From the Vancouver Sun…
VANCOUVER – Premier Gordon Campbell pledged $31 million Tuesday toward building bicycle routes around the province. The announcement brings total spending on bicycling infrastructure by the province to $114 million over seven years.
"We want to provide people with a sense of safety and security" when they cycle, the premier told a news conference alongside the Central Valley Greenway bicycle route.
Vancouver Coun. Suzanne Anton – who has cycled in stages from Canada’s Pacific to Atlantic coasts – said after the news conference that about $250,000 would be used to help make improvements to the Central Valley Greenway route from Vancouver to New Westminster. Work has already begun on the $1.8-million, two-kilometre project on a section between Commercial Drive and Science World.
"When you build a good bike route, people look at it and want to get on their bikes," Anton said.
The $31 million is to be used in shared-costs projects with municipal governments.
Eligible projects include new or improved bicycling lanes or pathways and infrastructure such as bicycle lockers near transit stations.
Campbell and Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon provided a photo opportunity by arriving at the news conference on bicycles.
Falcon said the investment in bicycling infrastructure was necessary "to get people out of their cars and get into a form of transportation that is good for their health and good for the environment."
Cycling enthusiasts were out to support the government’s spending.
Arno Schortinghuis, president of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, said research demonstrates investment in cycling pays off.
He referred to a European study that indicated government savings of $5 for every dollar spent on bicycling infrastructure.
Richard Campbell, a member of the city’s bicycle advisory committee, was also present to support the announcement. He was one of the advocates who lobbied for the creation Central Valley Greenway as a safe route for commuters and recreational riders.
Campbell said the most urgent issue for Vancouver riders is the Burrard Street Bridge with its narrow sidewalks, providing a risky ride or walk for cyclists and pedestrians.
More than 50 B.C. communities have built more than 220 kilometres of bicycle routes around the province with shared funding from the province under the BikeBC infrastructure expansion program.