1) BTA endorses Stefanie Hardman in Victoria by-election
The Better Transit Alliance (BTA) has chosen to support Stefanie Hardman’s campaign for the Victoria City Council by-election. Stephanie has earned BTA’s endorsement by providing detailed and passionate proposals for improving public transit. She states that the climate emergency requires prioritizing public transit funding over highway expansion, and that re-allocating road space to transit lanes to make buses faster and more reliable.
Stefanie is running a strong campaign and has a reasonable chance of being elected. Turnout is low in by-elections, and your vote could make the difference between advancing transit improvements and watching them stall.
Stefanie’s positions include:
- Expanding the free transit pass initiative to low-income households and seniors
- Creating more transit lanes to make buses faster and more reliable
- Supporting BC Transit’s efforts to increase the fleet of electric buses
- Advocating for more late-night and early morning service
- Building additional bus stop shelters
- Actively encouraging the provincial government to prioritize public transit, walking and biking infrastructure over roadway expansion projects in the CRD
See Stefanie’s platform here. Stefanie also provided detailed answers to the Victorians for Transportation Choice questionnaire (note that Victorians for Transportation Choice does not endorse candidates).
Advance voting has started, and election day is Saturday December 12. Find out how to vote!
2) Write to CRD directors today for Better Transit not Highway Expansion!
The CRD’s initial response to the new South Island Transportation Strategy (SITS) will likely be determined at the December 9 CRD Committee of the Whole meeting.
Former Minister Claire Trevena’s introductory letter says the SITS aims for “fewer gas-powered and single-occupant vehicles on the road; more people walking and biking; an increased emphasis on public transportation. . . a bold and lasting change in mobility.” The introduction to SITS states that the “Province recognizes a growing need to fundamentally shift how people move around.”
We support these aspirations for positive change, and believe that the CRD’s response will go a long way towards determining if they will become reality or remain as only words on a page.
The SITS includes clear language about continuing to fund expensive highway expansion projects, which make traffic worse and increase greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. However, there are no funding commitments in the SITS for improving transit, walking or cycling.
The CRD aspires to provide “a strong regional voice on regional transportation matters.” And we would like you to urge your CRD representatives to exercise that strong regional voice in the CRD response to SITS.
A few points you might want to include in your email include:
- The top reason you personally want infrastructure funds spent on public transit rather than highway expansion.
- The BC Transit Victoria Transit Future Plan opposes major expansions of “the road network to accommodate the private automobile.”
- The CRD’s Regional Transportation Plan calls for bold actions to increase transit ridership and reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and asserts that the CRD should lead regional transportation priority setting.
- In 2019 the CRD board voted unanimously to declare a Climate Emergency.
- Redirecting highway expansion funds to develop more bus lanes, walking paths, and cycling infrastructure would make the CRD a more livable and vibrant region while reducing the time people spend stuck in traffic congestion.
- Specific projects the CRD could advocate for include bus lanes and signal priority for BC Transit’s recently announced Rapid Bus routes, and a new transit operations and maintenance facility needed to accommodate fleet expansion including electric buses.
Please send an email to all CRD directors at CRDBoard@crd.bc.ca today! (Please cc us at BetterTransitYYJ@gmail.com)