While some residents of the Comox Valley were attending a talk by Gwynne Dyer at Isfeld School recently, others were at the City of Courtenay Transportation Plan open house at the Filberg Centre.
While Dyer was documenting the looming crises connected with climate change, consultants to the City were presenting plans for $96 million worth (not including the cost of land acquisition and utilities changes, and in 2012 dollars) of road developments to facilitate increased automobile travel.
While lip service was paid to alternative modes of travel by the heading “A 25-year vision for multimodal transportation,” the only alternative project identified was widening the sidewalks of downtown Courtenay for a cost of $200,000.
While a $5-million addition to the Lewis Centre is built, the neighbourhoods around downtown Courtenay (a potentially walkable, bikable, livable environment if ever there was one) have inadequate bike lanes and sidewalks, and visible, ugly evidence of infrastructure neglect.
While we have had forward-looking presentations sponsored by the City — the Gil Peñalosa lecture on achievable plans for serious “multimodal transportation” carried out in cities around the world being one — the plan offered May 23 would have been visionary in 1913, not 2013.
If we’re serious about “multimodal transportation” let’s see the dollars spent more rationally, and not weighted 96 to 0.2 in favour of the carbon-emitting kind.
You can see the plan (the display boards page is an abbreviated version) on the City’s website. Take a look!