Over the past few weeks, councilors and the mayor of the District of North Vancouver have been wringing their hands over the draft budget. What’s keeping everyone up at night? A tax increase to homeowners that would amount to less than the cost of a small coffee at the local cafe per month.
At issue are the long-planned and important items slated to be axed from the budget. Specifically, a list of developments aimed at making our streets safer for anyone not in a car across the district. The importance of maintaining bike lanes and other non-car routes cannot be overstated. The District of North Vancouver (DNV) is currently considering cutting funding for these essential infrastructure projects, but this decision would have negative consequences for the community’s health, safety, and economic growth.
Investing in non-car routes is vital for promoting public health. Transportation methods such as cycling and walking are effective in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, non-car routes can decrease air pollution and noise levels, leading to a healthier environment for all North Shore residents.
Economic development is another reason to prioritize non-car routes. Research has shown that bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets can increase revenue for local businesses by making them more accessible to customers. Moreover, communities that prioritize all types of transportation tend to attract and retain more young professionals and families, which can contribute to a thriving local economy and higher property values.
Safety is a significant factor when it comes to promoting non-car routes. Dedicated bike lanes provide pedestrians and cyclists with a safe space to ride, and drivers can better avoid crashes with cyclists on the road. By investing in infrastructure that supports active transportation, communities can create a more connected and safer environment for everyone.
Finally, promoting non-car routes aligns with the DNV Official Community Plan’s broader goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. By reducing the number of cars on the road, communities can make a significant contribution to a more sustainable future.
The DNV may argue that the funding allocated to bike lanes and other non-car routes would be better spent elsewhere. However, cutting funding would be a shortsighted decision that ignores the needs of the community. Neglecting non-car routes would limit the community’s ability to grow economically, lead healthy lifestyles, and protect the environment.
Let’s face it, maintaining and expanding non-car routes is critical for the health, safety, and economic growth of the community. The DNV must prioritize the needs of the community and ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to create a safe, healthy, and thriving environment for everyone. Investing in non-car transportation methods is an investment in the community’s future, and it is the responsibility of the municipal government to promote a sustainable and prosperous future for all.
After all, if you own a home in the DNV and can’t afford what amounts to a small coffee per month at a cafe, let me know. We can safely bike to a cafe where I’ll treat you to one.
Greg Robins lives in Lynn Valley with his wife, two teenage children, and big dog Luna. He’s an avid snowboarder, hiker, and all-around community guy. Greg is a graduate of Sheridan’s Journalism program and holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University.