BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau on Saturday released her party’s plan for livable cities in Victoria. The plan includes policies for investing in transit, walkable neighborhoods and active transportation.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the benefits of more livable communities,” said Furstenau.
“The pandemic has closed our social networks and cancelled our travel plans. People are using outdoor spaces as one of the only areas where we can socialize while adhering to social distancing guidelines. As businesses have slowly reopened, we’ve seen them expand out onto our streets in order to take advantage of the relative safety of serving outdoors.
“As we recover from COVID-19, we need to think about how we can build stronger communities. I’ve spoken a lot already in this campaign about the need for a recovery that fights climate change and spurs innovation. Investing in transit, livable cities and active transportation will not only help us meet our climate targets – it will improve our physical and mental wellbeing, the strength and connectedness of our communities, and our overall quality of life.”
The B.C. Greens will:
- Partner with local governments to drive development of more walkable neighbourhoods, complete communities, active transportation and healthy community design. Policies may include:
- Expanding provincial funding for projects such as bike lanes, trails, parks, community spaces, and pedestrian-only streets.
- Make the expanded patio program permanent, working with local governments and stakeholders to ensure that patio expansions are maintained in a safe and sustainable way.
- Make electric bikes more accessible by:
- Removing PST from electric bikes,
- Requiring offices and commercial premises to provide secure bike parking with charging capabilities;
- Creating more safe storage options including bike lockers at key locations e.g. transport hubs.
- Promote neighbourhood car co-ops with insurance instruments and parking areas.
- Work with local governments to explore modernization of revenue models to fully capture the public’s fair share of the land lift from transit oriented development.
- Work with local governments in partnership to reform our local government finance system, which leaves local governments overly reliant on regressive property taxes and unable to properly deliver the projects required for cities in the 21st century.
- This would include a committee to consider relevant recommendations in the UBCM report Strong Fiscal Futures.
The B.C. Greens will:
- Work with local governments to establish a vision for sustainable transportation in an era of expanded population growth on the South Island, including through:
- A regional transportation strategy;
- Establishing a regional governance body to overcome fractured decision-making and deliver integrated planning for the growing region;
- Investing to support expansion of public transit options to help people move around more easily;
- Building frequent and affordable public transportation links between cities, such as between Cowichan and the CRD.
- Prioritize investment in transit service coming out of COVID-19 to support economic recovery, improve livability of communities, and reduce GHG emissions.
- Ensure that the projected long-term losses facing TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries are dealt with so that service levels are maintained, allowing ridership to quickly bounce back through the economic recovery period.
- Ensure no disruption in future expansion due to the pandemic.
- Work with local and regional governments to redesign the transit funding model and establish an equitable, stable long-term funding model for transit.
- This review would include consideration of mobility pricing.
- Develop climate and sustainability criteria, including consideration of cumulative impacts, that will be applied to all future capital projects including transportation infrastructure investments.