Vancouver Critical Mass

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2007 BC Budget Consultation

The BC Provincial government has extended the deadline for its online survey to this Friday, Oct 26th, 2007.

The results of these surveys are rarely made available, so the usefulness is questionable at best, since right-wing, authoritarian governments like this one just do what their funders want anyway.

I'm hoping that we can throw a wrench into their plans: if we flood them with responses that call for real change, and demand to know the results, maybe we will have some of our money spent where we want it.

In any case, it's 6 simple questions. I'm including my first answer, fyi. Just click on the link here:

~Dave Olson

(Ed: my sources say that the Liberal party is already flooding the survey
results with very unsavoury, and ignorant responses. Please take a moment
to write something from the perspective of those that actually want to
improve the environment)


"Your Choices, Your Priorities"

Q.1 What budget choices would you make to help reduce B.C. s greenhouse gases by at least 33 percent below current levels by 2020?
Specifically, we need:

1) to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on bicycle infrastructure around the province NOW. Not over the next 20 years, NOW.

Making it safe to cycle allows almost anyone to reduce up to 50% of their GhG emissions immediately. Making it safe to cycle means building separated space from motorized vehicles, EVERYWHERE humans travel.

In the cities, it means building what Amsterdam did in the 1950s, which has resulted in a 40% modal-share for cyclists (that means 40% of all trips made in Amsterdam - a city with excellent transit service - are made by bicycle).

In rural areas, it means building separate bike paths that are not accessible to motorized vehicles and which have priority at crossings where motorized vehicles travel. One example would be the extension of the E & N Trail, that only currently exists in the City of Nanaimo, to
Courtenay and Victoria.

Not only would these investments pay for themselves in less than 10 years, they would be politically viable and hugely popular.

If the half billion dollars is not available from the previous or next budget surplus, then it must be taken from the capital and maintenance budgets designated for highways.

2) to spend the $10 billion earmarked for the Gateway project on public transit around the province.

The bulk of this money needs to be spent in Metro Vancouver on doubling the bus and skytrain fleet this year. Yes, this year. This will cost $1.5 billion on buses, $1 billion on skytrain cars, and another $1 billion on the operations of the system, which will allow 10 minute service everywhere in the region and which will allow all the fareboxes to be removed.

To get the majority of motorists out of their cars and into transit requires that all barriers be removed: the farebox, infrequent service, lack of dedicated bus lanes 24/7.

Another $1 billion needs to be put aside for the following year, for bus and skytrain replacements, expansions and operating expenses, after which a long-term, sustainable funding scheme will have been put in place.

The remaining $5.5 billion needs to be spent both on more buses and on expanding bus service in every city and town with existing bus service (25 centres). The existing 250 buses must be quadrupled to 1,000 costing less than $1 billion. Adding the infrastructure to support these new
buses (maintenance and storage areas, dedicated bus lanes) will cost less than $1 billion as well. Removing the fareboxes and ensuring service frequencies are 10 minutes will take about $1 billion over the next two years.

In fact, we can create the best transit systems in the entire world (best, meaning free to use and too frequent to require people to read a schedule) in every urban area in the province and still have well over $2 billion dollars left in the Gateway piggy bank. This can and should be used for communities wishing to begin public bus service.

(3000 Characters Max)

UPDATE: The results of this survey are now blogged at: bc-transport-budget-planning.html

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