Questions from Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Chapter, Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition
1. What modes of transportation do you normally use within your community and within Metro Vancouver?
I drive my car, ride my bike and walk in my community. If I go into Vancouver I drive or use West Coast Express if the time is conducive to my schedule.
2. How would you support and encourage cycling for transportation – for people of all ages and abilities – to promote healthy and livable communities?
For people to opt for cycling as a mode of transportation they need to feel that they have safe and accessible routes throughout the community. I would continue to support bike lane expansion and safe bike routes throughout our community by working with our bicycle advisory committee, and ensuring the work is continued through our business planning. I would also continue to model what I expect by using my bike whenever I can for commuting to council (I split this between walking and riding).
3. There have been many surveys asking people what it would take to get them on a bike. The number one thing people want is separated cycling facilities. How would you support separated bike lanes on key routes?
I am in support of this and we achieve it by making it part of our business plan and continue to include sections along our roadways whenever dollars are made available. Our present council takes the bicycle advisory committee’s work seriously and we try to implement their plans wherever and whenever possible.
4. Maple Ridge has no off-road (non-mountain-) biking/multi-use trails and is lagging behind other Lower Mainland communities in this respect. How do you feel off-road biking/multi-use trails can benefit Maple Ridge, and how do you suggest to start developing a network of trails.
I think our dyke system is an off-road biking/multi-use trail system, which I use all the time to bike on. However, if you are suggesting a system of trails in Golden Ears, Blue Mountain or the expansion of our horse trail system to also accommodate bikes and pedestrians, I believe it would be best served going through our Joint Leisure Commission and the Master Parks Plan, which defines the priorities and the budgeting of such for all of our recreational services. Any expansion of recreation is good, but we have to keep it in the context of affordability and we need to make sure we are putting the dollars right now to getting the bike lanes through the municipality completed.
5. If elected, would you aim to increase or decrease cycling funding from current levels? Do you feel that cycling funding levels should merely reflect the present level of cycling in our communities, or should it reflect the potential of cycling – not only as a means of transportation and for recreation, but also in view of the many desirable benefits cycling has for individuals as well as for our communities/society, such as health benefits, improved livability, reduced greenhouse gasses/pollution, reduced oil-dependency, reduced need for expensive car infrastructure/parking lots, reduced congestion, etc.?
I agree with the health benefits—people and planet—and I would continue the level of funding, as well as ensure it remains a body of work that is viewed as a constant. The support for the bicycle advisory committee that our council has shown is because we believe that bicycling is a growing part of our culture and will be used for more than just recreational purposes. Our council is always ready to take advantage of any grant monies that come from other levels of government. So if there were funding opportunities, such as matching funds, that would achieve an expanded bike lane system, then that is when increasing funding has merit and we should always be ready to take advantage of such. Our staff is always looking for these opportunities and get very creative!
6. What is your level of interest in a public bike-share system integrated with the transit system? How do you think a public bike-share system in Vancouver can benefit Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows residents?
I have just read about this working in other jurisdictions. I suspect we need to ensure our safe routes are completed, so a concentration of transit/bike-share users can emerge, as I would suspect we would need a critical mass to make it work. Once our safe routes are established however, I suspect all of the spin-offs of a vibrant biking community will follow. If it is successful in Vancouver, then as per usual, it will spread out into the region.
7. What role do you think the municipality has in supporting and promoting cycling education for children, cyclists and motorists?
We have an excellent working relationship with the school district, especially through the Joint Leisure Agreement and the Commission table that facilitates the discussions. Our role has always been to collaborate with our partners and ensure that we can garner the most efficient and effective means of providing services to our citizens. I believe this is our best means of looking for educational opportunities. We also have a great relationship with ICBC and take full advantage of any programs that are aimed at motorists. I remember working with municipal staff when I was on the school board and Safer Cities was initiated. Our council has always been and will continue to be open to any options that come our way and support our business plans and goals.
8. How do you feel e-bikes can play a role in our transportation system?
What do you see as the benefits of e-bikes as compared to cars?
What can e-bikes mean for less densely populated suburban communities like Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows?
They are another viable option for getting around. People are already using them and they appear to be on the increase in Maple Ridge. They are an affordable option, take up less room on the road, require less fuel and with a good set of raingear, they will work for a certain percentage of the population. I hope we embrace them, as we are way behind on these products in comparison to other countries. However, I have heard a couple of homemade ones and they were extremely noisy, so we have to pay some attention to ensuring poorly constructed ones are monitored so they do not tarnish the product line as a whole. Other than that, I welcome them in Maple Ridge and think they will work well.
9. Would you be interested in joining members of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition on a bike ride through your community?
I have and I will, but I need notice as the dates have not been working for me. I also do riding on my own, so I do get my time in on my bike.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thank you for the opportunity!!