Going Green

Updates and behind the scenes information around our environmental initiatives, projects and programs, including wildlife mitigation, biking, Adopt-a-Highway and more.

You Asked, Minister Todd Stone Answered: BC on the Move Twitter Town Hall

You Asked, Minister Todd Stone Answered: BC on the Move Twitter Town Hall

It was a busy night here at Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure headquarters in Victoria for the BC on the Move Twitter Town Hall, hosted by Minister Todd Stone (Nov 17, 2014). With your help, we covered a lot of the issues that matter to you, and which will be taken into account during the development of the 10-year transportation plan. The #BContheMove tweets were flying fast and furious, so we’ve collected all of the minister’s responses to your questions in case you missed anything. We’re also pulling together the questions the minister wasn’t able to get to during the town hall, and we’ll be working to have those answered as soon as possible. We heard many good comments and suggestions, all of which will be considered during the planning process. Big thanks to everyone who took the time to tweet.   Read more ideas from this conversation: As...

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8 Whys for Regulating Commercial Ridesharing and Other Passenger Transportation

8 Whys for Regulating Commercial Ridesharing and Other Passenger Transportation

There has been a lot of discussion about commercial “ridesharing” companies like Uber and Lyft operating in some cities in North America. What does it all mean – and what’s at stake? But first of all what is commercial ridesharing? Commercial ridesharing is an arrangement where for profit, taxi-like services are provided by private drivers, using technology like smartphone apps. GPS is used to connect drivers with people seeking transportation, and payment is made online. The B.C. government regulates the commercial passenger transportation industry, which includes commercial ridesharing companies, operators and drivers, to help ensure passenger safety, protect consumers and provide a reliable and stable business environment. (Please note that Uber and Lyft do not have a Passenger Transportation Licence to operate in B.C. at this time) Here are the rules and rationale for regulating commercial passenger transportation services… The B.C. Passenger Transportation Act requires that: 1.     Any vehicle...

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4 Paths to Protecting Painted Turtles in the Creston Valley

DSC_6031

Gravel and sand with a sunny southern exposure… If you were selling real estate to Western Painted Turtles ready to lay eggs, this would be a hot property. However, the saying about “location, location, location” holds true for turtles as well as humans. When a perfectly warmed gravel and sand pile is a road shoulder alongside a well-travelled route like West Creston Road, this is a risky nesting spot due to road maintenance work like shoulder grading. To protect Western Painted Turtles and their eggs from an untimely end this summer, the ministry pitched in on a project to keep the creatures away from West Creston Road and heavy equipment. A Cranbrook biologist and two summer students built enhanced nesting areas, put fencing alongside them and studied the results, thanks to support from BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, the Columbia Basin Trust and the Natural Sciences and...

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How We Helped Protect 1000s of Years of BC History on Vancouver Island

Tseycum Pay Bay Restoration (6)

Recently, along the shores of the Tseycum First Nation on Vancouver Island, we worked in partnership with the Tseycum people to prevent a portion of the Patricia Bay beach from eroding and washing out West Saanich Road. But it turned out that road restoration was only a piece of what we accomplished here. We also expanded wildlife and salmon habitat at Wsikem Creek, helped protect and monitor precious artifacts and ancestral remains as well as create lasting relationships along the way. Wait a minute. Did we just say artifacts and ancestral remains? Yep. We did. Many people who walk, bike or drive through this portion of West Saanich Road don’t realize that the road was originally laid over top of an ancient burial ground, and that some of the remains here date back about two thousand years! To help protect Tseycum’s ancestors, we worked with Tseycum’s expert archaeological monitor...

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Keeping Wildlife Moving Along the SFPR

Tracks SFPR

As people drive the new South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) from Surrey to Delta, a whole other world is unfolding around them. Creatures like otter, deer, mink, waterfowl, nesting birds, turtles and coyotes are going about their daily lives seeking food, raising their young and bedding down for some rest. That’s because when we developed the SFPR, to enhance mobility and safety for people, we worked hard to minimize disruptions for other living beings – like birds, wildlife and fish. Animals (like people) move about in their daily business, so during the SFPR’s project design, we looked at where creatures travelled within the area. Then we created or maintained connections for animals to travel to their various habitats. In total, we built 80 fish and wildlife crossings (mostly culverts) below the 40-kilometre SFPR corridor, to keep animals off the road and safe from traffic. Motion-sensors, time-lapse cameras and “track...

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3 Ways BikeBC Supports Cycling in B.C. Communities

North Vancouver Bike Lane

Local governments that want to expand cycling in their areas have until Sept. 30, 2014 to apply for BikeBC funding, in three categories. The funding supports larger and smaller projects, and projects that connect to the Gateway Program Cycling program in the Lower Mainland. When applying for the funding, local governments explain to BikeBC how new cycling lanes, trails and paths will increase physical activity and healthy living in their communities. Gateway Cycling Program funding is available to Lower Mainland communities that want to link to the Gateway Program cycling network. Projects can facilitate better connections to transit, cycling and pedestrian routes. The Provincial Cycling Investment Program contributes to major cycling infrastructure. Find out more at: motcycling@gov.bc.ca. The Cycling Infrastructure Partnerships Program assists with smaller-scale projects, such as bike lanes and paths through municipalities. BikeBC is creating opportunities for British Columbians to cycle to work and school, or for...

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Checking Culvert Choices for Highway Crossing Critters Near Nanaimo

Critters in culverts

                                    If you were an amphibian or reptile, what kind of culvert would you choose to cross under the highway? For us, it’s an important question because the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure wants these critters to use culverts as tunnels, to move safely below highways. We really don’t want them risking their necks (though it’s difficult to identify the neck on a snake or frog) by crossing over pavement. So, we’re testing two kinds of culverts in the Nanaimo area, to see which passage is preferred. The different designs affect the temperature, light and humidity of each culvert’s interior. To find out which culvert the creatures – those like toads, turtles, salamanders, snakes and newts – choose, we’re using cameras to capture their travels. Check out this video and see if...

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Why We Have 5 Big Questions about Solar Roadways

Solar road

There’s been a lot of talk about solar roadways lately, and since we’ve started to get questions about them, we thought we’d let you know where we stand on the issue. The idea of using our roads to generate power sounds great, and we’re eager to see how this technology develops, but at this moment, don’t expect to see solar provincial roadways in B.C. anytime soon. Here’s why. The concept is still very much being researched and tested. The American Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded a test concept brought forward by the company Solar Roadways in 2011. That test was in a parking lot in Sagle, Idaho. It’s now complete, and the company is now looking for funding to move to the next phase of research and testing. A question we’d want answered is how this would stand up to a 26,000 kg logging truck trailer? Ever heard of...

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16 Ways BikeBC is Opening Up the Road for BC Cyclists

Biking BC

“Brains before beauty, wear your helmet!” – Unknown Good advice. I’m noticing more and more people taking up cycling as a way to get out and enjoy the scenery, but one of the most popular reasons is to get their “exercise on” and live a healthier lifestyle. Now there’s going to be a few more options to do that. As part of our BikeBC program, we’re joining with 13 communities to expand and build cycling lanes, trails and paths. They include… Barriere – River Trail Network, Bartlett Road at Airfield Road to Yard Road at Highway 5 Capital Regional District – Rainbow Road (Salt Spring Island) separated bike path Castlegar – 17th Street/Connors Road multi-use separated path City of North Vancouver – 3rd Street multi-use path and bike lane Coquitlam – Glen Drive bikeway bike lanes and shared roadway Coquitlam – Cross town route removal of impediments Spuraway/Mariner intersection upgrade...

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How We Put Driftwood and Debris to Work For BC Highways

Debris

Rugged. Windy. Wet. Wild. If you’ve been to the west coast of B.C., chances are you’ve driven on a highway running alongside the ocean fitting this exact description. While this makes for a beautiful drive, having a highway close to the ocean, like anything else, is not without complications. Take Stories Beach on Vancouver Island for example; in the fall of 2013, we completed a pilot “green shores” restoration project at the beach on Highway 19A, which is just south of Campbell River. The shoreline here was eroding and beginning to creep toward the east side of the highway. Not a good thing. Our original plan was to put riprap in along the foreshore of Stories Beach in order to protect the highway. Rip rap is normally a ‘rock star’ in erosion protection however; in certain circumstances, such as storm season, waves crash off of the hard riprap, and...

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