1. What would be your highest priorities in the next two years to reduce the total energy use and emissions from transportation?
We are facing a climate emergency, and I believe that Victoria residents want the City to show leadership by taking meaningful climate action. Transportation is the primary contributor of polluting greenhouse gas emissions in our city, and one of my top priorities is ensuring that everyone has access to safe, accessible, and low/no carbon ways to get around in order to reduce total energy use and emissions. This includes action in the following areas:
Improving public transit’s accessibility, service quality, and sustainability by:
- Extending free transit passes to seniors and low-income households as the next step towards fare-free transit for all
- Creating more dedicated bus lanes with transit signal priority, including for BC Transit’s proposed Rapid Bus routes to the West Shore, UVic and Swartz Bay
- Advocating that BC Transit purchase only electric busses moving forward
- Building additional bus stop shelters and benches throughout the city
Encouraging active transportation:
- Improving the safety and accessibility of options to walk, ride, and roll
- Ensuring safer and more accessible sidewalks
- Completing the network of all ages and abilities bike+ infrastructure to increase bike ridership, ensuring that the most updated accessibility standards are adhered to
- Making it easier to find covered bike parking in popular areas by expanding bike storage facilities on municipal property
2. Over the next two years, would you support increasing the space for walking, biking, and public transit and reducing that for private motor vehicles in your community? How would you do that?
Yes. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that public space for active and public transportation has never been in higher demand. It has also shown us how quickly and effectively we can make this space available — such as increasing pedestrian space, which has also added to the vibrancy of our city and supported local businesses throughout this difficult time.
Over the next two years, I would look to:
- Create more transit lanes on city streets to make transit faster and more reliable
- Make some of the temporary changes that have been made to increase pedestrian space permanent. This includes supporting the pedestrian improvements that have been made both on Government Street and in village centres across the city such North Park, James Bay, Fernwood Square, and others. And I will champion additional pedestrian improvements that are supported by the community.
- Complete the all ages and abilities cycling network to increase bike ridership, ensuring that the most updated accessibility standards are adhered to
- Make it easier to find covered bike parking in popular areas by expanding bike storage facilities on municipal property
- Work to achieve zero pedestrian deaths with traffic-calming measures such as lowering speed limits in residential neighbourhoods, placing more crosswalks mid-block to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, and improving and widening sidewalks
3. Would you actively encourage the provincial government to prioritize public transit, walking and biking infrastructure over roadway expansion projects? If so, how?
Yes. The provincial government recently approved the South Island Transportation Strategy, which promised a new sustainable direction for transportation in the region. I would work collaboratively with other municipal representatives to encourage the provincial government to:
- Work with the Capital Regional District (CRD) to identify transportation infrastructure projects that are compatible with the CRD’s unanimous climate emergency declaration, regional GHG reduction targets, and the bold aspirations of the provincial government’s new South Island Transportation Strategy
- Follow through on their commitment in the federal-provincial climate agreement to shift funding from highway expansion to low-carbon transportation infrastructure
- Establish clear transportation mode share goals in the short/medium term and fund them
- Reflect the true costs and benefits of transportation in planning decisions
- Fund urgent priorities already identified by BC Transit and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, including the new transit operations and maintenance facility needed to expand the bus fleet and transition to electric buses
4. What initiatives would you support to make Victoria a safer and more enjoyable place to walk?
Victoria is a lovely place to walk, but safety concerns remain. In January 2019, the City estimated that a pedestrian is struck by a car every week in Victoria and that level of harm is unacceptable. To make Victoria a safer and more enjoyable place to walk and roll, I would:
- Work to achieve zero pedestrian deaths with traffic-calming measures such as lowering speed limits in residential neighbourhoods, placing more crosswalks mid-block ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities, and improving and widening sidewalks to ensure there is sufficient space to walk and physically distance
- Support the pedestrian improvements that have been made both on Government Street and in village centres across the city such North Park, James Bay, Fernwood Square, and others and champion additional pedestrian improvements
- Improve pedestrian accessibility and safety for all, including those who use mobility aids, by improving and expanding sidewalks, intersections, and waterfront access
- Support the City initiating a pilot project to welcome mobility scooter and power wheelchair users to ride on appropriate parts of the AAA bike+ network, as allowed by recent BC Motor Vehicle Act amendments
5. What specific policies, projects and expenditures would you support in the next two years to make walking safer and more pleasant in the City of Victoria?
To make walking safer and more pleasant, I would support:
- More crossing light installations
- New developments to require raised crosswalks
- Moving forward with the long-delayed greenway network to connect park and other destinations
- Traffic-calming measures such as lowering speed limits in residential neighbourhoods, placing more crosswalks mid-block, ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities, and improving and widening sidewalks to ensure there is sufficient space to walk and physically distance
6. Do you support completing the minimum AAA bikeway network by 2022?
Yes, I support completing the minimum all ages and abilities bikeway network for 2022 and beginning to plan work to come after 2022. Cities around the world are investing in biking infrastructure to increase biking ridership, make cycling safer, encourage physical activity, and address the climate emergency. I also support the City’s pending pilot project to welcome people using mobility scooters and power wheelchairs to use appropriate parts of the AAA bike+ network, as allowed by recent BC Motor Vehicle Act amendments advocated for by the BC Cycling Coalition and the City of Victoria.
7. Beyond Victoria’s current AAA bike network plans, what projects or initiatives would you support to grow bicycle usage in the city and meet its mode share targets?
In addition to supporting the completion of the the minimum all ages and abilities bikeway network for 2022, I would support:
- Expanding covered bike storage options on municipal property
- E-bike and cargo bike purchase programs administered and supported by the city
- Incentivizing multi-family dwellings to provide better bike parking for residents
- Expanding education, outreach, and events
- Improvements to neighborhood bike routes, in particular closing gaps on routes, and spot improvements like curb cuts
8. Would you support completing the 24/7 bus lanes along the Douglas Street/Highway 1 corridor, as well as along other routes such as the Pat Bay Highway as a high priority for municipalities and the BC government in the next two years?
Yes. Moving buses faster and more efficiently speeds up the entire transit network, and reduces the number of cars on our streets. BC Transit is working on a proposal for Rapid Bus routes to the West Shore, UVic and Swartz Bay, and these routes won’t be rapid or reliable without more 24/7 bus lanes on Victoria roads. I will also advocate strongly for the bus lanes and signal priority on provincial highways BC Transit will need to make these routes truly rapid.
9. Would you support keeping the E&N railway as a railway and actively campaign for electrified passenger and freight services?
Yes. The E&N railway can serve a valuable role for intercity travel on the island, while still using freight where appropriate. If the provincial and federal governments stop expanding highways, modernizing the E&N becomes an affordable proposition.
10. Would you support and actively campaign for street-level electrified rapid transit in the greater Victoria region? If so, along what routes
Yes, we need to electrify our transit system as quickly as possible and ensure that transit riders don’t get stuck in traffic. BC Transit’s proposal for Rapid Bus lines to the West Shore, UVic and Swartz Bay is a great next step to support. BC Transit’s transportation planners are best equipped to propose the exact routes in consultation with municipal staff, Victoria’s representatives on the Transit Commission, and the public. These three electric rapid transit routes should be considered a starting point for a larger electric rapid transit network serving the whole region.
11. In the next two years, would you support removing the requirements for off-street vehicle parking from new and infill developments?
Yes, starting in locations within easy walking distance of the frequent transit network. Parking spots add tens of thousands of dollars to housing costs – sometimes over fifty thousand dollars for one spot. If we’re serious about reducing the cost of housing and addressing the climate emergency, one of the most straightforward ways to do so is to remove costly parking requirements and ensure future residents have access to a host of transportation options, including bus, walking, bike, carshares, etc. Parking maximums in the downtown core and near the best transit routes should be considered.
12. Over the next two years, how and what initiatives would you pursue to encourage people to safely use public spaces (including sidewalks, public squares, streets, parking stalls and parks) in Victoria?
In the next two years, I will work to increase the amount of accessible outdoor space by expanding and refining successful pedestrian street corridors such as those on Government Street and Gladstone Avenue. I will support businesses to operate safely through this pandemic by expanding opportunities for the use of patios and other outdoor spaces in every neighbourhood, and explore opportunities to make the most successful of these changes permanent. I’d also like to see increased opportunities for food trucks, playspaces, and public art. Building back better means learning from this challenging time. For me, that means continuing to apply the flexibility and creativity that we have to the pandemic to how we want to build our city and communities moving forward.
13. Do you support keeping Government St as a pedestrian priority area (similar to summer 2020), with vehicle access managed to certain types of functions, or limited to specific hours?
Yes. I strongly support a permanent pedestrian priority area on Government Street from Yates to Humboldt, ensuring that businesses are consulted on how to ensure they have access to the goods and services they need. I will work with residents and businesses to identify other pedestrian priority locations over the next two years. These changes must carefully consider the needs of seniors and people with disabilities, including increasing the percentage of on and off street accessible parking.