VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Local cycling groups are looking for an annual $75-million funding commitment from BC’s four political parties, heading into the provincial election.
BC Cycling Coalition President Richard Campbell says most of the cash would go to creating safer bike routes.
“It certainly goes a lot further than money for roads or rapid transit,” Campbell tells News1130.
“Separated bike lanes and multi-use paths can cost anywhere from $500,000 per kilometre to $2 million per kilometre. It’s safe to say that with that type of money, especially if it’s matched by municipalities, it can buy a couple hundred kilometres of really good bike facilities and that could be spread around communities around the province.”
BC Transportation Minister Mary Polak says her government has spent $148 million to improve cycling infrastructure since 2001 but she won’t commit Campbell’s request for $75 million a year.
“That might be a bit of a stretch in terms of our current financial situation, but I don’t have any problem with them looking at the commitments that we have kept and the amount of money that we’ve put into it,” she says. “We’re certainly expanding cycling in a big way in British Columbia.”
She says more than $7 million has been spent on improving cycling lanes, trails and paths in 20 communities in BC this year.
“We’d like a one-metre passing law so that cars will have to give bikes one metre if they’re going to be passing them and also blanket speed zones under 50km/hr,” she explains. “We recommend 30km/hr for any designated bike route.”
The cycling wish list also includes a provincial cycling tourism strategy and input on what the replacement to the Massey Tunnel should look like.
Campbell and O’Melinn will be reaching out to the Liberals, NDP, Conservatives and Greens prior to the election in May.