Improvement, creation of cycling infrastructure main points in the updated active transport plan
When it comes to active transportation, Nelson is one of the nation’s leading communities for people who get around without using fossil fuels.
Almost a third of the city’s population commutes by active transportation – 30%, according to a 2016 census – one of the highest percentages in British Columbia (second only to Victoria) and across Canada.
But the city is now looking to improve cycling infrastructure in a topographically challenged city to further increase that active transportation figure.
To that end, the city has redesigned its active transportation plan, tasking a task force to review the document and develop an implementation plan to provide direction to the city on active transportation over the next five years. years.
And what the group found, and what they recommended, hasn’t changed since the plan’s inception in 2010 and the key considerations are still relevant.
The main recommendations of the plan are to create a user-friendly document for the community, staff and council, as well as to focus on building a main cycle network.
“We need to focus on creating this main cycling network and recognize that we don’t have a lot of cycling infrastructure,” said senior town planner Sébastien Arcand in his presentation to city council on the plan.
“And with the growing popularity of e-bikes, we need to start thinking about it and providing infrastructure to increase cycling.”
The implementation plan will also be updated and annual monitoring of the plan will now take place.
The action items of the implementation plan have been divided into six categories, including expansion of the active transportation network, improvement of orientation, signage and travel planning, and safety, traffic calming, education and awareness.
Implementation of the plan will also aim to provide more bicycle parking and other end-of-trip facilities, with tracking of trips, investments and active transportation initiatives.
Since the city has topographical challenges with its steep hills and narrow streets, any approach to active transportation infrastructure will need to be developed and adapted to the nuances of Nelson to be effective, Arcand said in his presentation to city council.
However, each action item in the implementation plan is relatively general, with the intention that it will be considered in detail at the time of implementation.
“For example, the site plan proposes a primary cycle network. However, it does not provide a detailed description of what this cycling network will look like, ”Arcand wrote. “This will give staff the opportunity to individually explore the options for each component of the cycling network. The individual items will then be presented to the board prior to implementation. “
An implementation plan map will be created to provide a visual reference tool to present the action items to be carried out over the next five years.
“It will be a living document and will be adapted as needed,” Arcand explained. “The focus will always be on ensuring a connected active transport network offering options for all. “
And recognize that the city center is a little more difficult for the development of cycling.
The first working group looked at what were the main assets of the city and where were the key destinations, where people had to travel daily, breaking them down by neighborhood.
In order to move forward and accomplish the proposed implementation plan, a staff working group will now need to be established, Arcand said.
“The idea would be that the working group establish an annual action plan detailing the elements to be completed during the following year,” he wrote in his report to the board.
The annual action plan would then be presented to the board and, if approved, the necessary steps would then be taken to add the action items to the budget and departmental work plans.
The plan has been received for information. In the second week of November, the municipal staff working group on the active transportation plan will be launched.