Letter to CRD Board – Regional Transportation Priorities

May 10, 2021

Dear CRD Chair Colin Plant & CRD Board members

From: BC Sustainable Energy Association Victoria Chapter, Better Mobility Saanich, Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria, Capital Bike (formerly Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition & Bike to Work Victoria), Cities for Everyone, Citizens Environmental Network in Colwood, Climate Justice Victoria, Council of Canadians Victoria Chapter, Greenpeace Victoria Local Group, Island Transformations Organization, Oak Bay Climate Force, Saanich Eco Advocates, Urban Thrive, and View Royal Climate Coalition.

Re 8.4 Identification of Regional Transportation Priorities report – May 12 CRD Board meeting

We support the CRD Transportation Committee’s recommendation “That the categorized priority areas listed in Appendix A be confirmed as amended, subject to clarification of the description of the ‘Highway Safety Improvements’ priority to ensure alignment with the Mode Share targets in the report.” This is a step towards creating transportation infrastructure priorities that are ranked according to CRD criteria including GHG pollution, sustainable transportation mode share, and affordability.

We applaud the hard work that has gone into this report by CRD and municipal staff and CRD Transportation Committee members. However, this report recognizes that the “status quo will not deliver [the CRD’s] mode share targets for several generations” and that a “commitment to change across all priority areas” is necessary (P6). We understand that this is an ongoing process, and expect to see a resolute commitment to change from CRD staff and board members given that the CRD likely cannot meet its climate targets without exceeding its  sustainable mode share targets.

CRD staff has previously indicated that a large percentage of transportation infrastructure spending in our region by the provincial and federal governments is dedicated to highway expansion projects. These provincial and federal funds could be reallocated to projects that better meet the CRD’s multiple objectives. As B.C.’s Minister of State for Infrastructure, Bowinn Ma, asserts increasing car capacity to try to achieve free flow traffic “doesn’t relieve congestion [and] in fact makes things worse.” Having more people spend more time stuck in traffic congestion should not be what the CRD advocates for.

The CRD must not advocate for projects that undermine its own mode share, safety, GHG reduction, and affordability objectives.

Your unanimous climate emergency declaration demonstrated real leadership. We ask that you build on this leadership by taking a ‘failure is not an option’ stance regarding the CRD’s mode share and climate targets in setting infrastructure priorities.

About the endorsing groups:

BC Sustainable Energy Association Victoria Chapter bcsea.org/chapters/victoria

Better Mobility Saanich twitter.com/MobilitySaanich

Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria www.bettertransityyj.ca

Capital Bike (formerly Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition & Bike to Work Victoria) capitalbike.ca

Cities for Everyone citiesforeveryone.org

Citizens Environmental Network in Colwood ColwoodCENiC@gmail.com

Climate Justice Victoria climatejusticevictoria.ca

Council of Canadians Victoria Chapter victoriacouncilofcanadians.ca

Greenpeace Victoria Local Group facebook.com/groups/2006503676272379/

Island Transformations Organization islandtransformations.org

Oak Bay Climate Force facebook.com/groups/oakbayclimateforce

Saanich Eco Advocates

Urban Thrive urbanthrive.ca

View Royal Climate Coalition viewroyal.ca/EN/meta/new/2021-latest-news/building-a-more-resilient-view-royal