Saturday, November 5, 2011

John McKenzie, candidate Maple Ridge Council 2011

1) What modes of transportation do you normally use within your community and within Metro Vancouver?
I normally use my car within Maple Ridge, and West Coast Express for my commute to work everyday.

2) How would you support and encourage cycling for transportation - for people of all ages and abilities - to promote healthy and livable communities?
I used to be on the Ridge Meadows Volunteer Bike Patrols and  know how unsafe some streets are to ride on, like Lougheed Hwy. etc.  I'm in favor of dedicated bike lanes which will provide you with an added amount of safety.  Making it safer is the most important way to encourage people to use their bikes!

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.
Good quality bike racks at all shopping facilities where you can secure your bike and not have to worry about it being stolen is important.  Also if they would have made the sidewalks a little narrower , that would have allowed for a small bike lane on one or both sides of the downtown core improvement project.  But, once again everything is geared to the use of the automobile in planner's minds at city hall! You've got to continually lobby city hall about the benefits of changing this mind set.

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.
Yes, I like the idea of off-road biking trails and would support council dong this.  It will have the economic benefit of encouraging tourism to our community.

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 this funding and feel it should be based on the need to encourage more bike ridership in our city. I'm going to be dusting off my own bike in the future to get the much needed exercise and save on gas!  Just the health benefits to our community alone, would justify this expenditure.  It is also part of the Metro 2040 Plan of building sustainable and healthy communities!  And, it is part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, (PHSA's) document which I gave to city hall about building healthy cities, by promoting such activities, like biking and walking,  in their planning projects.

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 that it is essential that we incorporate a public bike share system into our transit our planning system.  Free bikes to be used by local residents within our city.

7) What role do you think the municipality has in supporting and promoting cycling education for children, cyclists and motorists?
The city has a role of promoting a health society and bike usage is part of that role.  It is part of the Metro 2040 plan and part of the PHSA's building healthy cities education program.

8) 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?
We must try and reduce our dependency on cars, and bikes are one alternative to do this.  Building up our density in the city core is another way; where people can use their bikes to do their shopping instead of their cars.  And, of course making it safer to ride their bikes!

9) 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.  But, I'd have to whip myself back into riding shape.  I remembered how it just about killed me when I first stared rideing with the bike patrols in Maple Ridge.  It took about one month to get into bike ridding shape.  Just ask Derrick Keist of volunteer bike patrols how I was slow to start, but whipped into excellent shape after a year of riding with them!

Thanks, VACC. You are pursuing a noble cause and our planet will thank you for it; even if certain citizen's don't realize the importance of your efforts!

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