Remember how quiet the roads were around April of 2020?
It wasn’t exactly a restful quiet, as it was due entirely to vast swathes of the population hunkering down at home, either working or learning from home offices, or laid off.
But the roads were certainly quiet, and the air was shockingly clear and clean for a few months – until we gradually re-emerged.
That sort of quiet could return, to a certain extent, if the B.C. government is successful in one of the key goals in its new climate road map.
The province wants to reduce vehicle trips by 25 per cent by the year 2030 – less than nine years away from today!
That sounds great. Fewer cars on the roads means lower emissions, cleaner skies, and fewer traffic tie-ups for the trips we have to take.
But the big question is, how do we do that?
Premier John Horgan and his team need to give us quite a few more details about how they’re planning to create such a massive shift in our transportation preferences in just a few years.
There are a few obvious levers they could pull. First, it would require a massive increase in public transit, especially buses in fast-growing areas. Transit needs to be cheap, reliable, and pleasant to use.
Second, the government could take over control of density, allowing more mid-rise redevelopment closer to Vancouver and its commercial and office core. A contained urban boundary would give people other options – but development takes time.
Third is less carrot, more stick. The government could make private vehicle ownership more expensive, via insurance, taxes, or congestion charges. Those measures are sure to be unpopular, especially in outer suburbs like Langley.
More than anything, we need to see the details of this plan, and soon. Fewer trips sounds great. But people need to see the road map from here to there.