Cycling questions for Maple Ridge Election Council Candidates

November 3, 2011

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition is candidates running in the Maple Ridge municipal election questions related to cycling.

My responses are as follows:

1. What modes of transportation do you normally use within your community and within Metro Vancouver?

We live in Rock Ridge and the road out of our community has no extra space for pedestrians, whether walking or cycling.  I would like to see roads and bike lanes improved in our community including the roadway which leads to Golden Ears Lake.  In the last two years I have seen multiple car accidents on this road and have seen one child hit by a car while they were biking – I’m surprised I haven’t seen more.

Our family including my mom and dad enjoy riding bikes together.  Typically we have to drive to safe places to bike such as Barnston Island.  We also do not have a bus running up to our area, and with two children we can’t take the bus as we would have to walk home in the dark.  We do our best to reduce emissions and plan errand runs along with trips to dance or pick-up or drop-off from school.  We had to take a huge loss on a Saturn hybrid we previously bought as it would break down on us routinely despite being purchased new.  We now drive a Hyundai Santa Fe which uses 10-11L per 100km.

There are no convenient connections between Maple Ridge and Vancouver.  The West Coast Express runs on business hours and the bus commute, especially with two children, is a long series of transfers which takes many hours each way.  When travelling around Vancouver we walk or sky train depending on distance.

2.  How would you support and encourage cycling for transportation – for people of all ages and abilities – to promote healthy and livable communities?

Maple Ridge needs to become more dense and create paths for cycling to be safe and practical.  As the city then grows, these paths can become increasingly larger.  Our community also needs to improve infrastructure so that people feel safe on a bike.

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? If you are not in support, please explain why.

Obviously safety is the biggest issue here.  The road from Albion to Lougheed for example is of particular concern for me as my husband and daughter used to bike it frequently and the lack of a divider caused me to cringe every time.  Separated cycling facilities on key routes I believe would encourage more biking.

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.

Connecting Maple Ridge to existing trails of other communities would be the most cost effective way to start developing a network and would increase awareness of such trails in our community by connecting with other cyclists.

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.?

Our ability to rely on oil has an expiration date.  We need to look at providing alternates and need to ensure the groundwork for our future takes this into account so we don’t build our city in a way that makes this difficult or financially problematic.  I would like to see a long term plan created for the future of cycling in our community and arrange to see responsible, gradual spending to see this achieved.

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 believe we need far better cycling infrastructure in Maple Ridge before this makes sense for us.

7. What role do you think the municipality has in supporting and promoting cycling education for children, cyclists and motorists?

The municipality and councillors I believe have a role of liaison to the cyclist coalitions and organizations who are passionate about cycling and who can provide insight necessary to understand and support cycling for the benefit of our community.  The municipality then has the responsibility of ensuring the infrastructure, safety and implementation of such support.

8. How do you feel e-bikes can play a role in our transportation system?

E-bikes can be used to encourage less physically fit users, or those with physical limitations, to reduce their reliance on carbon emission travels as well as encourage them to engage and participate in riding with friends and family.

9. What do you see as the benefits of e-bikes as compared to cars?

E-bikes are cheaper to purchase, cheaper to maintain, and cheaper to run.  They can reduce our reliance on oil and let’s not forget they’re much easier to park than cars!  The environmental benefits over cars are extensive and anything that can be done to ease congestion is a huge benefit.

10. What can e-bikes mean for less densely populated suburban communities like Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows?

Due to the sprawl of our community, many people are far from town and the length of a bike ride to go anywhere meaningful is beyond their general cycling ability and/or their time crunched schedule.  E-bikes can provide an alternative to general biking for the practical rider as opposed to the enthusiast.

11. Would you be interested in joining members of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition on a bike ride through your community?

My family and I would love to!

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