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New plan aims to make transportation more active in Sidney

Town budgets $100,000 for plan; more funding set aside for north-south cycling corridor
Cyclists such as this person braving the cold along Bevan Avenue in Sidney, stand to benefit from Sidney’s proposed active transportation plan. Town staff plan to submit a request for proposals in late January to create the plan. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Plans for a new north-south cycling corridor through Sidney are set to get a lift through the municipality’s new active transportation plan.

The town’s request for proposals (RFP) for the active transportation plan going out in late January will call for a design for the corridor project described as Resthaven Bike Lanes.

“(Until) the plan is developed, it is challenging to know the optimal route for this cycling corridor,” reads a staff report. “Including this design into the (RFP) will allow the same consultant who completes the (plan) to develop a detailed design for the preferred north/south cycling corridor for easier implementation and future grant applications.”

The municipality has budgeted $100,000 for the active transportation plan and staff expect it to be completed just before March 31, 2023, the deadline set by a provincial program supplying half of the funding. Sidney has also budgeted $80,000 for design and public engagement around the proposed Resthaven Bike Lanes.

The report defines active transportation as travelling from one place to another using human power such as walking, cycling or rolling by other means. E-bikes and e-trikes are included, but not fully motor-powered vehicles such as mopeds and motorcycles.

Active transportation plans spell out ways to make roads and trails safer and more convenient for people to choose walk, cycle and roll.

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“Major improvement projects identified in the plan would require additional technical review, detailed design, and potentially, additional public engagement,” the report reads.

While a popular destination for cyclists from other parts of Greater Victoria, as well as a thoroughfare for cyclists from elsewhere in the province travelling to regional destinations, Sidney – unlike Central Saanich and North Saanich – lacks an active transportation plan.

Previous strategic planning by council identified the development of such a plan as a high priority and authorized staff’s successful funding application in the summer of 2021.

The ongoing review of the official community plan has also revealed strong public support for active transportation. Council has signed off on a key policy direction that says the municipality will prioritize the creation of an all ages-and-abilities cycling network across Sidney.

More focus on active transportation also promises to help Sidney meet its climate change goals. Transportation remains the municipality’s largest source of greenhouse gases, accounting for 56 per cent of total emissions in 2018, with 89 per cent of all transportation emissions coming from on-road sources.

While staff note the importance of shifting toward zero emission (electric) vehicles in meeting Sidney’s climate goals, they also see active mobility playing a critical role in reducing transportation-related emissions.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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