Running for Saanich Mayor
What would be your highest priorities in the next four years to reduce the total energy use and emissions from transportation?
Transit, roads and traffic need integrated planning to achieve reduced emissions. I would lobby for changing the Regional Transit Commission to a Transportation Commission. This would address road planning, reduce commute times, increase transit ridership, promote active transport and cut emissions. Transportation needs to be integrated with housing development.
My priorities would be to encourage the shift of vehicles from gasoline to electrical and hybrids. This reduces carbon based energy and emissions. In tandem, I would encourage a shift to e-buses. Energy use and emissions can be reduced by shifting from gasoline vehicles to electric vehicles. Saanich is already embracing more e-vehicles for staff and placing charging stations. In new multi-family development applications we are encouraging pre-ducting for e-vehicle charging, use of car share programs with e-vehicles and hybrids. Modal shifts in transportation from cars to transit, bikes and pedestrian need to be a priority. Reduced commute times can be facilitated by having more homes along our transit corridors such that people can live, work and play in their local area, rather than travel in from Westshore or further.
Smart City design for transportation integration helps achieve reduced emissions, increased ridership and improved commute experience. I’m delighted to have worked on the South Island Prosperity Project Smart City Transport Initiative, which is in the running for a $10 million federal grant to achieve a Smart City approach to integrating options for multi-modal transportation.
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 believe this will be the natural evolution of integrating our transport and housing planning. By densifying along our corridors and centres we reduce the need for private vehicles. By improving our bicycle and walking routes we encourage leaving the car at home. Car share programs should be encouraged in all multi-family developments to make ownership less necessary. Walking is encouraged by refocusing on a livability of our roads so that all users feel safe. This can be done by adding physical road changes such as cross walks and traffic circles. These enable traffic flow while preventing speeding. I believe the budget is available inside annual surpluses and infrastructure funding. I am committed to accelerating safety actions on priority roads, safe walking routes to school and taking action on cut-through traffic. Taken together, these will increase the space for walking, biking and public transit, and enable the reduction in the need for private vehicle ownership.
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?
The interchange at McKenzie is already being built. Yes, I would actively encourage the Province to prioritize public transit, walking and biking over additional roadway expansions. LA is our proof that building more roads does not reduce traffic congestion. I believe we need to use our existing roads better. Smart City programs of integrating traffic lights, traffic circles, transit timing can be better utilized. I’d like to see more Park and Rides to encourage high occupancy car travel. There are too many single use vehicles. We need improved bus service and that is one thing we must lobby strongly for.
Do you support making walking safer and more enjoyable in Saanich?
Absolutely. I believe we need to refocus our attention on road safety and livable streets. We cannot wait the 5-10-15 year periods for road safety improvements to our priority roads. The residents have told us how they feel. We’ve had recent tragedies. I believe we can reassign our annual budget surpluses and contributions to our long term infrastructure reserves to address walkability now. Adding traffic circles and cross walks to 20 of our high priority areas can be achieved without increasing our taxes. This goes hand in hand with accelerating our side walk programs.
What specific policies, projects and expenditures would you support in the next four years to make walking safer and more pleasant in Saanich?
I believe we can reassign our annual budget surpluses and contributions to our long term infrastructure reserves to address walkability now. Adding traffic circles and cross walks to 20 of our high priority areas can be achieved without increasing our taxes. This goes hand in hand with accelerating our side walk programs. We need to treat road safety with more urgency.
Do you support building a community-wide network of all ages and abilities (“AAA”) bike routes in the next four years?
Yes. As our budgets permit. We are already underway with this with the recently adopted Active Transportation Plan. As we see more development in our corridors, so we will receive additional funding to improve our bike route networks.
Do you support building a protected bike lane on Gorge Rd?
Yes. Protected bike lanes help increase alternate transportation choices. I would work with Victoria and Saanich in design and timing.
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. This is a key element to improving transportation. We need to complete the Douglas Hwy 1 corridor. We then need to look at funding and strategies for other routes including the Pat Bay Hwy. These can be integrated with Park ‘n Ride spaces. We really need the essential help of the Provincial government.
Would you support keeping the E&N railway as a railway and actively campaign for electrified passenger and freight services?
I am a big fan of rail, but see this as something for our future, when our population is better able to support it. Right now, our focus should be on the transit we have, which is buses. Making these as low emission as possible and increasing their convenience so that they become the first choice for commuters.
Would you support and actively campaign for street-level electrified rapid transit in the greater Victoria region? If so, along what routes?
As with rail, I believe that we should keep this as an option for the future. I would need to see the business plan based on ridership capacity, costs and return on investment. All options can be on the table. These SLER systems are used in other cities. Do we have the ingredients to do this successfully will depend on the business case and support from higher levels of government.
In the next four years, would you support removing the requirements for off-street vehicle parking from new and infill developments?
Until there is significantly reduced uses of private vehicles, off-street parking will be required. Over the next four years there will be a trend in this direction. Meanwhile I believe all developments need adequate off street parking spaces. In cases of rental on transit corridors there is a case for a reduced parking ratio. I hope this trend continues.
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?
Encouraging vital villages where people use the common space is key. This involves a combination of safety on sidewalks, and the attractiveness of public spaces, streets and parks. Local cafes and pocket parks on streets, the use of food trucks in parks and engaging public activities such as music, street theatre and street parties are all place making techniques known to work. Let’s encourage more.