2017 Civic Election Promises

We sent the following election cycling survey to the candidates:

BikeBridge Cycling Association is a local cycling advocacy group that seeks to inspire, facilitate and celebrate cycling as a means of transportation in Lethbridge. We would like to solicit all City Council and Mayoral candidates with a very brief survey to gauge their interest in regards to cycling issues in Lethbridge.

Please see our three short questions below, and reply directly to this email with your responses. We hope to gather all responses by Friday, October 6th at the latest. All responses will be published on our website at http://bikebridge.ca as they are received.

1. If elected, what would you do to make Lethbridge a more cycling-friendly community?
2. The Cycling Master Plan currently has a 30-year timeline for completion. What strategies would you propose to speed the timeline for implementation, in order to make cycling a more viable option for daily transportation in Lethbridge?
3. How often do you ride a bike and for what purposes?

Thanks in advance for your participation and best of luck to you all on October 16th!

For the record…listed below are the responses of those who were elected.

 

MAYOR – Chris Spearman

If elected, what would you do to make Lethbridge a more cycling-friendly community?

a) Continue adding to bike path system in Lethbridge, including a solution for the Scenic Drive Highway 3 bridge ( I have been lobbying the province for a solution to this, its their bridge)

b) Investigate opportunities for additional bike friendly streets similar to what is presently taking place on 7 Ave South

c) Actively engage and seek input from Bike Bridge

The Cycling Master Plan currently has a 30-year timeline for completion. What strategies would you propose to speed the timeline for implementation, in order to make cycling a more viable option for daily transportation in Lethbridge?

a) Identify specific priorities in consultation with Bike Bridge and have them considered for funding in the next Capital Improvement Plan process.

How often do you ride a bike and for what purposes?

I ride a bike for recreational purposes in our parks and on our bike paths about once a week.

 

COUNCIL

Mark Campbell

1. First and foremost I’d like to ask people who cycle what they would see as some things they
would like to implement and talk to knowledgeable people about the most effective ways to see
those suggestions through.

2. First thought is to communicate how beneficial cycling is to our health and to the environment
and perhaps offer some kind of incentives.

3. Sadly, I don’t ride a bike at all.

 

Jeffrey Carlson

1. Continue along the path outlined in our Cycling Master Plan, perhaps pursued more aggressively. Better education programs for both cyclists and drivers.

2. The plan can be accelerated by earlier and larger investment through Operating and Capital Budgets. This would be the appropriate time to bring such initiatives forward for debate.

3. I ride quite often in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. I have to admit to avoiding winter bike travel. Mostly I bike for personal reasons (exercise, entertainment attending events around the city, etc). I have used biking for commuting to and from work, but as my position usually requires multiple meetings in multiple locations around the community, this can be difficult at times. On a side note, my bike was recently stolen from my back yard, so if anyone knows of a good cheap commuter bike for sale.. let me know!

 

Jeffrey Coffman

1. If elected, what would you do to make Lethbridge a more cycling-friendly community?

A) I would encourage City staff to:
a) work directly with cycle organizations, like BikeBridge, to review City policies and procedures that inhibit or deter cycling, and
b) to ensure that all infrastructure decisions incorporate considerations of cycling.

B) I would advocate for cycling communities, to address the opportunities and concerns stemming from a policy review.

C) I would consider making bike racks available in more public locations (parks and recreation facilities), and encourage staff to examine minimum requirements for racks in certain commercial applications.

D) I would support improvements in cycle-friendly wayfinding.

E) I would support accelerating elements of the Cycling Master Plan.

2. The Cycling Master Plan currently has a 30-year timeline for completion. What strategies would you propose to speed the timeline for implementation, in order to make cycling a more viable option for daily transportation in Lethbridge?

I would propose:
A) City Council review the Cycling Master Plan and discuss the “vision” of the document. The current ‘Plan Vision and Goals’ (pg. 4) was developed by the writers of the Master Plan and was not the vision of City Council. The problem with this process is that City Council does not “own” the document, therefore the impetus to advance the timeline presently does not exist. Council needs to establish its own vision and move towards that vision.

B) The estimated cost of Phase 1 Details (pg. 9) are based on ‘new construction’ and do not necessarily consider planned or scheduled maintenance or upgrading on the identified roadways. These Details ought to be incorporated into planned or scheduled road repairs, maintenance or upgrading projects, as they occur. This will use resources more efficiently and effectively, save additional costs and expedite certain plans.

C) The City consult with local driver instructors (AMA, et cetera) to ensure that appropriate programming and awareness is provided to new drivers in Lethbridge, aimed at increasing cyclist safety through driver awareness of local routes, conflict areas and conditions.

3. How often do you ride a bike and for what purposes?

I am a fair-weather rider, with my season being between late spring and fall, mostly for recreational purposes. I have commuted from my home (Southgate) and from the Westside (work), so I understand commuter challenges regarding safety and navigating cycle-unfriendly infrastructure. When required, I will make my journey multi-modal by using transit. I cycle when time and circumstance permits.

 

Belinda Crowson

1. There are many ways we could make Lethbridge more cycling-friendly. Part of this is working with the cycling community to lead community discussions. One discussion we need to have with the general public is to help people understand that there is a distinct difference between biking for leisure and biking for transportation. We need people to understand that biking for transportation, as a form of transportation, deserves the same respect and integration as cars and other types of transportation and that when we look at how people get around our city, we need to look comprehensively at walkability, cycling, roads and streets, transit, etc. Some of this education requires the same type of work done by the automobile industry that made people believe roads were for cars and no one else. This means an advertising campaign (and more likely a guerrilla marketing campaign to keep the costs down) to help people understand why all forms of transportation are important, how people can share the road, etc. We need to look at making videos about appropriate rules of the street that show how the various forms can work together safely. We need to continue to ensure that bike parking is available at the locations where cyclists wish to go. We need to have great maps of good biking roads for newcomers to Lethbridge (biking for transportation maps, not biking for leisure maps which tend to focus on the coulees and those types of pathways). We should also work with partners in other organizations such as Alberta Health Services to promote cycling for the health of our residents.

2. Many other communities are having success with building temporary infrastructure for cycling. Temporary infrastructure can be done much more economically which helps to promote it to all residents. Additionally, the temporary infrastructure can be modified, improved, changed until it works well. Once this temporary testing has been done, then it can be built permanently when it can be afforded and if it has been shown to work. Communities (and we see this in Lethbridge) are incredibly frustrated when infrastructure is built and then needs to be removed or fixed. When infrastructure is built prematurely and then needs to be fixed, it provides opposition a strong speaking point which allows them to show the inefficiencies and why cycling isn’t necessary or why bikes can’t share the road with cars, etc. This adds to the frustration and makes the process more difficult. Temporary implementation would allow us to build strong arguments and build political support. Council and community plans are also likely to be done more quickly when community groups show there is a political will behind it. Projects such as Bikesummer 2005 (done in LA County) where many biking events, presentations, etc. were held to demonstrate how strong the cycling community is are incredibly effective. This ties in with the marketing I referred to earlier. We also know that projects are often sped up when they can show an economical reason for why they should exist. We need to do research and promotions on business opportunities linked to cycling and cost savings to the community related to cycling.

3. While I have many friends and family members who are cyclists (both for leisure and transportation), I currently am not involved in biking.

 

Blaine Hyggen

If elected, what would you do to make Lethbridge a more cycling-friendly community?

As an avid cyclist, I support the Cycling Master Plan. However, I think the plan should be moved ahead quicker than it is currently planned.

The Cycling Master Plan currently has a 30-year timeline for completion. What strategies would you propose to speed the timeline for implementation, in order to make cycling a more viable option for daily transportation in Lethbridge?

Accelerate the Plan.

How often do you ride a bike and for what purposes?

I have a triathlon bike as well as a “mountain” bike. I regularly use them for health, wellness, sport, and recreation.

 

Joe Mauro

1). Bikes and vehicles don’t mix, therefore we need actual dedicated bike streets & lanes. I think we need to start focusing on making some streets one way streets which would allow space to have dedicated painted green bike lanes on those streets. Naturally they would have to connect to our many paths & trails which I believe are fantastic for cyclists; this would allow cyclists to venture throughout our city.

Also for anyone that cycles and requires the need to get on a bus with their bikes, they should ride for free. All of our buses have a bike rack attached for cyclists convenience.

We should also investigate for the not so avid cyclists, something similar to Boston’s Hubway; which is a public bike share system. For $99 per year, in Boston, (you can also buy a day or monthly pass) users can pick a bike at designated stations, use it as needed, then return it to another bike share station. They include a mobile app indicating where all bike stations are and whether or not bikes are available. We use it when in Boston and love it!! This is very convenient to get from one part of the city to the other. I see this as very doable in our city.

2). As in most cases when considering projects in the city, money more than anything is the main stumbling block. The city has been successful in advancing some projects because of receiving grant money from other levels of government. We need to continue that more than ever because with our steady growth and many community needs, taxation alone can’t do it. The other thing we need to be better at is working with and convincing our corporate and business community to commit funds to projects; similar to how SLP stepped up to fill the skateboard need, so our younger residents and others can enjoy that facility. Left up to the city alone, that project was never completed. For years, Wade Galloway came to council insisting this was a project desperately needed; but it didn’t happen until the skateboarders themselves & SLP stepped forward. Unfortunately that’s what it took but it made it a reality!! Finally, we must find ways of making commuter cycling easy and safe throughout the city. The biggest complaint I hear from Westsiders; which is true for me as well; is Whoop Up. For most, it’s just not friendly or complimentary as a path connecting our two sides of the city.

3). I ride my bike quite often and at this time it’s mostly for pleasure. When I was working a 9-5 job where I parked myself behind a desk all day, I used my bike as my mode of transportation. I find it difficult to do now because of my commitments, meetings and appointments so with limited time, unfortunately my car is my mode of transportation. For pleasure, I enjoy riding to Coaldale, Park Lake, other short journeys as well as all the paths and trails in the city. My wife and I take our bikes every time we vacation with our Murano. Wherever we go, we enjoy riding the trails like the famous Hiawatha Bike Trail in Idaho and the many old train trestle paths in BC such as Kettle Valley & the Okanagan Trestles. It’s then when I feel my best; nature & my bike.

 

Rob Miyashiro – no response to date

 

Ryan Parker

1. Continue with the goals of the Cycling Master Plan and suggest the integration of the target of doubling bicycle trips by 2021 in strategic planning for the 2017-2021 term. This may include additional engagement with stakeholders.

2. There are many components of the plan that require time to be built into the existing community. Should grants or funding come available, this could support the fast tracking of cycling capital projects. Other components such as “changing the community’s culture” will take some time and will need the support of stakeholders to continue change.

3. I ride my bike recreational utilizing the pathways for family excursions.