Friday, October 28, 2011

Carly O'Rourke, candidate Maple Ridge Council 2011

1. What modes of transportation do you normally use within your community and within Metro Vancouver?
I admit I am a guilty driver: I recently bought a Civic hatchback. The last time I biked to work was during Bike-to-Work Week. I walk as much as possible.

2. How would you support and encourage cycling for transportation - for people of all ages and abilities - to promote healthy and livable communities?
I will promote and support cycling to the highest extent, as I truly believe that bicycles are a key part of the solution that can drastically change our flawed car-dependent system. If we provide the safety and networks for cyclists, more people will cycle. We need to consistently send the message that Council supports cycling, and listen closely to the cycling community for their suggestions.

3. There have been many surveys asking people what it would take to get them on a bike. The number one thing people want is separated cycling facilities. How would you support separated bike lanes on key routes? If you are not in support, please explain why.
I would support separated bike lanes on key routes, such as the one ready to go from 216th to Laity. This is an example of current infrastructure that needs to be improved instead of spending money on new roads to service sprawl. I will focus our tax dollars on upgrading the safety of our streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

4. Maple Ridge has no off-road (non-mountain-) biking/multi-use trails and is lagging behind other Lower Mainland communities in this respect. How do you feel off-road biking/multi-use trails can benefit Maple Ridge, and how do you suggest to start developing a network of trails.
I believe a multi-use, off-road trail would be an amazing addition to Maple Ridge, as this type of project will improve the quality of life for our residents physically and mentally. The dyke system that is concentrated in Pitt Meadows is often cited as the number one reason people love to live here. Maple Ridge could certainly use its own cycling trail, and if combatable with horses and hikers, everyone would benefit. I imagine Jackson Farm including a segment of such a trail that extends from Albion to Golden Ears.

5. If elected, would you aim to increase or decrease cycling funding from current levels? Do you feel that cycling funding levels should merely reflect the present level of cycling in our communities, or should it reflect the potential of cycling - not only as a means of transportation and for recreation, but also in view of the many desirable benefits cycling has for individuals as well as for our communities/society, such as health benefits, improved livability, reduced greenhouse gasses/pollution, reduced oil-dependency, reduced need for expensive car infrastructure/parking lots, reduced congestion, etc.?
I would increase cycling funding from current levels, as it is in the best interest of our citizens and their quality of life that cycling in our community increases. As outlined clearly in the question, there are numerous benefits, for the cyclists, and for the community, as more cars will be taken off the roads.

6. What is your level of interest in a public bike-share system integrated with the transit system? How do you think a public bike-share system in Vancouver can benefit Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows residents?
I think a public bike-share system in Vancouver will be extremely beneficial in Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows, so that commuters can bike from Harbour Centre to their workplace. This option would encourage even more people to take public transit into Vancouver knowing there would be a bike available for them.

7. What role do you think the municipality has in supporting and promoting cycling education for children, cyclists and motorists?
Since it is for the benefit of all citizens of that we educate children, cyclists and motorists about the importance of cycling, the municipality should take responsibility for supporting and promoting cycling. We should continue to liaise with the MR/PM Cycling Coalition to see how we can support cycling. I would be interested in becoming the new Councilor liaison (I will cycle more!).

8. a) How do you feel e-bikes can play a role in our transportation system? What do you see as the benefits of e-bikes as compared to cars?
E-bikes can transform our transportation system by enabling more people to use cycling as the best alternative for even longer distances. E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular (20,000 were sold in Canada last year), which makes sense considering they allow for rest periods, especially going uphill. They do not emit carbon dioxide, and only require recharging their battery for an hour, so compared to cars they are much better for the environment and will help to take vehicles off the road and thereby ease congestion and pollution.
b) What can e-bikes mean for less densely populated suburban communities like Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows?
Again, e-bikes would be ideal in our communities because they can become the primary means of transportation for someone going to and from town, even to the rural outskirts. I would like to suggest an e-bike sharing system in Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, so those who cannot afford one can rent it and explore our community a little bit more.

9. Would you be interested in joining members of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition on a bike ride through your community?

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