The District of Saanich has launched a new initiative to investigate the future of biking, walking and other types of active transportation as it seeks to increase the use of alternative forms of transportation.
Titled Moving Saanich Forward, the initiative consists of various events to raise awareness and generate public input about various modes of active transformation.
The district defines active transformation as any form of human-powered transportation, with walking and cycling as the most popular, well-known forms. This definition also extends to include skateboarding, in-line skating, as well as use of a wheelchair or stroller and mobility aids among others.
Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering, said walking, biking and other types of active transportation offer many benefits.
“We see a growing need for improved options when it comes to how we move around our community,” he said. “The Moving Saanich Forward project will help to meet this need, making active forms of transportation a more accessible and attractive choice for residents.”
According to a district release, walking, bicycling or taking the bus accounts for 19 per cent of all commuter trips in Saanich. Its Official Community Plan has set the goal of raising that figure to 30 per cent in 20 years.
As part of the public engagement process, the district is asking residents to fill out an online survey at saanich.ca/movingsaanichfwd from now until Jan. 24, 2017.
The district hopes to hear from all residents regardless of their preferred form of transportation, because it wants to learn why active transportation matters to residents and what would encourage them to use these options more often. The district will complement the survey with a variety of events and activities.
Results will flow into the final Active Transportation Plan. The district promises that the plan will include policies and actions that would guide investments in active transportation infrastructure and support programs over the short and long term for residents of all ages and abilities.