New Program Encourages Residents to Travel by People Power

May 09, 2016

Victoria, BC– The Capital Regional District (CRD) has launched a new program to encourage residents to travel without automobiles. People Power, the Active Transportation & Healthy Communities Program, offers a unique approach to integrate cycling, walking, rolling and public transit into everyday life.

“One of the most cost-effective ways to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions is to encourage residents to cycle, walk and use public transit more often,” says Alice Finall, Chair of the CRD Planning, Transportation & Protective Services Committee. “The 2011 Pedestrian & Cycling Master Plan identified a goal to make cycling and walking attractive for residents of all ages and abilities. The People Power program complements community-led infrastructure investments and data collection programs by engaging, motivating and supporting residents of all ages.”

Delivered with support from the Victoria Foundation and the CRD Traffic Safety Commission, the People Power program offers more than a dozen projects over two years, promoting safe and active travel including:

  • Active & Safe Routes to School Project: To increase cycling, walking, rolling and public transit use among children, youth and their families, this project provides a strategic approach to address infrastructure, behavior, and safety and education needs for schools, districts and local governments. Applications from public schools in School Districts 61, 62, 63 or 64 are currently being accepted until May 13, 2016. Up to 30 schools will be selected for the program in September 2016 thanks to funding from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.
  • Bike2Farm: This project will help 200 youth experience their local food systems on two wheels this summer. Exploring community gardens, edible boulevards, urban farms and grocery stores by bike combines food security education with a fun and safe active transportation experience. Organized by the CR-FAIR Society, the goal of this project is to inspire youth and their families to buy local, eat healthy food and cycle more often.
  • Connecting Older Adults Map: An on-line map and resource for older adults and their caregivers highlighting services, facilities and places for social connection. Standardized map icons denote places for recreation, lifelong learning, volunteering, support groups and social centres and which public transit routes serve these locations.
  • New Routes - Active Transportation for Newcomers: By raising awareness of the benefits of active transportation, newcomers unfamiliar with these activities in Canada will be encouraged to try walking, running, cycling, or public transit. Delivered by the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, in partnership with Bike to Work Victoria, the project will provide bike skills courses tailored for immigrants and refugees and create new multi-modal transportation safety resources in the most common settlement languages.
  • Story Walks: A combination of early childhood literacy, immersion in nature and active travel, this project brings pages of a storybook to life on accessible trails across the West Shore, encouraging walking, wheeling and scooting among the youngest residents and their caregivers. Hosted by West Shore Parks and Recreation.

“Transportation is critical to the well-being of a community,” says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “The 2015 Vital Signs report indicated that transportation was a concern for residents. This program provides targeted support for residents while helping to address other important issues such as safety, environmental sustainability and sense of belonging. We are thrilled to see this collaborative approach between governments, non-profit organizations and health and safety agencies.”

Across the Capital Region, approximately 23 per cent of regional travel is by cycling, walking and public transit. “Cycling, walking and public transit can be safe, efficient and healthy ways to get around. Programs and policies combined with improvements to the built environment can increase safety for all road users” adds Chris Foord, member of the CRD Traffic Safety Commission.

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Celebrating 50 years! The CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24 member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and all levels of government to enable sustainable growth, enhance community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Tel: 250.360.3229
Cell: 250.216.5492