It may come as a surprise, until you stop and think about it, that all of us, 100%, are pedestrians for at least some of our travels to work, to shop, to recreate. It is the only mode of transport where that is true.
Walking is also the healthiest, most accessible form of regular exercise for every one of all ages, all abilities. And it is free, with no equipment or specialist clothing costs of any kind.
The City’s Transportation 2040 Plan claims to put pedestrians as the number one priority. But is that true in reality? All we ever hear about are cycling, transit, and cars, each of which is supposed to be of lower priority than walking. The cycling lobby has dominated Vision Vancouver’s thinking, giving them insider status through the ActiveTransportation Committee (ACT). This is true even though the 2% of folks who cycle to work are a tiny fraction of those who walk.
I am certainly not against promoting cycling; that is a far better option than more cars. However, it seems that pedestrians are generally the forgetten ones. We are even mocked and sometimes abused when we complain about cyclists illegally invading the sidewalks and threatening the safety of seniors and children. The police, perhaps under orders, seem disinclined to help in enforcing safety on the sidewalks.
Luckily, the OneCity campaign of R.J. Aquino wants to come to our rescue.
“Walking as a mode of transportation is central to public health, economic development, and social equality and inclusion,” City Council candidate RJ Aquino says. “But in its rush to develop pockets of the city, Vancouver is falling behind other jurisdictions that have made walkable, connected neighbourhoods a priority.”
Aquino and OneCity believe a Pedestrian Advisory Council, based on successful models such as Portland’s PAC, is the best tool to address City Hall’s current stop-and-go approach to walkability … The advisory council will help the city better integrate pedestrian and walkability policies, programs and long-term plans as Vancouver evolves.
Having a Pedestrian Advisory Council is a great idea. Perhaps, to save confusion and overhead, we could meld a PAC with the ACT with the numbers on the Committee reflecting the true balance between those who walk and those who cycle.
Well done OneCity for this innovative and exciting idea!