“Active transportation” is a phrase you will be hearing more about in the coming months and years.
It’s a buzzword that cities like to use as they make changes to their transportation plans that put less focus on cars.
“Active transportation describes all human-powered forms of travel, such as walking, cycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, skiing, canoeing, and more,” reads a description on the site Planh.ca. “Walking and cycling are among the most popular and can be combined with other modes, such as public transit. Some examples are walking to the store or to school, or cycling to the recreation centre.”
The idea is to get people out of their cars and trucks to improve physical and mental health, as well as help fight climate change.
But cities have a lot of work to do to meet these active transportation goals.
Protected bike lanes are one idea that cities are woefully behind on. A couple of white lines do not make cyclists feel safe on the road and so many people avoid taking up cycling.
Even worse are the many sidewalks around Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.
As an example, you’ll see a couple of photos attached to this column of sidewalks that have major structural impediments in them, from light poles to power poles.
I don’t want to pick on Port Moody, but that’s where the photos are from.
“I mean, imagine trying to navigate this if you are in a wheelchair, or if you have vision issues,” said Will Richardson-Little, who took the photos on the north side of St. Johns Street.
Richardson-Little called it a “big FU” from the city of Port Moody.
I mean, imagine trying to navigate this if you are in a wheelchair, or if you have vision issues. Just a big FU from @CityofPoMo— Will Richardson-Little 🛰 (@wwrlittle) October 29, 2020
Too many cities have these obstructions in place. Or their sidewalks are missing curb cuts that make getting on and off a sidewalk easier.
Or those older roads that literally have no sidewalks at all due to terrible city planning from decades ago.
Too many politicians for too long have been obsessed with major road projects, but it’s often the small details that make life difficult for people. Or, in the case of protected bike lanes, dangerous.
So when you hear local politicians and city planners talk about active transportation, make sure they are doing more to get it done.
Chris Campbell is the editor of the Tri-City News. Follow him on Twitter @shinebox44.