Cycling for all abilities and ages, AAA, green house gas reduction for better health



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The actions of climate change

 Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that we face as a City. It is established that Green House Gases (GHG) are the cause of climate change and the actions taken to mitigate its effects need to be taken by the government and city residents. Optimally, the City’s actions to address this issue should support and facilitate residents in reducing their carbon footprint.

The City of Vancouver through its Green City Action Plan 2020 is setting ambitious targets to reduce the amount of GHG that the city is emitting. Some of the plan’s highlights are as follows:

-Vancouver is set to bring our community-based greenhouse emissions down to 5% below 1990 levels, even as our population has grown by over 27% and jobs have increased by over 18%

 -Vancouver’s electricity is generated in British Columbia – 93% of it is from renewable sources. We are also developing neighbourhood-scale renewable energy projects. Conversion to renewable sources will create new green jobs.

 -The City has implemented the greenest build code in North America.

 -Vancouver is rising to meet the green transportation challenge by creating compact neighbourhoods with higher density to provide easy access to work, shopping and recreation. The City has shifted investment to walking, cycling and transit infrastructure instead of building new roads.

 You can read the full plan here

In conjunction with the Greenest City Action Plan, the City also has the 2040 Transportation plan that sets goals for residents and the city to reduce GHG emissions by making a more sustainable transportation system.

You can read the plan here

The plan is described in the following manner by the City:

The City of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 Plan envisions an efficient transportation system to support a thriving economy, a healthy, safe, accessible and vibrant city, and an improved natural environment. Specific targets include having two-thirds of all trips in Vancouver by sustainable modes by 2040 and eliminating traffic-related fatalities. The projects outlined in this report support the high-level goals and specific targets of the Transportation 2040 Plan.

 Transportation 2040 includes visions to make walking ‘safe, convenient, comfortable, and delightful’ and to make cycling ‘safe, convenient, comfortable, and fun’ for people of All Ages and Abilities (AAA), including seniors and children. The Cycling in Cities research from the University of British Columbia concludes that cyclists, and potential cyclists, prefer bicycle routes that are fully separated from vehicle traffic or are on local streets that have traffic calming to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic.

 In the West End and Downtown core we know the benefits of living in a high-density community where walking, cycling and taking transit are the highest levels in the city. The sustainable transportation choices that we make contribute a huge reduction in the amount of GHGs that are emitted.

Going forward with the City’s new building code to create more efficient uses of energy in buildings for lighting and heating will also lead to a significantly reduction the carbon footprint. When neighbourhood heating systems are implemented it will really make the density work to create more environmentally sustainable housing types.

Still, the West End needs to have more improvements to the roads to promote cycling for all age groups and abilities. Road conditions need to feel and be safe enough for more women, children and older folks to ride. Women riding bikes is the fastest growing group of cyclists in Vancouver with the construction of Hornby and Dunsmuir bike paths. The largest overall ridership levels in the world are in Denmark and the Netherlands where women are a least 50% of the cycling ridership While the construction of the Comox/Helmcken Greenway is a needed and great addition to safe biking routes in the West End, roads like Robson, Denman, Beach and Davie need more work. Cyclists do not feel safe to ride on these roads and are often found riding on the sidewalk. Imagine if there was West End Downtown separated bike lane!

This is next big vision for the West End and Vancouver to make cycling more mainstream for men, women and children of all ages. Safer road conditions like separated bike lanes need to be constructed on the high streets. This will not just reduce the amount of pollution in our community by reducing car use, it will also improve the health of all us living in the West End.

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