When you cycle in New Westminster you see transportation issues through a different lens. Factors which affect a cyclist’s safety and mobility can be very different that those affecting trips made in a vehicle. In addition the vision and understanding of civic politicians towards cycling issues can greatly influence the quality and level of cycling in a community. One need only look at Vancouver and Victoria which have long had pro-cycling agendas from politicians of all political stripes. These cities have experienced a significant growth of cycling mode share and popularity over the past decade. In some recent cases –how to best implement cycling infrastructure– has become a significant discussion point within the election campaigns of the leading candidates.
The New Westminster Chapter of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition has been active in the Royal City for more than 10 years now. Our organization advocates for safe, attractive and effective cycling infrastruction in the City, promotes cycling and awareness of City cycling routes to cyclists and potential cyclists and provides services for the education of youth and adults on safe and responsible cycling practises through programs in the schools and community centres. As advocates for cyclists we work with City Council to encourage the completion of a viable and safe cycling network which can be used by people of all ages and abilities to enjoy healthy, community-friendly and congestion-free transportation as they move about the City. More recently we have been working through local schools to promote cycling education to elementary and middle school students in New Westminster.
With this in mind the VACC-New Westminster has circulated a questionaire to the Mayoralty and Council Candidates as well as the candidates for school board in order to gauge their experience with and vision for cycling as viable and common mode of transportation within the City. As transportation is one of the dominant issues in the New Westminster campaign it is noteworthy to see the levels of interest and understanding shown by candidates in the broader spectrum of transportation choices.
The VACC-New Westminster hopes this survey might provide some guidance for voters in deciding who to vote for on November 19th.
The VACC-New Westminster thanks all those candidates for civic office who took the time to respond to our survey questions.