[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”

[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”

Car Free Day: Survey Says…

If you stopped by our booth at our first Car Free Day Victoria on June 18, 2017, then you might have participated in our informal sticker survey. We loved chatting with everyone who stopped by and hearing some of your transit concerns in Greater Victoria- as well as many positive stories of transit experiences in the CRD!

Our (un)scientific survey results are very interesting! Some observations: Continue reading “Car Free Day: Survey Says…”

Where are the 24/7 Douglas / Hwy 1 Bus Lanes Promised in 2008?

The BC Liberals promised 24/7 bus lanes on Hwy 1 all the way to the Westshore “soon” in 2008. In September 2016, the City of Victoria signaled their intention to move ahead with 24/7 bus lanes on Douglas Street up to the Saanich border. “That is where we need to go — 24-seven all the way through the city. That’s when people will say I’m going to get on the bus” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Continue reading “Where are the 24/7 Douglas / Hwy 1 Bus Lanes Promised in 2008?”