Looking to make Ladner less dependent on cars

Students seeking feedback on greenway plan

Ladner is a community designed around automobile dependency, but that can be changed.

That's the vision of university students Alex Gaio and Aaron Meier, both Delta Secondary grads, who came up with the Ladner Crosstown Greenway Bike Route Concept. It's a series of potential bike/walk paths connecting East Ladner with the rest of the community.

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The pair came up with the proposal in response to the Fraser Health, Coastal Health and UBC My Health My Community survey that suggested a strong correlation

between health and active transportation, but found Delta is a community that sees lower than average walking, cycling and transit use, while having above average car use. Gaio and Meir say there is a great opportunity to promote healthier lifestyles by providing safer walking and cycling connectivity.

Their concept can be seen on a website they set up at alex.gaio.me/ctg/that also includes an online survey and petition. They were confused by the lack of transportation choices for students and wanted to explore the option of improving mobility, so decided to gather feedback from residents.

Saying they haven't made a presentation to the Corporation of Delta, Gaio told the Optimist they're hoping to eventually get the engineering department to explore the feasibility of the potential route alignments once input from locals has been gathered. "We put those ideas out there as a catalyst to start a conversation," he explained.

Gaio said they'd like to eventually see a plan in place that would create a bike and walk path connecting Ladner to a new multi-use path that will be constructed in Tsawwassen, a partnership announced this summer between the Tsawwassen First Nation and provincial government, as well as the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge, although those discussions would be further down the road.

"My primary goal for now is to help increase transportation choice in Delta and hopefully improving public health as a result," he added.

Gaio and Meir pitched their idea at a meeting of the HUB Cycling South Delta Committee, getting, as expected, a positive response.

The committee's Patrick Thompson said the time couldn't be better to start planning for safe bike routes that would create connectivity with most of South Delta to the new bridge. Right now, South Delta has a few good pockets of routes but those dots need to be connected, he said.

"It's one of our priorities at Delta HUB and we're in touch with the Massey Tunnel folks because we see that as a gate opening, essentially, with the bridge. Right now the tunnel is a major obstacle," he said.

As far as River Road, he said it has been improved and diverting trucks to the South Fraser Perimeter Road has helped, making it safer for people to cycle to Tilbury, but more is needed.

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