Letter to the Minister – Active Transportation Infrastructure v2


In response to our initial letter the MOTI sent us this letter, below is our response.

Honourable Claire Trevena
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
PO Box 9055
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E2

Dear Minister Trevena:

Thank you for the response of July 18, 2019 to our letter of June 13, 2019 regarding investment in active transportation infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast.  We are familiar with both the BikeBC program and BC’s active transportation strategy “Move, Commute, Connect”, and commend your government for both initiatives. We also recognize that installing shoulders on Marine Drive from Langdale to Gibsons would, in some locations, be costly.  However, our letter did not ask your Ministry to make that investment. Rather, what we are urging is that MOTI prioritize investment in active transportation (AT) infrastructure related to Highway 101, which is a Provincial highway solely within the jurisdiction and control of MOTI. 

The NDP government has shown real leadership in advancing AT planning, as well as dialogue with stakeholders around improving AT in BC (for e.g., through the Active Transportation Summit).  However, at the same time MOTI continues to pursue a strategy of downloading responsibility for construction and maintenance of AT on Provincially owned and managed highways to local governments.  This is most evident through the draft Memorandum of Understanding developed between MOTI and member communities of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) and draft Active Transportation Infrastructure Planning and Approval policy MOTI recently shared with local governments.  We have reviewed both documents in detail, and they are premised on the assumption that responsibility for AT infrastructure on MOTI rights of way rests, in part at least, with local governments.  

This assumption reflects the way in which AT infrastructure was developed under the previous government, and the results speak for how effective this has been: AT infrastructure on Provincial highways is piecemeal, patchy, and falling between the cracks of jurisdictional squabbles over who is responsible for building and maintenance.  Highway 101 exemplifies these shortcomings, and we invite you to come and cycle it with us so your can experience this first hand.  

What we are advocating, in simple terms, is for MOTI to assume responsibility for AT infrastructure related to the roads it owns and manages.  Local government funding, including through BikeBC grants, should be focused on improving AT infrastructure within municipal control. MOTI should lead on planning, funding and maintaining AT facilities within Provincial jurisdiction, with the goal of bringing Provincial highways that do not meet current Provincial design guidelines into compliance by a set date.  On the Sunshine Coast, this would require a focused but still achievable investment in building and maintaining shoulders on Highway 101.

Minister, the challenge with progressive planning documents like Move, Commute, Connect is not how to write them, but how to move past the text and into concrete implementation.  We see the real risk that this document will remain aspirational, until MOTI commits itself to a leadership role in bringing Provincial highways into compliance with Provincial AT policy and design guidelines.  We urge you to make this a priority and, in specific regards to the Sunshine Coast, make Highway 101 a showcase of a renewed Provincial investment in AT infrastructure.

Thank you for your time and attention,
Sincerely,
Alun Woolliams
TraC President

Cc.

Nicholas Simons, MLA
Lori Pratt – Chair, SCRD
Bill Beamish – Mayor, Town of Gibsons
Darnelda Siegers – Mayor, District of Sechelt
Elena Farmer – Lower Mainland District, MOTI
Don Legault – Operations Manager, MOTI
Glen Hafey – President, Sunshine Coast Cycling