[BTA News] Green New Deal Town Hall Thurs – Support Youth Transit Passes – Good News, Bad News

In this Newsletter:
1) Green New Deal Town Hall Thurs
2) Support universal youth transit passes in Greater Victoria
3) Good News – Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities supports funding shift for transit
4) Bad News – Provincial Government funds highway expansion & delays bus lane completion

1) Green New Deal Town Hall Thurs

Hundreds of communities across the country are meeting to define what a Green New Deal in Canada should look like, and public transit needs to be a big part of the conversation. Please join us on Thursday, May 23rd to be a part of this conversation in Victoria!

As you may have heard a coalition of groups recently launched a campaign for a Green New Deal for Canada, a plan to tackle climate change and inequality at the same time. This means meeting our climate targets by transitioning to 100% renewable energy and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People while creating good jobs and ensuring dignity and justice for all! Eric Doherty, a member of the Better Transit Alliance has published an article in the National Observer about what he thinks must be in the Green New Deal.

Towns halls are being organized across the country the week of May 20 to May 26 to crowdsource ideas for what a Green New Deal for Canada should look like. Volunteers from many groups, including the Better Transit Alliance are organizing the Town Hall in Victoria. Everyone is welcome.

Here are the details
Time: 6:30-9:00 PM, Thursday, May 23rd
Location: The Fernwood Community Centre Gym, 1240 Gladstone Ave.
RSVP and up to date information: On Facebook or the event website

2) Support universal youth transit passes in Greater Victoria

Providing free transit to youth 18 and under is a great way to nurture life-long transit use, and the Victoria Transit Commission will be considering a proposal to do exactly this on June 11. Will you take a moment to write to the Commissioners to support this important initiative?

A top reason to support youth transit passes is to respond to the climate emergency by reducing greenhouse gas pollution. And there are many other important benefits including:
• improving safety by reducing the number of very young drivers (one of the highest crash risk groups),
• less traffic and congestion,
• improving youth access to culture, sports, and education,
• and providing relief for parents by reducing the amount of chauffeuring they need to do.
Higher transit ridership will also help make the political case for improved transit service, including more frequent bus service and completing the stalled Highway 1 bus lane project to the West Shore. Universal transit passes for university and college students have been very effective in building transit ridership in Greater Victoria, and youth transit passes will build on this.

The cost is very affordable, and the benefits are very large. Support universal youth transit passes.

Please write to the Victoria Transit Commission members at victoria_commission@bctransit.com!

3) Good News – Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities supports funding shift for transit

The association representing Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast municipalities passed a resolution that could result in significantly increased transit funding. The idea was initiated by the Better Transit Alliance, and City of Victoria councillors brought the resolution to the convention. The motion reads:

WHEREAS the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premiers of BC and most provinces signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in 2016, endorsing a policy shift that could substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from transportation while funding public transit improvements, including inter-city and commuter bus and rail service;

AND WHEREAS the transportation sector is the second-largest contributor of GHG pollution in Canada, representing 23% of total emissions:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that local governments call on the Governments of Canada and British Columbia to fully implement their commitment in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, to shift investments “from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation”.

The Better Transit Alliance will be lobbying to get this motion passed at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in September.

4) Bad News – Provincial Government funds highway expansion & delays bus lane completion

In April Premier Horgan announced over $85 million in highway expansion projects in Greater Victoria. Highway expansion makes traffic worse (resulting in delays for transit riders) and increases climate pollution. This is more than needed to complete the Trans-Canada Highway shoulder bus lanes from McKenzie to the 6 Mile Pub area, which is the Victoria Transit Commission’s top priority.

In both of the areas where widening has been funded (Sooke Road and Highway 1 in Langford), there seem to be cost effective ways to improve safety without adding lanes for more cars. The Better Transit Alliance will be working to ensure that the provincial government prioritizes transit over destructive highway widening projects.

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Victorians for Transportation Choice letter to CRD re climate emergency

Dear members of the Capital Regional District Transportation Committee

April 23, 2019

Re April 24 agenda Item 5.1 – Motion with Notice: Transportation Improvements on Highway 1 and Highway 14 Corridors

Victorians for Transportation Choice (VTC) is very concerned about the direction of the Southern Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy (SVITS) and related provincial government plans to spend many millions of dollars on road and highway projects in our region. We urge you to support this motion and provide a strong regional voice.

Continue reading “Victorians for Transportation Choice letter to CRD re climate emergency”

BTA Letter to Victoria Transit Commission

Dear members of the Victoria Transit Commission,

re. Priorities and upcoming Victoria Transit Commission workshop

The Better Transit Alliance (BTA) understands that the Victoria Transit Commission will soon be holding an internal workshop to discuss setting priorities for BC Transit. We would like you to consider these points in your workshop and other actions.

Climate Emergency

Our region needs transportation solutions that address the needs of local residents while rapidly reducing greenhouse gas pollution as called for in the Climate Emergency declaration unanimously passed by the CRD. Every investment and decision must be examined to determine if it is going to be effective in reducing climate pollution over the next eleven years.

Continue reading “BTA Letter to Victoria Transit Commission”

Great letter to editor by Better Transit Alliance member

Letters to the editor are crucial for getting better transit. Please consider writing a letter to the editor today!

Times Colonist

March 17, 2019

Re: “$16M OK’d to complete key bus lane,” March 7.

It’s great to see that another small portion of the Trans-Canada Highway will see completed bus lanes in the near future. However, these small pieces of the larger whole are not coming fast enough to address the congestion issues that still exist out to the Six Mile Road area. Continue reading “Great letter to editor by Better Transit Alliance member”

Media Release – South Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy Undermines BC’s Climate Goals

March 7, 2019                      Media Release – For Immediate Release

Victoria, BC – Victorians for Transportation Choice (VTC) challenges the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to align its southern Vancouver Island transportation strategy with BC’s climate action goals, including legislated GHG reduction targets.

Continue reading “Media Release – South Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy Undermines BC’s Climate Goals”

[BTA News] No highway through Sooke Hills Park, Yes to bus lanes! CRD Meeting Feb 27

In this newsletter:
• Invest in transit, and protect the Sooke Hills Park!
• Province foot dragging on filling Hwy 1 bus lane gap
• CRD needs to hear from you – in person or by email
• Electric bus article
• Breaking – Victoria to fund youth transit passes!

Invest in transit, and protect the Sooke Hills Park!

The Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park is part of the Sea to Sea Green Blue Belt, the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) green belt linking Saanich Inlet in the east to Juan de Fuca Strait in the west.

The provincial government wants to build an “alternative emergency” Malahat route through the CRD’s Sooke Hills Park. Continue reading “[BTA News] No highway through Sooke Hills Park, Yes to bus lanes! CRD Meeting Feb 27”

[BTA News] Action Needed: BC Government’s climate plans need a push, from you (Deadline Aug 24)

In this newsletter:
• BC Government’s climate plans need a push, from you
• Help get the Highway 1 Bus Lanes Completed – Write to your MLA

BC Government’s climate plans need a push, from you
The BC Government recently outlined some of their high-level ideas on climate action in a set of discussion papers. The transportation proposal is weak, and incomplete – with more ideas promised later. There are some very good things in these discussions papers, including a vague commitment to increase transit funding. But the government needs a push from you to show there is strong public support for prioritizing transit over urban highway expansion. Continue reading “[BTA News] Action Needed: BC Government’s climate plans need a push, from you (Deadline Aug 24)”

Better Transit Alliance Makes Car Free Day News

Dads find Car Free YYJ tailor-made for Father’s Day
Jeff Bell / Times Colonist
June 17, 2018

BTA Members Sue & Robin take a break at Car Free Day

The World’s Coolest Dad — at least, that’s what his T-shirt said — spent part of his Father’s Day at the annual Car Free YYJ celebration on Douglas Street.
Jason Rolstone and 14-year-old daughter Katie strolled through the growing throng just before noon to get to a lunch date with his parents. Rolstone said he is a fan of the car-free gathering.
“It’s a wonderful event.” Continue reading “Better Transit Alliance Makes Car Free Day News”

[BTA News] Car Free Day Sun June 17 (Volunteers needed!) – Help get the Hwy 1 bus lanes completed

In this newsletter:
• Visit or Volunteer with the Better Transit Alliance at Car Free Day
• Help get the Highway 1 Bus Lanes Completed – Write to your MLA
• Central Saanich Community Association forms Transit Committee
• Write a letter to the editor today!

Visit or Volunteer with the Better Transit Alliance at Car Free Day

On Sunday June 17th (Father’s Day) the Better Transit Alliance will be at Car Free Day on Douglas Street in Downtown Victoria. We would love to have you drop by and chat any time between 11am and 6pm. And we would love it even more if you could volunteer to help out for a few hours. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at bettertransityyj [at] gmail.com. It is fun, and no experience necessary! (The Better Transit Alliance is an all-volunteer organization, without volunteer energy we would not exist). Continue reading “[BTA News] Car Free Day Sun June 17 (Volunteers needed!) – Help get the Hwy 1 bus lanes completed”

BTA Letter to editor in TC – Get bus lanes rolling now

Times Colonist May 19, 2018

Re: “Horgan puts brakes on light rail for E&N,” column, May 16.

I’m glad Premier John Horgan is focused on getting the Douglas Street/Trans-Canada Highway bus lanes completed before moving on to more complex transit projects.

The 24/7 bus lanes on Douglas Street and parts of the Trans-Canada Highway are already under construction. Completing the highway shoulder bus lanes as far as the Six Mile Pub area will be simple, inexpensive and quick. It is a good project, and should not be left half finished.

Now that electric buses cost about the same as diesel buses over their lifetime, bus lanes can provide climate-friendly, quiet, fast and inexpensive transportation. Horgan’s climate action plan won’t be released until the fall, but he should get the bus lane completion rolling today.

Tomorrow he should start ordering hundreds of electric buses.

Eric Doherty
Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria

www.timescolonist.com/opinion/letters/get-bus-lanes-rolling-now-1.23307893