Michael Baxter

Running for Colwood Council


What would be your highest priorities in the next four years to reduce the total energy use and emissions from transportation?

To attract more ridership, public transportation needs to be at least as fast or faster than the single occupancy vehicle therefore bus lanes need to keep expanding until this is achieved. Public transportation must also be more comfortable, quieter, smoother riding, more convenient and provide better service therefore we must continue to transition to electric buses, build more bus shelters, provide wi-fi on buses, introduce something similar to the compass card and expand the fleet as more riders are attracted. To attract more cyclists we must continue to create continuous routes of separated bikeways where feasible and otherwise safe bike lanes. It is important that the provincial government complete its update of the Motor Vehicle Act to deal with bicycles and other forms of transportation not currently adequately covered by the Act.

Over the next 4 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?

I support increasing space for walking, biking and public transit and in some cases this can be done by making narrower but still safe lanes for motor vehicles but I cannot think of anywhere in Colwood where reducing the number of lanes available for motor vehicles would not result in intolerable problems for public, private and goods transportation. I support providing a lower percentage of the overall space for motor vehicles in new neighbourhoods where this is part of the traffic plan from the outset. In my former role as a City Engineer I have, for the last 37 years, given at least equal weight to safe active transportation for all ages as I have to improving motor vehicle traffic flow.

Would you actively encourage the provincial government to prioritize public transit, walking and biking infrastructure over roadway expansion projects such as the proposed interchanges on the Pat Bay Highway?

Yes, I intend to do that. I do not rule out projects to improve the flow of private motor vehicles but the provincial government needs to be pressed to put enough money into other forms of transportation that they continue to attract more trips thus easing motor vehicle congestion at a much lower cost than new interchanges, etc. Safety improvements for motor vehicles must also be prioritized over capacity improvements where there is no safety improvement.

Do you support making walking safer and more enjoyable in Colwood?

Yes. Walking improves health, improves neighbourhood security (more eyes on the scene) and promotes a sense of community.

What specific policies, projects and expenditures would you support in the next four years to make walking safer and more pleasant in Colwood?

Continuing working towards safer and more pleasant walking and biking on Sooke Road and Metchosin Road as the budget allows. Completion of the new Subdivision and Development Services Bylaw to ensure that subdivision and development help build or improve municipal streets to include safe walking and biking for all ages (among the many improvements to the development process the updated bylaw would bring). Public art projects, street food and public performances. A great example of this has already been provided on the Colwood Waterfront where Eats and Beats and Food Truck Fridays bring more people out walking the peninsula and beach than ever before. The many driftwood art structures also attract many visitors who enjoy the fresh air, fabulous scenery and public art at the same time. Other projects will arise from discussions with Council and staff during the four years.

Do you support building a community-wide network of all ages and abilities (“AAA”) bike routes in the next four years?

I support moving closer to that goal over the next four years but the budget required for completing such a network will take much, much longer than one single term.

Do you support building a protected AAA bike lane on Sooke Rd from the View Royal border to Metchosin Road?

The galloping goose already provides AAA biking for a good portion of that distance. I support AAA bike ways for the remainder of the distance to Metchosin Road. I also support bike lanes along all of Sooke Road but achieving AAA beside the road for the entire way is not practicable in the foreseeable future and, while desirable, is not necessary with the Goose currently serving that purpose.

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 four years?

Yes. It is extremely important to the future viability of that transportation corridor to complete them.

Would you support keeping the E&N railway as a railway and actively campaign for electrified passenger and freight services?

I support keeping the E&N right of way as a transportation asset. Currently it is providing a huge boost to active transportation in the area through the new Rail Trail. I support a comprehensive study to compare all the ideas that have been put forward for using the E&N for motorised (preferably electric motor) transportation with a robust cost benefit analysis which includes externalities. This study should then show us the most effective way to use this asset.

Would you support and actively campaign for street-level electrified rapid transit in the greater Victoria region? If so, along what routes?

Not during the next four years. I expect it will eventually come and the construction of 24/7 bike lanes is laying the groundwork for this whilst also providing an immediate benefit.

In the next four years, would you support removing the requirements for off-street vehicle parking from new and infill developments?

Colwood has already effectively reduced off-street vehicle parking requirements and supporting further reductions would be conditional on an analysis of the effect of the current reductions and whether it indicated that further reductions are wise at this time.

In the next four years, how, would you activate and bring more people into public spaces within your municipality, including sidewalks, public squares, streets and parks?

Our society in general has provided large amounts of public space for the movement of people and goods and insufficient for informal pedestrian gathering places in our busiest areas. Parks in neighbourhoods have been provided and rightly so but in our commercial areas the pedestrian gathering places have so often been private spaces – malls and little else. This is changing. In Royal Bay I am confident that Council can work to bring about better public spaces as this old gravel pit is built out. Excellent parks distributed through the residential areas are already planned and one has been completed. Urban public spaces in the designated commercial areas need to be incorporated in local area plans during this next term to ensure that they are created when those areas are constructed. In the Colwood Corner area we are dealing with an existing situation. A good local area plan for the development of the remaining undeveloped spaces is needed as soon as feasible to ensure the community gets the public spaces that it needs to thrive.

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