The Township of Esquimalt has released a report outlining resident and visitor comments from the first round of community engagement, as it continues to prepare its first active transportation network plan.
The public responded to an online survey and interactive map in March and April, while also being able to send in active transportation ideas and concerns. According to the report, Esquimalt’s compact geography makes it one of the most walkable communities in Greater Victoria.
“Despite this, the Township recognizes that there are significant gaps in its active transportation network,” the report stated.
The 30 to 39 and 40 to 49 age groups were the two largest respondent categories, with each representing 30 per cent of the feedback. People’s top motivations for using active transporation included physical or mental health, general enjoyment, reducing their environmental impact and its convenience over driving.
Research found residents have walked and used electric bikes more during the pandemic, while respondents cycled less, which the report attributed to more people working from home.
Respondents also want to see more and wider walkways throughout the community. Vehicle speed was also noted as a barrier to walking.
An interactive map allowed respondents to drop pins at spots where they thought active transportation could be improved. Around 40 per cent of those identified a lack of sidewalks, or existing pathways either in poor condition or too narrow. Almost 20 per cent of the pins used showed road crossings that pedestrians and riders don’t feel safe using.
The report highlighted trends showing that cycling has been increasing in Esquimalt over the past decade, but a quarter of respondents aren’t comfortable riding on major roads that lack painted bike lanes, such as Lampson Street and Tillicum Road. Another 14 per cent aren’t comfortable cycling on major roads that do have painted bike lanes.
Hearing from the public is the second step in the four-phase process.
The public will get another chance to provide feedback this summer before Esquimalt starts to develop its draft plan.
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