Stephen Hammond

Running for Victoria Mayor

https://stephenhammondformayor.newcouncil.ca/

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

My highest priority will be to align the city with the real needs of city residents instead of imposing upon them. A transition to electric vehicles is ongoing (technology improving) and these seem ideally suited to use in the area. Incentives around parking and charging are within the cities capability to provide. We should be trying harder. Roads will still be needed, but we need not use as many hydrocarbons. I am also interested in completing the full cycling network, but they must be well planned and budgeted to avoid repeats of the safety issues and cost overruns that have plagued the tiny bit of progress we have managed to date. I fully support active transportation for those who are able, but not at the expense of those who are less able, (Canadian Federation of the Blind Human Rights Complaint). I will be very interested to see longer-term statistics on how many new bike commuters we have since the bike lanes went in. Regional transportation is challenging. I support completing rapid transit lanes. There is currently no business case for electric buses due to their limited range requiring double the number of buses at much higher per bus cost. It would also be very expensive to store all the extra buses and BC Transit does not currently have land for that. An electric rail service would be fantastic, but the Provincial government is not currently supportive. As a long, long time member of Modo (formerly CAN), I’d like to see how we can help improve car sharing services.

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 am in favour of increasing space for walking and biking to support healthy lifestyle choices and reduce green house gas emissions. I am in favour of working with the provincial government, BC Transit and other carriers to improve our public transit systems, especially with our aging population (people 65+ are estimated to be 29% of Victoria’s population by 2041) . I am not in favour of reducing space for private vehicles due to the ongoing movement to densify which will mean even if more people use other means, the car population will likely rise in the next four years. Reducing space for private motor vehicles is a longer-term project and will involve consensus from Victorians on the change. So, it is not what I will do, it is what will Victorians choose to do.

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, public transit, walking and biking infrastructure are a high priority, but I do believe that electric cars will be around for quite some time by necessity, especially in BC with renewable electricity generation. Therefore, I would support any interchanges that promote safety for drivers. This is not an either or question, both can be valid projects.

Do you support making walking safer and more enjoyable in the City of Victoria?

Yes.

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

These suggestions should be refined through consultation with groups such as the Victoria Disability Resource Centre, the Canadian Federation of the Blind and groups representing residents with unique needs. But some initiatives are obvious: Infrastructure upgrades are required throughout Victoria: cracked and uneven sidewalks are trip hazards and therefore potentially dangerous for some people, scooters cannot navigate narrow side walks if the sidewalk is uneven or tree roots are coming up. Increase the time allowed to cross major streets. It is a struggle for some individuals to cross streets in the allotted time. Increase the number of audible crosswalks Modify the curbs at intersections to improve accessibility Do not allow cyclists to ride on the sidewalks. Improve lighting in areas as required

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

Yes, I support building a community-wide network. We will take the time to do it well with community consultation and excellent, safe project design and management. We must provide accurate costing to avoid the cost overruns experienced on Pandora and Fort. Residents need to know what they are approving.

Do you support completing the downtown AAA bikeway grid on Wharf St, Humboldt St and Vancouver St?

The completion of this bikeway grid seems logical. However, I would resolve the issues on Pandora and Fort first, reconfirm the plans with the affected communities, modify plans as required and then proceed. I want to work with the communities, not force unwanted actions on them.

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, the new council and I would work closely with Regional Transit Commission, the provincial government and the other municipalities to make the case for a rapid transit system into and out of the downtown that is faster and more efficient that driving. Buses would have WiFi on board for those keen commuters.

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

Yes, I would. A business case is required to confirm where this project fits with the many other City initiatives and current debt. The province would have to lead this project. I would not relinquish this land for other uses, which would trigger land use re-negotiations we should avoid. Nothing wrong with re-negotiations, but it just reminds us that we aren’t the only ones making the decisions.

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

I fully support electric buses, however, the technology for electric buses does not fully meet the City’s needs, yet. The range of an electric bus is less than what is required for a regular daily route necessitating the purchase of additional buses. Rapid charging stations must be built and garages required. We will keep on top of the technology and following recommendations from BC Transit and other local experts, identify the first bus routes, budget for the purchases and proceed when feasible.

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

As we densify, parking will be a concern. Requiring new and infill developments to have off-street vehicle parking is essential, or there would need to be commensurate restrictions on car ownership. Car-share arrangements may be an alternative, but this cannot be forced. For professional and/or personal reasons an individual may need a car and should not be penalized if they have this requirement.

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?

Victoria has many beautiful parks and spaces that must be welcoming and safe for the use of all. The City will continue with programs to promote park usage e.g. concerts, bird watching, naturalist activities, etc. Car-free day, Symphony Splash etc. are good ways to enjoy downtown. Following discussions with area merchants I would support a longer “test” of Government Street as a pedestrian mall. I’m not sure why we have to “activate” people into public spaces, when many people would rather sit quietly with a good book. I want people to feel comfortable to enjoy our public spaces as they see fit.


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