West Van's transportation hierarchy sparks debate
Pedestrians are at the top of West Vancouver's transportation hierarchy, followed by bicycles, public transit, delivery trucks and, finally, cars. The plan is to shift travel away from single-occupancy vehicles towards sustainable modes.
But what about seniors who need their cars get around?
Because of where they live, one West Van resident told council, it's difficult to take the bus and impossible to bike.
"My friends and all my acquaintances are in their 70s and 80s. You're not going to put those people on bicycles to go and get their groceries… or to go out to North Van to go play bridge," said Ray Richards at public discussion on Monday. "It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."
Richards said he routinely carpools but is concerned parking spots will be taken away because of emphasis put on other types of transportation such as bike lanes.
Transit options should be available for all people living in West Van, including seniors and those with disabilities, recommends a report from West Van's transportation working group. But to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gases, many cars need to stay at home.
At the same meeting, people with young families came out to say they want more bike lanes for their children. The Sprit Trail, which is expected to run from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove along the waterfront in the next decade, is one step, but they also need a network of safe trails to connect different parts of West Van.
"We look at the fabulous Spirit Trail that North Van (partially) completed quite some time ago, and we're wondering where ours is," West Van resident Joannna Tremblay asked council.
On the other hand, commuter cyclists, some of whom travel daily to downtown Vancouver, want fast routes, not scenic paths with families on morning outings.
The "polar opposite" of opinion on encouraging people to leave their cars at home has made transportation planning difficult, said West Van's CAO Grant McRadu, adding the district is trying to address both sides in its plan.