The Comox Valley Regional District has completed its first ever Active Transportation Network Plan! The Plan identifies priority areas and routes for investment in active transportation infrastructure - helping us to MOVE like a Region!
Read It Here - Active Transportation Network Plan
The Comox Valley Active Transportation Network Plan supports Move. Commute. Connect., B.C.’s strategy for cleaner, more active transportation. The CVRD received funding for this project from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and would like to thank the Province for this support.
Purpose and Goals
Active transportation includes:
- Walking (including people walking with service dogs, people jogging, and people using mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers)
- Cycling (including the use of pedal assist e-bikes, bicycle trailers, etc.)
- Rolling (skateboarding, in-line skating)
- Other emerging modes such as electric unicycles or other personal mobility technologies;
- And can include winter and water focused travel such as snowshoeing and kayaking (however these are not a main focus of this network plan).
Active transportation has many advantages over vehicle travel—such as improved health, lesser environmental footprint, greater affordability, and social benefits on both a personal and community level. It can take many forms and is continually evolving as new technologies emerge.
A key goal of the plan is to improve connections between municipal areas and rural areas in order to create opportunities that will encourage residents to use active transportation on their daily trips - to work, to school, to shop, and to recreation. The plan identifies connections among the CVRD’s Core Settlement Areas – being the municipalities, the rural settlement nodes (Union Bay, Saratoga, Mt. Washington), and K'omoks First Nation lands.
Another key goal of the Active Transportation Network Plan is to ensure safe and accessible transportation options are available and accessible for all residents regardless of age, ability, or income to improve safety, and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions throughout the region.
Connection to Other Projects
Poverty Reduction Strategy
The CVRD is working towards a qualitative assessment of regional poverty in order to develop an action plan that seeks to reduce poverty in the Comox Valley by 25% over the next four years. It will support the Province's TogetherBC Poverty Reduction Strategy and will focus on regional actions, including the role that a multi-modal transportation system can play to level the playing for all residents. The project teams have worked closely to ensure all input related to transportation options are recorded and well-understood. To learn more visit Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Regional Growth Strategy
The CVRD’s Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) was approved in 2010 after much public engagement and participation, and is a shared vision for managing growth and community impacts in our diverse urban and rural neighbourhoods. It is a plan to which the CVRD, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, and Village of Cumberland must adhere, and it outlines policies, goals, and objectives for the region as we look toward the future. Eight overarching goals are outlined in the RGS, and the Active Transportation Network Plan will directly work toward three of them, which are outlined below.
Goal 4: Transportation
To develop an accessible, efficient and affordable multi-modal transportation network that connects Core Settlement Areas and designated Town Centres, and links the Comox Valley to neighbouring communities and regions.
Goal 4 is the foundational piece behind the plan, and outlines connections between specific areas within the Comox Valley that should be prioritized. The goal is to build a transportation network that is accommodating of all transportation types and abilities, and is convenient and effective. Related RGS objectives to this goal that the ATNP will work toward include:
- Objective 4-B: Improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to increase the use of active transportation options.
- Objective 4-C: Develop and maintain an interregional transportation system that efficiently and safely facilities the movement of people and goods.
Goal 7: Public Health and Safety
To support a high quality of life through the protection and enhancement of community health, safety and well-being.
The scope of Goal 7 goes beyond transportation, but nonetheless includes transportation. A well-designed multi-modal transportation plan increases public health and safety in several different ways. By making it easier for people to do their daily errands or community by walking, cycling, or taking public transit, people will walk more, get more fresh air, and be more active. There is also a positive impact on those who do have to drive – more people using active transportation means fewer cars on the road, which means a quicker and safer commute. Related RGS objectives to this goal that the ATNP will work toward include:
- Objective 7-A: Increase the number of pedestrians and cyclists in the Comox Valley.
- Objective 7-B: Increase public education and awareness around the links between population health and land use planning.
Goal 8: Climate Change
Minimize regional greenhouse gas emission and plan for adaptation.
Similar to the goal above, Goal 8 stretches beyond transportation but still includes it. A major contributor to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the CVRD are the use of private vehicles. Walking, cycling, or taking public transportation helps decrease one’s climate footprint and helps all of us work toward a greener future in the Comox Valley. Related RGS objectives to this goal that the ATNP will work toward include:
- Objective 8-B: Reduce GHG emissions created by the on-road transportation sector.
- Objective 8-F: Plan for climate change adaptation.
Board of Directors’ Strategic Priorities
On January 7, 2020, the CVRD Committee of the Whole approved a staff report entitled “Strategic Planning – Key Projects.” One of the key initiatives and projects listed within the proposed 2020-2024 budget is the implementation of a multi-modal integrated regional transportation agreement. The CVRD Active Transportation Network Plan is a first step in coordinating the efforts of the regional district, its member municipalities, the K’ómoks First Nation, and other stakeholder and community groups. Listed as strategic drivers for this agreement are a need for fiscal responsibility, to plan for the climate crisis, and to forge and foster community partnerships.
Province of British Columbia’s Active Transportation Guidelines
In 2019, the Province of British Columbia outlined steps the Province is taking to help communities increase support and infrastructure to facilitate active transportation. The provincial website can be reached here, and outlines funding opportunities, provides educational resources, introduces relevant policies and legislation, and provides tools for further research. The Province can be contacted directly through their webpage for any questions related to the information they provide.