Posted by Marcus Griffith (Contributor) on June 8th, 2010 at 10:16 am
Jackson (Bike Me! Vancouver) at
last night’s council meeting.
(Photo: Marcus Griffith)
Vancouver City Council heard testimony regarding the proposed elimination of Vancouver’s Bike Program from more than twenty bike advocates from both sides of the river during last night’s city council meeting.
Although, the full public hearing and final vote on the draft Transportation Improvement Plan is not until June 21st, advocates seized the opportunity to express overwhelming support for the Bike Program during the general public comment portion of the meeting.
Representatives of Bike Me! Vancouver, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), Clark County Bicycle Advisory Committee, Clark College Bike Club and numerous citizens and business owners made positive, community-centric, fact-savvy statements in support of the Bike Program.
“This has been one of the most interesting [council] sessions… I feel refreshed rather than pummeled.”
Pat Campbell, City Council member
The presence of a BTA representative at the meeting may mark a change in their involvement in Vancouver. A welcomed change by many, including Leah Jackson, the facilitator and de facto leader of Bike Me! Vancouver (she also owns an art gallery on Main Street). “It was fabulous and much appreciated to have a BTA representative here,” Jackson said after the meeting.
Gerik Kransky, BTA Advocacy Campaign Manager, submitted a formal written request for the city to amend the draft TIP to include funding for the Bike Program. After the meeting, Kransky met with local bike advocates at the Brick House pub for an informal conversation regarding Vancouver bike matters. A spirit of constructive team-work flowed during the gathering with only minimal references to the long standing “unwanted step-child” status Vancouver has tentatively had with the BTA.
Bike Me! Vancouver member Seanette Corkil said the goal of their testimony at council was to strike a positive tone. “We wanted to go in [to the meeting] positive, forward thinking and highlighting the success of the bike program rather than be negative and alarmist.”
The positive comments did not go unnoticed by council members who collectively seemed to be at ease and open to the possibility of keeping the Bike Program. “This has been one of the most interesting [council] sessions… I feel refreshed rather than pummeled”, Councilman Pat Campbell stated as the public comment period wrapped up.
However, even Campbell was clear to point out that pragmatic financial challenges facing the City of Vancouver will require budget cuts. “If we get city checks bouncing than it’s not going to help the situation,” he stated.
on-street bike parking.
(Photo: Jennifer Campos/City of Vancouver)
Amendments to the draft TIP face an unwanted surprise. The previously announced $200,000 in uncommitted funds is not quite as available as previously disclosed. “In a sense it’s committed to cost overruns,” Councilman Jack Burkman stated during the meeting. It seems although the funds are not committed to any specific line item, they are being reserved as contingency in case cost over-runs occur elsewhere in the transportation plan.
Even so, city council is listening to community feedback, as noted by Councilwoman Jeanne Stewart. “The benefit of the testimony from those coming forward is learning the level of interest the community has [for the Bike Program].”
Thanks to a great turnout by the community, there remains hope to continue funding of Vancouver’s Bike Program. We’ll keep you posted.
— For more, see this article in The Columbian: Bicycling advocates lobby city for funding.