There seems to be a lot of negative perspectives published recently about walking and cycling in Winnipeg, so thought I'd share a snippet from Vancouver's experience. There will always be push back but it can be overcome.
There wasn’t exactly a love fest over biking in the early days. “Bike lanes were controversial from day one,” Reimer says. “One of the things I’ve is learned is that people can agree on policy and direction, but the minute a piece of land comes into play, no matter how small, they get into personal arguments. I’ve sat in on meetings where people say I believe in childcare facilities, just not near me. And bike lanes are the environmental expression of that.”
The bottom line, after years of tough conversations: Vancouver reached its 2020 “active transportation” goal five years early — 50 percent of commuters now walk, bike or take public transit, up from a baseline of 15 percent in 2007.
According to Doug Smith, the city’s director of sustainability, that progress has fostered a ‘we can do better’ mindset. “Almost immediately [after reaching the 2020 target] the engineering department and the transportation team said we need to think longer term,” says Smith.
The city now has a 2040 Transportation http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/transportation-2040-plan.pdf plan with a goal of getting to at least two-thirds of all trips by active transportation. One way the city intends to achieve this goal is by committing to zero expansion of car capacity, despite projections that another million people will be living in Greater Vancouver by 2040 (adding to the current population of 2.5 million).
“All of that growth has to be through, walking, biking and transit. So, if you’re going to drive, you’re going to be stuck in your car,” says Smith.