BACCC asked all municipal candidates for their views on environmentally-friendly transportation options, presenting them with these three questions. Views expressed are solely those of the candidates and do not reflect the views of BACCC or its members. All responses have been reviewed to ensure appropriateness and relevance to the questions posed. We encourage you to make an informed decision by researching your local candidates.
Burlington Ward 4 Candidate Shawna Stolte
From the recommendations in BACCC’s Options for Travel report, which would be your top priority to enact to ensure safe, reliable, convenient and equitable transportation options?
In order to meet the targets necessary to reduce our CO2 emissions, as defined in the Burlington Climate Action Plan, we MUST commit the time, staffing and funding resources to ensure improved, safe and maintained infrastructure for Active Transportation. options.
This includes a commitment to “actioning” Burlington’s Cycling Master Plan to increase PROTECTED bike lanes across the City. This commitment needs to include appropriate winter maintenance of this cycling infrastructure as well as providing more education and incentives to residents to consider cycling year round as a viable option.
This commitment by the City of time, staffing and funding resources also needs to include prioritizing our public transportation network to ensure frequent, reliable and affordable transit options. Dedicated bus lanes, priority/advance signals at intersections, increased frequency, subsidized fares and more efficient routes will all serve to entice vehicle owners to give serious consideration to opting for public transportation.
If environmentally friendly transportation options are not convenient, residents will be less likely to choose those options over driving.
What steps would you take to ensure environmentally friendly transportation options are convenient?
Public transit routes need to be designed in such a way as to ensure that vehicle owners believe that they can reach their destination as quickly and efficiently as they would be able to in their own vehicles.
This can be achieved with a robust system of routes that have been well designed to meet traveler’s needs, as well as by implementing priority travel routes and time saving strategies such as dedicated bus lanes and advance/priority signaling that allows transit buses to bypass vehicles at stop lights.
Burlington needs to implement a BikeShare program in order to create and encourage a convenient cycling option for residents who at this point only consider cycling a weekend, recreational activity. With convenient availability to choose cycling by having traditional and electric bikes readily available to rent, Burlington has the opportunity to dramatically increase the likelihood of residents choosing this option instead of driving.
Environmentally friendly transportation needs to be perceived as safe in order to be viewed as a viable option.
What steps would you take to ensure all users feel safe when using all transportation methods?
Safety for cycling begins with truly designated and PROTECTED bike lanes in Burlington. Painted lines on the road does not provide safety for cyclists. These dedicated cycling routes need to be properly signed, maintained and cleared in the winter if we truly want to encourage and support an healthy and safe cycling infrastructure.
Public transit stops need to be fully accessible and clear of obstructed sight lines and foliage. Full lighting, emergency response buttons as well as a particular focus on winter upkeep and maintenance by way of speedy snow removal and sanding to ensure safety at all bus stops, will also dramatically increase a sense of safety in utilizing the public transit system.
Bus drivers are the “stewards” of the system and need to be certified in some level of Emergency Intervention Training to ensure safety on our transit system.