September 23, 2016 - 1:59 PM
VERNON - The City of Vernon hosted a discussion forum on Monday night at the Okanagan Regional Library for members of the community on the topic of skateboards, longboards, push scooters, in-line skates, children aged 12 and under on bicycles and other small-wheeled transportation (SWT) in Vernon.
Sixteen participants attended the forum, representing various stakeholders that included youth, seniors, skateboarders and longboarders, cyclists, members of the Downtown Vernon Association, the Sustainable Environment Network Society, Schubert Centre Society, Teen Junction, North Okanagan Coalition for Active Transportation, Greater Vernon Cycling Advisory Committee and the Transportation Advisory Committee.
The participants were tasked with considering how to encourage the safe use of SWT and make recommendations to the City for bylaws that refer to the use of SWT on Vernon sidewalks, multi-use trails, cycle lanes and roadways. Vernon has a community goal of supporting alternative transportation that results in improved community sustainability and many community-wide benefits through reduced single-occupant vehicle use.
Encouraging all active transportation modes, including SWT, results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved health, access to affordable transportation, increased social interaction, improved road safety, reduced traffic congestion, and reduced wear and tear on roads. Currently, skateboards, longboards, push scooters and in-line skates are not legally permitted on Vernon’s sidewalks, bike lanes or streets. Children aged 12 and under on bicycles are currently required to follow the same legislation as older cyclists, and are not legally permitted to use sidewalks.
The attendees examined issues of safety, courtesy, City resources, existing bylaws and existing infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, SWT users and vehicles. They considered whether Vernon should support and enable SWT as an easily accessible form of active transportation, particularly for children and youth, or if the current bylaws disallowing their use should be enforced. The proposed solutions included recommendations for bylaws, signage and expanded use of City sidewalks, trails and roads.
“It’s wonderful that residents from all walks of life and differing points of view took the time to help develop recommendations for Council’s consideration,” said Amanda Watson, Manager of Transportation for the City. “Once the survey is closed, the next step will be to compile all the information and present recommended changes to the traffic bylaw to Council.”
The survey is still available to Vernon residents until Sept. 25.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016