Transportation is key for a greener Canada

Too many cars on  the road and not enough buses and means for alternative transportation is a common theme in many Metro Vancouver jurisdictions. As I reported in the North Shore News, the top of mind issue for many District of North Vancouver residents is better transportation infrastructure. A principle concern is making roads safer and more accessible. To achieve this, more transportation options need to be made available.

I am all for the bicycle-lift system, Trampe, being considered for parts of North Vancouver’s notoriously steep Lonsdale Avenue. Cyclists could use a little boost on the North Shore.

Separate bike lanes and more car-free zones are likely to ease traffic congestion by getting people out of their cars.

The BC SCRAP-IT program is also a great way to encourage people to trade in their old gas-guzzler for a new electric system for their bikes. Electric assists are an under-reported innovation that is likely to revolutionize how people commute. The issue now is when and how e-bikes will be regulated.

If we are serious about reducing greenhouse gasses in Canada, we have to start changing how we look at transportation – both of people and goods. Transportation accounts for 30 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions. Another one fifth of Canada’s pollution comes from energy production. According to Environment Canada, we’re losing the battle over fossil fuel pollution from automobiles. Few people are opting totake a bus to get to where they’re going and many more,  it appears, are driving cars with each passing day.

The reality is that a workable alternative to the convenient car has yet to be found. Bicycles are a viable alternative, but the infrastructure that would encourage more people to take a bike is lacking in most cities. Mainly, many people still feel that riding a bike on city streets is unsafe and inconvenient. There are more accessories than ever that can make cycling conducive to modern lifestyles. But, without dedicated pathways – particularly ones that are separate from roads and parked cars – cycling will remain a pursuit for those with enough courage and tenacity to compete for road-space with faster-moving, bigger and heavier vehicles.

The solution? Policy, policy and politics.

It’s going to happen. There is no doubt in my mind that governments are taking a very serious look at how they are going to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and meet the increasing demand for such action by their constituents. The question is when and how far will policies go?

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