Saturday, October 29, 2011

Deb Walters, mayoral candidate Pitt Meadows 2011

1. What modes of transportation do you normally use within your community and within Metro Vancouver?
Sadly I use my vehicle as my number one mode of transportation.  I do use the Sky Train and West Coast Express on occasion to travel to Vancouver and I also walk on cycle for exercise...but not often enough.

2. How would you support and encourage cycling for transportation - for people of all ages and abilities - to promote healthy and livable communities?
Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge have a Bicycle Advisory Committee that meets on a regular basis; this allows council and staff to communicate directly to the cycling community.  By design we include bike lanes in our road networks and do a good job to accommodate cyclers in our community  We encourage local businesses to provide bike racks and support the bike storage on public transit.  I support and encourage bike to work week and would like to see cycling promoted more through the schools.

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 do support separated bike lanes and as mentioned above, I believe we do a good job including them in our road networks.  By providing jobs close to home, cycling will become an option for commuting.  Businesses and schools should be encouraged to offer bike storage and shower facilities for those who chose this mode of transportation.

4. 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.?
Of course getting folks out of their cars and onto bikes not only helps to improve ones health but also improves the environment, the spin offs are massive.  Less traffic congestion, reduced gas emissions, healthy individuals are less taxing on our health care system, the list goes on and on.  However Pitt Meadows does a very good job to encourage cycling, by providing bike lanes on our road networks, our dykes serve as a route for recreation and by the availability of biking trail maps for residents and visitors.  I would encourage senior levels of government to support the need to invest into cycling programs through out the province and country.

5. 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 don't know enough about this program to properly comment on it.  It seems to me that this type of program would be most beneficial in the larger municipalities that are served well by transit such as Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey.  

6. What role do you think the municipality has in supporting and promoting cycling education for children, cyclists and motorists?
Education is the key to change!  As mentioned earlier I don't feel we do enough through the schools to get kids cycling or walking for that matter.  Too often we see parents dropping their kids off a school in a vehicle when they are only a few blocks away.  Municipalities can get the messaging out through social media (web pages, face book, etc) and even news letters.  But the key is to educate and change habits.  I believe teaching our children is the first step.

7. 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?
What can e-bikes mean for less densely populated suburban communities like Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows?
I am seeing e-bikes more and more throughout the community.  I think they are a great alternative to cars and also to folks who simply can't or won't cycle.  E-bikes provides convenient  and safe mode of transportation.  An excellent alternative for those who are unable to drive a car or ride a conventional bike.

8. Would you be interested in joining members of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition on a bike ride through your community?
Yes, I would be interested.  I am not sure that I would be able to keep up with experience riders however.

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