Alternative Transportation Evening report


We watched a series of 5 short videos on alternative transportation subjects, including bus rapid transit, walking school buses, city-wide “smart bike” systems, electric vehicles, and even skateboards and canoes. With a few stunts of the “don’t try this at home” variety!

Then we had coffee and decided which three of the suggested five breakout subjects we would discuss. We broke up into three groups:

  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Better use of Cars

(the two we left for a later date were Public Transportation and Giving Up Your Car)

Here are the ideas discussed by the groups:

Better use of Cars:

Car sharing – one car shared by several people. Might be a group of people who buy a car as a group, or a pre-existing car owned by someone who agrees to share it. Good for occasional trip needs. Works best if the car sharers live close together.
Car Pooling – regular shared rides, often by a group of people who work at the same location or locations very close together. Might work best for mill or hospital employees, or people who work at the various business around the mall. Could encourage an employer to sign up for a sub-site at the Jack Bell Ride-Sharing website (see below) which non-employees could also use.
Ride Sharing – like car pooling but including ad-hoc sharing of rides at irregular times, like organized hitch-hiking. Members post available or wanted rides on a website or bulleting board. A requirement to have a verified name and address on file for each member could help with security concerns. Membership cards? Can work well for short local rides or rides via ferry to the Island, Lower Coast or Vancouver. Can also have regular “pickup points” where those wanting a ride can wait for a ride-providing member to pass and pick them up. Needs a critical mass of people to work really well, like Freecycle. There is a BC-wide site which can be used:
Jack Bell Ride-Share for BC:
Nelson has a ride-sharing site specifically for their area which we could base one on:
Anti-Idling campaign – could be a public education campaign (“social marketing”) and/or request to Council for a bylaw restricting idling time. Not face-to-face confrontation as most people are not comfortable with that.
Car Co-op – like the Co-operative Auto Network as established in Vancouver. They even have a car in Comox but it might be expensive for individuals here to join just to take advantage of that. Maybe we could be a satellite of their co-op? Co-op reduces cost of car use and takes cars off the road as people don’t need to own one. Can work well for low income people if they can afford the membership fee. Zip car is a similar but for-profit organization. Low density in small towns like Powell River make it hard to get car co-ops started. However, Nelson BC has one – see


(Some public transport ideas got included here)
Walking School Bus: Henderson school in Townsite seems the most likely to be interested as they don’t have a (motorised) school bus. However non of us has small kids anywhere. Probably needs to be a project coming from the PTA and/or school staff.
Walking map of Powell River – showing trails, shortcuts etc
Separate bus passengers and smokers at the North end of the mall where people wait for buses. Perhaps paint a line on the ground outside the doors showing how far away smokers should be?
Bus access to the Complex
Better pedestrian safety around the mall area. RCMP says that there are more walking/car accidents around the mall area than anywhere else in PR.
Mass walk event around the mall/parking area: invite councillors and mall management: show them how dangerous it is. Involve seniors groups, mom/child groups, people in scooters (scooter suppliers e.g. Medi-chair?). Maybe spring 2010 when the weather gets better again.
Hydro pole line route as alternative transport corridor for biking/walking. Need to be separate from current ATV/dirt bike trail to avoid conflicts and accidents.
Rural bus should terminate at the same place as the others, to improve linkage.


Bike paths or bike lanes

  • Separation from traffic
  • Also for walking
  • Make space for lanes by disallowing on-street parking on Joyce Ave in town
  • On the highway, bike lanes should be the other side of a ditch or over the ditch (like near Roberts Creek)

Safe storage / bike racks / locks provided around town (eg at City Hall)
Bike Advocacy Group – promote ideas to various levels of govt
Bike Fair – Include…

  • 2 bike shops
  • RCMP
  • Safety
  • Innovations
  • Rain gear
  • Bike swap
  • Maybe combine with Eco-Fair that TPR is proposing to run in Jan/Feb 2010

Community Bike Resources

  • CRC toolkit available
  • Repair clinics
  • PRACL bike repair/training centre, employment for PRACL clients and others, use bikes that RCMP passes to PRACL

SprocKids project
SprocKids teaches people…

  • how to mountain bike – 55 skills over 4 program levels
  • how to maintain your bike
  • environmental stewardship
  • trail safety and trail building

(Is there some kind of a street-riding program equivalent to this? While any kind of bike-riding training is good, riding safely in traffic is a skill of its own and the SprocKids program seems to be off-road focused)
Comfort / Elder-Friendly bike event or tour showing that riding doesn’t hae to be hard work

Bike Map

  • color-coded for elevation change, points of interest
  • tourism help produce
  • include bike lockups / bus stops / bike shops

Load-carrying Devices for Bikes – trailers, panniers, baskets, brackets etc.
Find local bike clubs and connect with them – ask Frank at Suncoast Cycles
Courses on bike repair at VIU / Brooks / (Rec Complex?) – could Frank teach?

We tried to identify projects which could be carried out without “official permission” or grant money, to increase out public visibility and to get concrete actions moving. Best bets for this seemed to be:

  • Walking – mass walk around the mall area to highlight safety concerns
  • Biking – now – research and publicise biking resources (local bike clubs, load-carrying devices, existing trails, existing bike rack locations, CRC toolkit.
    Later: include Bike Fair in proposed eco-fair in Spring 2010
  • Better use of Cars – ride sharing could be started with a simple website or use of existing Jack Bell website

September 12, 2009 · Kevin · 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Event Reports

2 Responses

  1. Kaimana Wolff - September 18, 2009

    HI, Kevin et al,

    Would Transition Powell River be interested in staging a showing of the film “The Age of Stupid” in conjunction with Immanence Mag at the brand new/old Cranberry coffeehouse set to open soon? The darned film should be cheaper by then.

    Immanence is becoming a sort of club interested in promoting public-spirited events in addition to putting out a mag..

    Btw, how about a brief article desciribing Transition PR? Toot your horn. We’re publishing in a few days.

    Eva van Loon

  2. kevinw1 - September 18, 2009

    Hi Eva, yes, we’d be interested in getting the Age of Stupid here. Not sure how much cash we could contribute as we are very much bootstrapping at the moment.

    Corey has an article from us for this issue – so yes indeed, we’ll use Immanence to toot our horn!

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