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78 per cent of Riverites drive to work

Campbell Riverites opt for the comfort of their own vehicle when driving to work more often than their provincial counterparts do – but the city hopes to change that.

The majority of people, about 78 per cent of the city’s labour force, drive to work. That’s slightly higher than the provincial average of 72 per cent, according to a report on city transportation conditions prepared by the city and contractor Urban Systems.

Nine per cent commute to work as passengers while just three per cent take public transit, six per cent walk and one per cent cycle to work.

Not only do we prefer to drive ourselves to work, but we also make shorter trips than the rest of British Columbians. In Campbell River more than half, 53 per cent, of all residents live less than five kilometres from their work place while across the province, 43 per cent of residents have the same luxury.

“As short trips are attractive for walking and cycling, these present opportunities to encourage non-automobile travel for short distance trips,” reads the report which will help the city in re-working the 2004 Master Transportation Plan this year.

The plan, which addresses transportation issues and recommends improvements, is being updated this year in conjunction with the city’s Sustainable Official Community Plan.

The Master Transportation Plan will help the city achieve a sustainable transportation system.

The existing plan already recommends that, where possible, main roads (Alder, Highway 19A and Dogwood) be designed as bicycle routes in order to accommodate commuter cyclists. It also suggests adding bicycle lanes on these streets by altering vehicle travel lane widths. The plan further recommends an annual budget for cycling infrastructure and any new downtown developments provide secure bicycle parking. It also suggests creating cycling routes on 16th Avenue, Island Highway south of Dogwood, Maple Street and Ironwood Street.

The document also suggests the city make better use of public transit as it “offers competitive travel times and reduces overall environmental and community impacts of vehicle transportation.”

BC Transit will initiate its own planning process for Campbell River while the Master Transportation Plan update is ongoing.

“The transit strategy in the MTP update will be intended to provide direction to the city and BC Transit regarding the long-term needs of the community with respect to transit services,” says the report.

Suggestions so far include re-designing the transit exchange at the Community Centre so it’s not isolated by traffic movement and adding an additional stop and shelter at the north east corner of the parking lot along a new extension of 13th Avenue.

It also recommends shelters, benches and lighting at all bus stops; increasing service frequency to 20-30 minute headways on all routes during peak periods. The report acknowledges that most transit routes run about once an hour throughout the day which is unattractive to riders.

The Master Transportation Plan is being updated with the help of the public – an open house was held Nov. 17 to gather input and a survey was circulated for a two-week period in November.

The plan is expected to be complete by spring.

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