FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 3, 2018
K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - The Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) is facing its first major hurdle since it was unanimously passed by regional council last year. Tomorrow, the Committee of the Whole will make a funding decision which could delay a key piece of the plan; a network of protected bike lanes.
Kelsey Lane, Sustainable Transportation Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, says the current recommendation in the Proposed 2019-20 Multi-Year Capital Program Budget puts the IMP commitments in jeopardy.
“The current recommendation cuts out funding for IMP projects. According to the report, if council cannot fully fund their IMP projects, HRM staff will be unable to construct the long-awaited AAA bike network for 2022,” Lane says.
The report acknowledges that opportunities to advance complete streets projects would also be missed if the proposed budget is approved.
According to Lane, the consequences of under-funding the IMP are significant. Since the 2006 Regional Plan, council has been setting goals to reduce single-occupancy vehicles use and achieve 30 per cent combined mode share of walking, biking and transit use.
Yet the trend of automobile use is increasing, creating pressure to build more roadways. That trend comes with a heavy cost – approximately $750 million in future road widening according to an HRM estimate prepared in 2014.
“If we don’t get more people cycling, walking and using transit, we will be shouldering future generations with the economic, health and environmental burden associated with the current trend of increased car use in HRM,” Lane says.
The IMP aims is to shift single-occupancy vehicle use to more cost-effective and sustainable transportation alternatives.
Lane says funding for active transportation and complete streets is needed if HRM is serious about achieving results sought after through multiple municipal priority plans, including the Regional Plan (2006, 2011, 2014), Transportation Demand Management Functional Plan (2010) Active Transportation Priorities Plan (2014), Strategic Road Safety Plan (2018), Integrated Mobility Plan (2018), Green Network Plan (2018).
“We need infrastructure to make mobility easy, convenient and accessible for everyone to get around,” says Lane. “Now is the time to implement the goals we have been talking about for more than a decade. We simply can’t afford to delay the IMP any further.”
For more information, please contact:
Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre