Last year, from October to December, we asked you to tell us what the transportation priorities should be for BC over the next 10 years. We call it BC on the Move.
And you responded. A lot. It was fantastic.
- 44,000 visits to the website
- 12,500 surveys completed
- 100 meetings with 550 representatives of First Nations, local governments, chambers of commerce, ports and airports and various other stakeholders.
- A very busy Twitter Town Hall
- 70 meetings on Vancouver Island by our transportation ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary Jordan Sturdy around the needs of island communities.
First, thanks. Thank you for being a part of the BC on the Move initiative and sharing what’s important to you. The amount of interest and engagement was amazing and only helped the ministry in crafting this 10 year plan.
Second, we heard you. From the thousands of survey responses, the top priorities for you were:
- 95% said keep highways, bridges and side roads in good condition.
- 87% said expand and increase transit services.
- 73% said expand highway capacity and upgrade key highways and bridge to facilitate heavy hauling.
- 72% said enhance cycling infrastructure and improve transportation choices.
- 70% said support regional and small community airports.
So let’s get to it. Here are the 12 key priorities you helped us define:
- Rehabilitating Highways, Bridge and Side Roads
Highlights: major investment to resurface 1,000 kms of provincial highways annually; a 50% increase in bridge rehab funding; up to 30 projects annually to improve provincial side road conditions; up to 20 projects a year to upgrade northeastern BC roads to support the natural gas industry; and a 3 year investment for new and upgraded rest areas.
- Improving Highway Safety
Highlights: a double in funding for a new “Road Safety Improvement Program” that includes avalanche infrastructure, community safety improvements, and the installation of variable-speed-limit signs; investment in intersection safety improvements; and upgrade driver information systems like DriveBC and highway webcams.
- Improving Highway Capacity and Reliability
Highlights: A big investment ($1 billion) over the next 3 years to upgrade our highway network, including: Highway 1 from Kamloops to the Alberta Border, Highway 97 in the Okanagan Valley, Highway 3 Crowsnest, Highway 5 Yellowhead, Highway 97 Cariboo Connector, Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland Highways, and Northwest BC Highways #16, #97 North and #2.
- Delivering a Provincial Trucking Strategy
Highlights: upgrade and replace bridges and overpasses to accommodate heavier and larger loads industry needs to move, including 10 major bridges in the interior and northern BC; streamline permitting and reduce the number of truck permits required; and construct 10 new truck-inspection pullouts throughout BC.
- Investing in Transit
Highlights: provide BC Transit $312 million in operating contributions over the next 3 years; work with local communities to replace half of BC Transit’s fleet (about 500 busses) over the next five years; and work on a design to extend the Douglas Street bus lanes from Tolmie to Uptown in Victoria.
- Investing in Cycling
Highlights invest $18 million over the next 3 years to build new bike lanes and trails; and widen shoulders, double the frequency of sweeping and implement safety improvements on provincial highways in areas with large amounts of cyclists.
- Investing in Airports
Highlights: invest $24 million in the new BC Air Access Program, which will help community airports access millions in funding over the next 3 years; and support development of the aviation industry near airports.
- Enabling Efficient Ports and Rail
Highlights: invest in infrastructure that helps access to ports and increase container handling capacity and continue to work with stakeholders to determine how best to support Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities.
- Sustaining and Renewing Ferries
Highlights: continue to pursue strategies to achieve a vision of an affordable, sustainable, and efficient coastal ferry service, including support BC Ferries’ move to LNG, alternative technologies such as the new cable ferry to Denman Island, and its new reservation system; and continue to renew inland ferry assets.
- Building Partnerships with First Nations
Highlights: partner with First Nations on projects that support economic development on their lands; and help with more employment and training opportunities for First Nations through our ministry’s major projects.
- Improving Accessibility
Highlights: upgrade rest areas across BC to improve accessibility for persons with limited mobility, including curb letdowns and accessible washrooms; and increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis in communities around BC; and partner with Translink to make additional accessibility upgrades to SkyTrain stations.
- Protecting the Environment
Highlights: invest $6 million over 3 years to conserve habitat and improve fish and wildlife protection; invest $3.9 million over 3 years to deliver invasive plant management programs; and continue to invest in transit and cycling programs.
Of course this is just a summary of some of the highlights from the BC on the Move plan. If you’d like all the details and actions to come, check out the full report. We’ll also be adding to this blog any future announcements that fall under our 10-year transportation plan.
BC on the Move updates:
- Stanley Park Causeway Safety Improvements – a $7-million commitment toward improving pedestrian and cyclist safety along the causeway, including widening the pathways and installing safety fencing on both sides of the causeway. Plans and designs for this project include input from the Vancouver Park Board, the City of Vancouver, local First Nations, a variety of stakeholder groups and the public.
- Upgrades for Wembley Road in Parksville, including 1.2 kilometres of shoulder widening on the west side of Wembley Road from the Parksville city boundary to Wright Road; installing a new cross walk, with lighting, at the Roberton Boulevard intersection; and widening existing bus pull outs along the corridor. These improvements will help with access to Parksville-Qualicum Beach
- Vancouver Island Improvements – assess the potential for a future interchange on Highway 1 at McKenzie Avenue to address the “Colwood Crawl” with preliminary engineering work already underway; design work to extend the northbound Douglas Street bus lane from Tolmie Avenue to Uptown Mall; widen the shoulders on Highway 14 east of Sooke; and plan to deliver key highway safety improvements in locations such as Highway 4 west of Port Alberni and the Malahat corridor on Highway 1. We’re also looking at the costs and benefits of an alternate connection between the Island Highway and Port Alberni, to improve mobility for motorists.
- Nanaimo Highway Improvements – dual left-turn lanes on Highway 19 in Nanaimo (also known as the Nanaimo Parkway) at two key intersections, including: constructing a second southbound left-turn lane on the Nanaimo Parkway at the intersection with Jinglepot Road and Mostar Road and at the intersection with Jinglepot Road and Third Street, and constructing a second through lane on the east side of both intersections, changing the signal timing at both locations.
- New Cariboo Connector 4-Laning Going to Tender – project to four-lane Highway 97 between Stone Creek and Williams Road is going to tender, and includes replacing the Red Rock CN Rail overhead. This will also increase the height clearance to 5.5 metres, improving the CN railway alignment and allowing greater clearance for larger trucks and loads. This project is the next local project in Phase 2 of the Cariboo Connector.
- Sande Avenue Intersection Improvements on Highway 16 – at the intersection of Sande Ave. and Keith Ave., traffic signals will be installed, and a new eastbound left turn lane and improvements to the right turn lanes will improve traffic flow and the intersection’s ability to handle more traffic.
- Highway 97 at Monte Creek Safety Improvements – in spring of 2015, vehicle-activated LED arrow signs will be installed at both the north and south ends of the corridor to guide drivers around the curves; pedestrian signs outlined with LEDs will be installed at the south end by the Monte Lake RV and Campground, illuminating to warn motorists that pedestrians may be walking along or crossing the highway; and speed-reduction pavement markings will be installed on the curve at the north end of this section of Highway 97 near Paxton Road to act as a traffic-calming device that creates an optical illusion for drivers through the curve, which in turn leads them to slow down.
- Boosted BikeBC Funding – This year, the BikeBC cost-sharing program will receive $6 million in funding help local governments expand and build cycling lanes, trails and paths. To be considered for funding, those BC governments must describe how the projects benefit their communities and how they contribute to increased physical activity and healthy living, as part of their active community plans. We’ll also be looking at how a project can increase tourism cycling. The deadline for applications is May 15, 2015 and local governments can apply online at:www.th.gov.bc.ca/BikeBC
- Highway Resurfacing Kicks Off with Three Coquihalla Projects – a 25-kilometre stretch of the Coquihalla Highway northbound will be resurfaced from the Logan Lake Interchange to the Afton Overpass. Southbound on the Coquihalla, a five-kilometre section will be resurfaced from the Afton Overpass to Inks Lake Overpass. In the Merritt area, there will be resurfacing of a 10-kilometre stretch of Highway 5 between the Coldwater Interchange and Comstock Road, and 38 kilometres north of Hope, resurfacing will take place from the Snowshed Hill north to Coquihalla Lakes. Approximately 14 kilometres of highway northbound and 16 kilometres southbound will be resurfaced. The Britton Creek rest area will also be resurfaced.
- Better Access to Highway 1 in Langford – as a result of partnership between the Province and the City of Langford, a new southbound off-ramp at the Leigh Road Interchange on Highway 1 and a new southbound acceleration lane from the Westshore Parkway onto Highway 1 will be constructed. The whole project is anticipated to run from summer to fall 2015.
- Cariboo Connector Quesnel Four Laning – work is underway to four lane Highway 97 between Dragon Lake Road and Quartz Road south of Quesnel, to improve safety and mobility along this important corridor. Completion on the project is anticipated for late summer 2016.
- And More!…to keep up with all the latest BC on the Move-related announcements, check to the BC Newsroom.