The District of Oak Bay will begin a review on detailing portions of the nine-year-old Active Transportation Plan as soon as this fall.
The review is one of many initiatives by Oak Bay staff, council, and committees that were delayed by the onset of COVID-19 earlier this year. It came from a Feb. 20 recommendation by the Oak Bay Community Climate Action Working Group that council adopted. It directs Dan Horan, Director of Engineering, and his team to “develop the concept design, establish funding requirements, and develop a feasibility study for completion of the Oak Bay Active Transportation Network by the end of 2025,” prior to the 2021 budget cycle.
The report is expected sometime between October and December.
The reinvigorated assessment of the active transportation plan is supported by the Oak Bay Community Climate Action Working Group which was rushing to prepare five key recommendations in time for the budget, only to have the COVID-19 pause it and most everything in March.
Coun. Andrew Appleton, who chaired the climate working group, noted, “This is going to be the first time that we can sit down as a council and really talk about it and say, ‘OK, this is the resource implications of building this network. And hopefully, we can get to a number [dollar figure], and plan strategically how we’ll do this.’”
By the Canadian government’s definition, active transportation is commuting under your own power – walking, biking, skateboarding and scooters. However, the popularity of small electric-assist motors are gaining in popularity such as ‘e-scooters,’ self-balancing single-wheels (“Onewheel” brand) and e-skateboards.
— Michelle Kirby (@MichelleKOakBay) May 11, 2017
The working group recommendations are centred on reducing Oak Bay-produced greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the living natural environment.
Active transportation became its own line item in the five-year financial plan approved earlier this year. Previously, that aspect was wrapped up in street safety improvements and other infrastructure.
The Feb. 20 motion also stated that “consideration should be given to partnerships with adjacent municipalities and the Capital Regional District.”
Mayor Kevin Murdoch has stated the key to a bike lane network in Oak Bay, which is outlined within the active transportation plan, is contiguous lanes. It’s something Appleton agrees with.
“What has been shown in active transportation implementation in other jurisdictions, where it’s shown to be successful, is you get the best success when you have a complete integrated network,” Appleton noted.
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