City of Surrey adopts new cycling plan
Over the last few years, the City of Surrey has being ramping up its support for cycling and other forms of active transportation. In 2011, Surrey adopted a greenway system plan and walking plan based on a transportation plan that is more focused on giving people transportation choice in the community than previous plans. The cycling plan has four stated goals: making connections, providing door to door service, managing and maintaining the network, and promoting cycling.
The City of Surrey recently increased funding for cycling to 3% of its annual capital transportation budget. To put that into perspective, the Province only spends 0.6% of its transportation budget on cycling. Besides this new increase in spending for cycling-only infrastructure, funding is already in place to build all new arterial roads with cycling lanes. Surrey’s own research shows that 25% of cyclists are regular cyclists that prefer bike lanes, which is what the arterial program will assist with, but there is also a 41% group of people that want to cycle, but have concerns. These people want separated cycling lanes and off-street trails.
One of the ways to get less confident and new cyclists more comfortable with cycling is to offer facilities more separated from traffic. Surrey’s new Greenways Plan identifies a planned network of over 350 km of greenways (multi-use pathways), which are shared with pedestrians, but buffered from vehicle traffic.
It is interesting that Surrey is exactly like Portland where a full 2/3rds of the population will cycle if the right facilities are provided. The City has an impressive vision for cycling, but a vision is just a dream unless it is well funded. I hope that the City of Surrey will boost cycling-only funding to 5% of the total transportation budget in the coming years to help this plan become a reality. The near-term goal of the plan is to complete the links in already existing cycling facilities.
One of the goals for cycling is to provide more end-of-trip facilities. This includes the provisioning of bike parking and even showers at places of work. To that end, Surrey is committing to “expand the public bike rack program with a target of introducing approximately 10-20 new bike racks a year over the next several years within the City Centre, Town Centres and public facilities.” The plan also contains very timid wording on exploring end-of-trip facilities in new commercial developments. Surrey should be bolder and require end-of-trip facilities in all new commercial developments today.
Within the existing cycling network, the City plans to improve the visibility of cycling by installing “Share the Road sings”, improving cycling pavement markings, installing cycling wayfinding, and installing high-viability road markings at dangerous intersections for cyclists. Another important priority is the commitment to actually sweep the bike lanes of debris.
To help promote cycling, Surrey plans to enhance the information in its current paper maps and will also work on developing a mobile cycling app. The City plans to launch a cycling promotion program and make cycling more visible at community events.
Surrey will measure the implementation of this new plan and I look forward to seeing how it progresses. I’m excited about Surrey’s new cycling plan and I hope that the City puts money where its mouth is to make this plan a success.