Friday, September 30, 2011

Minneapolis surpassed Portland as most bike friendly city in US

Another example of what happens when politicians take cycling as a way of transportation seriously. Read this article and watch another excellent Streetfilms video about cycling and all its benefits in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Photos GETI Fest

photos of GETI Fest, by Amanda Chow.

Open letter to Mayors MR/PM on Translink's Moving Forward Plan

Dear Mayor Daykin and Mayor MacLean,

The Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Chapter of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition urges you to vote in favour of Translink's Moving Forward Plan on October 7, in order to secure $70 million additional funding for improvements to the regional transportation network, including the restoration of funding for cycling infrastructure from $3 million to $6 million per year,
a key step to the $23 million per year that TransLink is proposing to meet regional transportation goals.

It is essential to focus on improving public transit and cycling. Many people in the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows area are poorly served when it comes to public transportation as well as safe cycling infrastructure, so that many feel they don't have any other option than taking the car. As you both know, our communities don't have a whole lot of options anymore to expand our east-west road network, and if we don't get serious about giving people other viable options, our traffic problems will continue to worsen.

The Evergreen Line will be beneficial to people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and it is a very necessary expansion of the Skytrain network that's already there. Not only will it provide a quicker link for our residents to other parts of the Metro Vancouver area, but it means that more people will be able to use the public transit network, which means less cars on the road, freeing up space for those of us who need to drive.

Maple Ridge has committed to reduce total community greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020, i.e. from 363.776 as of Dec. 31, 2007, to 326,840 tons per year by the end of 2012, and to 252,968 by 2020. This is an very ambitious goal, especially since Maple Ridge is a growing community. For now, Maple Ridge is for the most part relying on its existing Official Community Plan to realize this very aggressive reduction target.

Pitt Meadows has committed to a more modest 13% reduction by 2017 and has put together a Community Energy & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Plan.

Private automobiles are the single largest source of GHG emissions for both municipalities. That is why a focus on transportation is very important to achieve these reductions.

As to the source of the funding for the Moving Forward Plan, we would urge you to continue working with the provincial government to find additional sources to replace the increase in property taxes. This would be an unfair burden to tax payers in our region, who already contribute more than their fair share to a public transit system that severely underserves them. A proper formula needs to be found to ensure that we have a system that fairly taxes the users, but at the same time reflects whether or not viable options are available for the users in the various communities. Any road pricing or vehicle levy should definitely reflect the fuel-efficiency and size of the car.

We should aim for a system that encourages and rewards people for using public transit, cycling and walking, while discouraging the use of the private automobile, but this will only work if the public transit system serves them well, and cyclists of all ages and abilities are provided with safe, convenient and appealing infrastructure.

Kind regards,

Jackie Chow
Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Chapter
Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cycling is Safer with Separate Lanes

Here's September's cycling column in The News:

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are working on an updated transportation plan, including an update of the 1994 bikeways plan. The bikeways plan was based on the assumption that cyclists are safest if they behave as if they’re driving a car. In North America, separated bike paths were for decades considered to be more dangerous for cyclists than sharing the road with cars. Statistics seemed to show that cyclists were more likely to be involved in collisions with cars at intersections when using separated bike paths. Read more...

GETI Fest - VACC Activities

This Saturday, Spirit Square in downtown Maple Ridge was alive with people attending the triple events of BIA Street Market, the Farmers' Market and GETI Fest.
Thanks to all who took advantage of the VACC valet bike parking and stopped by our exhibit to learned how to load their bike on the portable (demonstration) bus rack. The VACC also provided a tent where kids of all ages could use the materials provided to decorate their bikes to later participate in the "non-motorized" parade about the square.
Special thanks to Jackie Chow for her efforts at planning and equipping for the VACC's presentation at the FEST as well thanks to the other VACCers for staffing the bike parking. Also, special thanks to Dave Rush for bringing the bus rack all the way from Vancouver - trailing BEHIND HIS BIKE!

Friday, September 23, 2011

GETI FEST - Saturday, Sept. 24

You may wonder what this is all about: "GETI Fest". What is GETI? It stands for "Golden Ears Transition Initiative". GETI tries to raise awareness in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows about global warming, peak oil and the impact of our continued unsustainable lifestyles on our planet, and help to prepare ourselves for a less fossil-fuel dependent economy. Check out GETI's website to find out more.

This event is one of the many that are being organized worldwide on September 24, under the name "Moving Planet". During the afternoon, from noon till 4 pm, you can wander around Memorial Peace Park, meet some of the people of the various action groups of GETI, see some displays and interactive workshops, and find out more about what we are all doing.

Our local Chapter of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition is one of the action groups of GETI, and we're very excited to be part of this event. We will have a bus rack at the event for people to practice putting their bikes on, so that they won't have to fumble while the bus driver is waiting impatiently.. Between 1:30 and 3:30 we will also have a bike decorating station for the kids, followed by a fun bike rodeo. Of course we will provide a free bike valet between noon and 9 pm, so that you won't have to worry about your bike while you're exploring all the different GETI-groups and the artisan fair and enjoying the live music.

And of course we want cyclists to come out in big numbers to be part of the non-fossil-fuel powered parade, which will take place between 4 and 5 pm! Everyone is welcome. If you can't bring your bike, bring your rollerblades, your dancing shoes or hiking boots, your stilts, your unicycle—anything human-powered. The parade route will be very short: just around the Memorial Peace Park Loop, because this is the very first time that we're doing this. We hope to be able to fill up the whole loop with people. If we can all can make that happen together, we will promise you to make next year's event into an even bigger, car-free street event, with people, not cars, occupying a section of Dewdney Trunk Road!

After the parade, dinner will be served (for meal tickets - cost $8 per person - contact Jackie at, and there will be music and dancing until 9 pm. Fun, fun, fun!

Lastly, but certainly most importantly, I would like to appeal to all the children and youth in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. This is your chance to have your voices heard!  Be part of the parade! Outnumber us old folks, parents and grandparents! So much of this is about YOUR future, and you have to let all of us adults know that we need to listen to you. Tell us that you want us to act NOW and that you want to be part of it! You do have a voice. So be there! On September 24! Please pass on the message.

We would like to have an idea how many people are going to join the parade. So please send an e-mail to to let us know you'll be there. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Fun Family Biking Destination - Golden Ears Cheese Works

Friends Kerry and Lynn Davison and their two daughters, Jenna and Emma have recently opened an amazing little family venture on their property just north of Haney centre near the intersection of 224th Street and Abernathy Connector. After years of planning and construction the family has opened their new "boutique" cheese factory and entered the realm of local "agri-tourism". 
MRPM Cyclist would would like to encourage cyclists of all variety to put a stop at The Golden Ears Cheeseworks on their next cycling itinerary, where one can watch cheese being made, enjoy some tea or coffee along with some freshly baked goods and of course select from a range of hand-made cheeses. Take your tea and coffee outside to their covered patio and enjoy the last of summer warmth. 
Golden Ears Cheeseworks is an example of sustainable agriculture and part of growing, local-food movement. The blog applauds them for their efforts wishes them the best of luck.

While on your Maple Ridge bike tour, also be sure to stop in at the Robinson's Blueberry Smoothie Shack at the east end of 132nd Avenue (near 232nd Street). Choose from an assortment of healthy smoothie drinks or get an ice-cream cone or freshly-baked muffin. Also for sale are bulk blueberries.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Union of B.C. Municipalities will look at highway bike lanes

By Carlito Pablo
The municipality of Delta is suggesting separated bike lanes on highways.
It has submitted a proposed resolution for the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, taking place September 26 to 30, asking the provincial government to “provide parallel routes, physical separation, and safe facilities for cyclists along highway corridors”.
Cycling is permitted on the shoulders of certain portions of provincial highways and bridges.
“It’s a matter of economics,” Delta councillor Heather King told the Straight in a phone interview about possible options for separated bike lanes.
King, who is running for mayor of Delta in this year’s civic election, said that cement barriers are preferred. But there are other alternatives. “They could put like a rumble strip, so if a car was going past their laneway into the cycling path, they would be aware of that,” she said. “But it won’t be a physical barrier. It’s less expensive to do that. It’s least desirable for safety.”
The UBCM resolutions committee has made no recommendation regarding Delta’s proposal. But the committee endorsed for approval a less ambitious resolution submitted by the Sunshine Coast Regional District.
The Sunshine Coast proposal urges the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to increase the frequency of sweeping highway shoulders of gravel and debris as these pose risks to cyclists on bike paths.
Rob Wynen, chair of the City of Vancouver’s bicycle advisory committee, said that because cycling lanes on highways are only delineated by a painted line, they are not very attractive to many two-wheel enthusiasts.
“There is a danger level there, and part of it is they’re just not very well designed right now for cycling,” Wynen, a Vision Vancouver school-board candidate, told the Straightby phone about current highway infrastructure for cycling. “And with providing some separation, it can be much more than just accommodating cyclists. So what I mean with accommodating, it basically means allowing them to use the road but not making it really nice for them…not encouraging them, if I can use a better word.”
View article and survey in Georgia Straight 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Discovery Ride #6 - Grand Opening of South Bonson Community Centre

Join the VACC for a leisurely ride from downtown Maple Ridge to Osprey Village in Pitt Meadows for the official opening of the South Bonson Community Centre. Participate in the ceremonies and tour this beautiful, LEED Certified building which is sure to become the centre of activity for this part of Pitt Meadows.
Riders meet at Spirit Square in downtown Maple Ridge at 9am on Saturday, Sept. 17, ride together to Osprey Village and return on your own schedule.
See you there!!