Opinion

Editorial: Plan steers city in right direction

Nanaimo’s new transportation master plan is all about foresight.

This week, city council adopted the city’s first transportation master plan – a road map of goals and strategies to help guide decision-makers over the next 25 years.

The big aim is to get more people to travel any way but car by creating more convenient public transit and complete roads with sidewalks and bike paths. By 2041, the city hopes to double the amount of people using sustainable travel. It’s a commendable goal and civic leaders should be applauded for taking the initiative to plan ahead.

While some may argue the plan isn’t aggressive enough when it comes to getting people out of their vehicles, it’s a good start and there’s no reason why we can’t continually revisit these targets.

The City of Nanaimo needs to make neighbourhoods more walkable. Improvements should be made to make it easier for people to bus, walk and cycle over the short-term. It’s also important to put the infrastructure in place to support sustainable travel in the future when there could be more people prepared to park their cars.

There isn’t the incentive to abandon automobiles yet. It’s more convenient to drive than to take public transit and Nanaimo residents can still boast about short commutes and affordable parking.

But as the population grows, gas prices rise and traffic becomes more congested, people will consider alternatives and having the right infrastructure in place will help them make the shift. It’s a proactive way of dealing with these sorts of issues, rather than trying to react to future transportation hang-ups.

It’s going to take time and investment, but this plan has the potential to drive the city in the direction it wants to go.

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