a way to reduce poor air quality caused by idling around schools; we now understand the importance of daily activity to reduce obesity and get young brains working. I’m happy that the district is continuing to support this and, that we are collectively shifting the focus from cycling only to the Go Smart concept of safe choices for everybody. The schools are a great way to build support and buy in for less car travel and to raise a new generation who are competent and committed to cycling. It’s been a great pleasure to work with the Cycling coalition, Ed, James, Chris, Angela and all the volunteers who put so much effort into making a better experience for our students. I’m glad Active Travel will be continuing, and I’m thinking about how we can develop a strategy to get more high school students using active travel. We do have many staff who ride, include cycling in curriculum and support afterschool activities. I’m the Trustee Cheerleader for all of this.

Beyond this program, I have expressed concerns about how our programming impacts traffic. While I wouldn’t want to make academic plans based on reducing car trips, other factors being equal, I support having as many students as possible attending schools within walk and ride limits. Our “programs of choice’, like French immersion and NIDES, require parents to get students to school themselves. We did a review that really highlighted the problems, but left them unanswered. I think we need to go back and revisit that policy and look for fresh ideas. I’m a huge supporter of community schools and smaller, neighbourhood schools. Especially with our new approach to self-directed learning and technology support, I wonder why we are busing so many students in 10-12 from Cumberland and Lake Trail area to Vanier. What could we do if we diverted the cost of 3 or 4 buses and portables at Vanier into programing in those schools? And I really believe that district programs, like the IClass or FAE (Fine Arts Academy) should be central and on transit routes. Individually driving children around the district is not great in my mind. It’s a trade-off- how can we get those specialized programs out to more kids in their home schools and get both benefits?

Linking our bus program with the Regional Transit system is also on my radar. We spend a lot of money to get students to and from schools 5 days a week on specific routes at specific times. When our bus policy was set, there was no regional bus system at all. I’m pleased that our Operations Manager and the CVRD people have been working together to synchronize some routes, but I’d like to look at whether we could integrate our secondary school busing needs. Some sort of school pass using our bus budget as a base could give students a bus pass they can use system-wide all week. What a benefit to the valley to have a generation of students getting the bus/bike habit! I will be encouraging this approach – maybe a provincial pilot project- as we head to our next contract tendering. If we have to start high school a little later to shift student demand off-peak time, well, that would solve the problem of the shift in teenage circadian rhythyms.

For transportation in general, I support the priority to put bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, trails and linkages in place to improve the range of safe travel experiences. I learned Urban Geography Truth 101 back in 1975- “Wider streets will NEVER solve traffic congestion”; we do know what will and we just need to put our engineering budget to changes that will make cycling and walking better – and wow- better for drivers too. It was a great shame, for instance, that the widening of Lerwick did not include forward-thinking planning for school access; within a fairly short time, I predict we will be rebuilding that street from Comox to the Hospital with bike lanes, intersection islands and other complete streets “best practices”. And the Active Travel Planning process for Valley View, Isfeld and Queenesh may be leading the way.

Thanks for your leadership and commitment to a healthy valley.
Sheila McDonnell

Friday
Oct312014

Cumberland Mayor - Leslie Baird

Thank you for your email, I have been a member of the Comox Valley Cycling Task force for the last three years. The committee has asked for an extension of its mandate and a name change to reflect all transportation methods.
The Village is in the process of re-vamping the entrance into the village from Union Road to Bevan Road (main entrance into the Village) included in the concept will be bike lanes to make it safe for people travelling to the rest of the valley.
I go across the bridges in Courtenay as little as possible.
I know of people that travel the inland highway up Piercy to Lerwick to keep away from the traffic with the new hospital it is going to get busier.
The transit numbers are going up but, it just does not work well for some people.

Thursday
Oct302014

SD #71 - Ian Hargreaves

Hello,

Thank you for seeking my views on this subject.

As an avid cyclist myself, I strongly support the building bike lanes, walking paths and other infrastructure to enable citizens and visitors to the Comox valley to readily use both. I would also be in support of improving the public transit service in the valley.

On a related topic, I would also encourage the development of the Comox Valley as a holiday destination for cyclists from around the world. With our growing winery and whiskey industry, the rural setting and mountain to ocean vistas, the Comox Valley offers all that cycling holidays in Europe or the elsewhere offer … and perhaps more!

I hope my answer is of use to you.

Sincerely,

~ Ian Hargreaves

 

Thursday
Oct302014

Courtenay City Council - Stu Macinnis

Thank you for your question it's one that I feel strongly about. Up until about three years ago I hadn't owned a vehicle in ten years. For those ten years I both cycled and used public transportation to get around.

Each year as our community experiences heavier traffic volumes I think that our city council has a responsibility to ensure that effort is made to deal with the problems that this creates. 

I feel that bike lanes are a way of tackling this problem, also I think that our council can do more to encourage the use of public transit.

Both by increasing the number of transit stops, and the infrastructure of those stops(ie.benches,shelters), but perhaps also a discount for long term bus passes,(ie, three months, six months, a year)

Although the question has been brought to me by others I'm not sure how the logistics of a third crossing of the Puntledge river would work. I think that some extensive studies would have to be undertaken to see if that investment is worth the cost.

I also think  that a walking/bike path similar to the Galloping Goose trail in Victoria is also an idea that should be looked into.

I thank you again for your question.

Have a fantastic day.

                      Kindest Regards,

                                                  Stu MacInnis

Wednesday
Oct292014

SD #71 - Meredith Starkey

Thank you for your question! This is a topic very near and dear to my heart 
as I spent five years as a planner with TransLink in Metro Vancouver.
Historically we have dealt with increased traffic volumes by building more/wider roads. Unfortunately, this type of solution only produces short term improvements, not to mention the high cost and environmental impact. Some road building may be necessary at times, but I'd rather see investment in making alternative modes of travel more viable for more people. In the case of trips to school, this means participation in bike to work/school weeks, the creation of a ride share network to connect potential car pools and active transport school "bus" groups, and inviting organizations such as yours to come and lead youth workshops on safe cycling. Additionally, it means ensuring that our schools are equipped to accommodate active modes, for instance having bike racks available to students.
Lastly, and this is a big one, it means doing what we can to keep community schools open so more kids can walk or bike to school.
Thanks again for your question! I'm happy to answer additional questions and to hear from your members
Cheers,
Meredith
Wednesday
Oct292014

Comox Town Council - Vivienne Webster

 

thank you for your email.  Unfortunately, I do not know how to answer your question.  I certainly understand the concerns, because I live on what is considered a main arterial road in the valley.  I am as concerned about the problem as you are.  I would certainly welcome any input you can give me that would educate me a little bit, and do everything I am able to do to support public safety.  in fact, that is one of my concerns on my election brochure.  I am concerned with the crosswalks being almost invisible at night or in fog and think we need to have flashing lights at every crosswalk.

So any information you can give me that will be useful for me and that I can support would be very helpful indeed.

I am sorry I could not be more specific, but you will understand that there are a myriad of concerns out there regarding safety.  Please send me any literature you can, so that I may incorporate it into my platform

Thank you again for your your interest

Vivienne Webster