Municipal Candidates endorse cycling and active transportation in Waterloo Region

It’s exciting to see our Municipal leaders lining up to sign the Active Communities pledge support active transportation. It’ll be even more interesting to see how this pledge translates when it comes to approval of the Uptown King St protected bicycle lanes.

Both voters and candidates can take the active communities pledge.

Full text of the press release by TriTAG and Share the Road below!


 

WATERLOO REGION LEADS IN ACTIVE COMMUNITIES PLEDGE

Campaign invites municipal candidates to endorse cycling and active transportation before Waterloo Region residents go to the polls on October 27th.

WATERLOO REGION – September 2, 2014.  Twenty-four municipal candidates from Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo have pledged to support walking and biking in their communities if elected, more than all other Ontario municipalities combined. In the wake of recent opinion polls that show growing support for measures to promote cycling, this Ontario-wide campaign is asking candidates in the upcoming October 27th municipal election to back policies that support cycling and other forms of active transportation.

In addition to having the most council and mayoral candidates supporting the pledge, the Region also boasts the first two school board trustee candidates to support safer walking and cycling to school.

“Waterloo Region has recognized and embraced the importance of active transportation, and has shown leadership and dedication to creating more walkable, bikeable and livable communities. The benefits of this approach are becoming widely recognized, a fact that is reflected in the broad support for the Active Communities Pledge amongst candidates for municipal and regional office in the upcoming election.” said Justin Jones, Manager of the Bicycle Friendly Communities program with Share the Road. “At Share the Road we’re pleased to see so many champions for active transportation emerging in the Waterloo Region, and look forward to working with whichever candidates are elected to ensure that all communities in Waterloo Region continue to be provincial leaders in creating healthier, more prosperous and better connected communities.”

The Active Communities Pledge campaign invites all municipal candidates to:

  • Promote active transportation, including cycling and walking, in their community;

  • Support the construction of new projects that serve to make walking and cycling easier and more accessible to all residents, regardless of age or ability;

  • Support their community in applying for a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from Share the Road or, if the community is already recognized as a BFC, work towards achieving the next award level by the end of this upcoming term;

  • Work to ensure that their community supports and contributes to the implementation of the Ontario Cycling Strategy #CycleOn by developing programs, projects and policies that enhance safety, drive tourism, provide economic spinoffs and promote overall health in the community;

  • Support the development of a Complete Streets Policy in their community to ensure that all roads serve all road users in a safe, effective manner;

  • Ensure that their community has a dedicated funding source for active transportation projects to ensure consistent, continuous improvement in the conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

Cycling and active transportation advocates in Waterloo Region and across Ontario are emphasizing that the Active Communities Pledge is about boosting awareness of the issues, not pressuring politicians.

“Candidates and voters know that neighbourhoods and communities that are walkable and bikeable offer a better quality of life. They reduce traffic congestion and cut pollution, boost local retail spend, draw in new tourist dollars, promote a healthy lifestyle for adults and children, and help build a friendlier, more cohesive community,” said Mike Boos, a member of the Tri-cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG). “Active transportation will also be vital to the success of ION rapid transit. Moreover, communities that have focused on building walkable, bikeable places have proven that the long-term infrastructure costs associated with active transportation are much lower than auto-dependent infrastructure, resulting in a lower tax burden for our residents in the long run. This campaign is about increasing public awareness, building voter support, and encouraging our local politicians to make a commitment to bike friendly policies that will benefit our entire community.”

The cities of Waterloo and Kitchener have already been recognized for supporting bicycling and active transportation through Silver Bicycle Friendly Community designations in 2014.

The Share the Road Coalition, which is sponsoring the province-wide Active Communities Pledge Campaign, released a province-wide poll (2014) showing that:

  • 68 per cent of the Ontario Residents said that the provincial government should invest in infrastructure for cyclists to encourage more people to ride their bikes more often. The survey also indicated that:

  • 70 per cent of Ontarians agree that better infrastructure would get more people riding their bikes

  • 66 per cent of Ontarians agree that getting more people on bikes benefits everyone, not just cyclists

  • 89 per cent Of Ontarians support programs that are focused on getting more children to walk and bike to school

For a full list of candidates who have signed the pledge go to: http://www.activecommunitiespledge.ca/see-who-signed.php

The Tri-cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG) is a local grassroots organization advocating for the ability to walk, bike, or take transit in Waterloo Region with dignity. In addition to supporting the Active Communities Pledge, TriTAG is preparing a survey on walking, bicycling, and transit issues for local municipal election candidates, the responses of which will be published in October.

For information:

Mike Boos, Executive Committee Member, Tri-cities Transport Action Group 226-476-1313 ext. 804 or media@tritag.ca

Justin Jones, Manager, Bicycle Friendly Communities, Share the Road Cycling Coalition 416-617-4973 or Justin@sharetheroad.ca