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Trevor Hancock: For a more livable city, invest in cycling, transit, pedestrian infrastructure

Trevor Hancock: For a more livable city, invest in cycling, transit, pedestrian infrastructure

A cyclist rides on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail near Taylor Road in Metchosin. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST This is the fourth in the series…

Sunday, Aug 07

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A cyclist rides on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail near Taylor Road in Metchosin. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST This is the fourth in the series of columns where I present the recommendations of Livable Victoria, an informal and non-partisan group of which I am a member. We share a commitment to making our region a more sustainable, vibrant, healthy, and inclusive place to live.

Our fourth recommendation is to invest in cycling, transit, and pedestrian infrastructure. This form of mobility is also known as active transportation, for the obvious reason that people getting around on foot, by bike or transit are more physically active. It makes a great deal of sense in a region with a temperate climate, and one that on the whole is not very hilly.

Active transportation is a major focus of public health action, and has been for some decades. The health benefits include increased physical activity (in turn linked to reduced obesity and improved heart health), improved air quality (linked to improved heart and lung health), and reductions in injuries, noise and greenhouse gas emissions.

On the down side, noted Canada’s National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health in 2010, people using active transport modes “face an increased risk of injury from collisions, [and] may also be exposed to elevated levels of air pollution.” Those risks can be reduced by safely separating cyclists and pedestrians from vehicles, reducing vehicle traffic, controlling exhaust pollution and speeding the transition to electric vehicles.

Our first recommendation is to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, and […]

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