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Program gets on the road again to help promote safety

May 14, 2024 at 8:46 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People will be safer on B.C.’s roads with another round of support for 56 more communities that will further help prevent serious injuries and deaths.

“The Vision Zero grants go a long way to prioritizing safety and well-being on our roads,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “By investing in innovative solutions and community-driven initiatives, we not only aim to prevent collisions but also cultivate a culture of responsibility and care. Together, let us strive toward a future where zero lives are lost due to preventable road collisions.”

For the third year in a row, Vision Zero grants have been awarded to communities around British Columbia to improve road safety. A total of more than $866,000 has gone to 53 projects in 56 communities, including 22 projects in First Nations communities. Some of the projects will receive as much as $20,000. Over the three years of the grant program, the total amount awarded to B.C. communities has increased by 50%.

Vision Zero is a community-based grant program that will improve road safety through established standards and policies. The grants are provided by the Province through the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional funding top-ups were provided by the regional health authorities.

“Keeping people safe on our roadways starts with building transportation infrastructure that protects vulnerable road users,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “These grants will give communities the funds they need to break ground on projects that will make our roads safer and encourage more people to use active transportation options.”

The funding was provided through health authorities to local governments, non-government organizations (e.g., school districts, parent advisory councils, road safety advocacy groups, etc.) and Indigenous communities to help them plan projects that increase the safety outcomes of vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, roadside workers, etc.) by improving the safety of roads.

By implementing Vision Zero, the Province is working toward making roads in British Columbia safer by preventing vulnerable road user injuries or reducing their severity. This will result in:

  • helping address the disproportionate number of traffic injuries occurring in underserved communities, neighbourhoods and populations, as well as within Indigenous communities;
  • reducing health-care system usage, lowering health-care costs and improving health-system capacity by freeing up health-care space when injuries are prevented;
  • building capacity in the public-health system in an area of injury that represents one of the two largest sources of trauma presented at British Columbia emergency departments; and
  • supporting provincial climate change efforts by shifting people to lower carbon forms of transport, such as walking, cycling and micro-mobility (e.g., e-scooters, e-bikes) and by taking specific steps to make these modes safer and more attractive.

Road-related injuries and deaths are a significant cause of health-care system usage and affect patient and health-system capacity. They result in $312 million in direct health-care costs each year.

Vision Zero grants aim to support B.C.’s Active Transportation Strategy, which includes the goal of doubling the percentage of active, or human-powered, transportation by the year 2030. By making roadways safer for active transportation users, roads also become safer for people using motor vehicles.

Quotes:

Heidi Billy-Greenman, interim health director, Bonaparte First Nation –

“This new trail will be a connection from the past to the present, signifying the healing space the trail once provided to our people.”

Herb Pond, mayor, Prince Rupert –

“This project is helping us tackle one of the busiest crosswalks in Prince Rupert, close to the high school, highway and our only local drive-through. In partnership with the local high school, we’ll be painting curb bump-outs to shorten the crosswalk to make it safer, but the kids will also leave something creative behind that they’ll see every day and can be proud of. It’s a new way of improving road safety for us, and we’re grateful to have funding to support this type of collaborative effort.”

Georgina Knox, vice-principal, Sandowne Elementary, Campbell River School District –

“We are excited to receive this grant as it will allow us to continue our cycling education program for years to come. These funds will be used to purchase bikes and helmets so we can teach all students, including those who may not have access to a bike, biking skills and road safety. It’s about much more than just riding a bike. It’s about equipping young people with the tools for healthier, more active futures.”

Pam Harrison, founding member, Livable Roads for Rural Saanich –

“We were excited to find a source of funds for small but highly effective road safety projects, such as traffic calming. With this grant, matched by the District of Saanich, we are able to take another step toward making Saanich’s Vision Zero goal more attainable including on rural roads such as ours. We look forward to seeing this traffic calming become a reality soon.”

Learn More:

A list of communities receiving funding is available online: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Communities_VisionZero.pdf

Visit the Vision Zero website for more details:  https://www.visionzerobc.ca/

For information about grant recipients, visit: https://www.visionzerobc.ca/projects

For information about Move Commute Connect: B.C.’s Active Transportation Strategy, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/funding-engagement-permits/grants-funding/cycling-infrastructure-funding/activetransportationstrategy_report_web.pdf

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