Transportation Choices Sunshine Coast (TraC) says it’s time to build on the idea of Bike to Work Week and make all of May “Active Transportation Month.”
In a presentation to Gibsons council on March 19, TraC director Dave Hawkins said they want to expand the idea from biking to walking, taking transit, using scooters, or driving an EV. “Basicially anything that doesn’t involve one person getting into a conventional internal combustion engine car and driving somewhere – everything else is fair game.”
He also said they want to encourage active transportation for more than just commuting to work or school.
Hawkins said Bike to Work Week is “one week of every day looking the same” with a narrow focus that “only appealed to a small group of people.”
But, TraC isn’t abandoning Bike to Work Week. It will still be held the last week of May, as the culmination of four weeks of activities.
“Now we’re looking to have a month where almost every day something different is going on and the only way we can do that is not to organize it ourselves, but to call on the efforts and collaboration of a lot of people on the Sunshine Coast.”
Hawkins said TraC will be using some of the funding it gets from local governments to hire a coordinator for Active Transportation Month, and the group is hoping the Town, as well as Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast Regional District, will come up with events for staff, councillors and the community as a whole.
Some of the suggestions TraC is making to local governments include creating “pop up” bike lines and establishing temporary car-free zones.
Inspired by Hawkins’ other suggestion that the local governments challenge each other, Mayor Bill Beamish threw down the gauntlet. After pledging to use his bike to ride to every meeting at Town Hall during May, Beamish challenged Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers to use an “active transportation” option as well.
Coun. Stafford Lumley encouraged Beamish, who lives in Upper Gibsons, to be a little more specific about his promise. “He’s going to ride ‘to’ every meeting, which is downhill. I need a commitment that he’s going to ride home.”
Beamish said yes, he’d ride home too and reminded Lumley that as deputy mayor he’d be the one riding to and from any meetings Beamish might have to miss because of other commitments.
Beamish also encouraged youth councillor Jason Lewis to take the idea to his fellow students at Elphinstone, an idea Hawkins also encouraged.
“We have worked successfully with the elementary schools up and down the coast, but the secondary schools have been very difficult to engage,” said Hawkins.
One the practical side, councillors also asked staff to feature a map of safe cycling routes on the Town website during May.