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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Feb. 29, 2024

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Vancouver Transportation System Plan open for public comment

By , Columbian staff writer

One of Vancouver’s key transportation documents that guides investments in the city’s transportation system over the next 20 years is open for public comment until Nov. 20.

The draft Transportation System Plan update identifies policies, programs and projects that the city should pursue and examine during the next 20 years. This includes bike and scooter share programs, dedicated bus lanes and Complete Streets, among others.

The document’s core pillars are safety, equity and climate — and all of the items listed in the document advance at least one of them, said Kate Drennan, principal transportation planner for the city of Vancouver.

“We’ve spent the last 100 years designing (the transportation system) for moving vehicles around as much as possible,” said Drennan. With the Transportation System Plan update, “we’re building out the rest of the network for those users that we haven’t been investing in as much the last many decades.”

Drennan stressed that this doesn’t leave car travel by the wayside. Rather, the draft plan emphasizes plugging gaps in the transportation network by making other modes of transportation more viable and investing in more options.

Compared with the last Transportation System Plan update in 2004 — when east Vancouver was rapidly developing and 50,000 fewer people called Vancouver home — most of Vancouver is “built out,” Drennan said.

The challenge now is how to best move people in a constrained space. Solutions include more people taking transit, biking and carpooling and thinking about demand management, driving at off-peak hours, Drennan said.

Today, 19 percent of the city’s land area is right-of-way, the public sidewalk-to-sidewalk land, which presents an opportunity for the city. Wider roads with excess space could be brought into the Complete Streets program, which aims to create a transportation network that is available to anyone regardless of how they commute.

“I think there are roadways where there is excess capacity for vehicles, which is a gift for us because it means that we can reuse and repurpose some of that space,” Drennan said.

The draft Transportation System Plan update can be read and comments can be made at https://www.beheardvancouver.org/tsp.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.