Dear Vernon City Council: don’t kill cycling

Dear Vernon City Council,

If Vernon’s economy is going to thrive, we need to attract young families, professionals, and skilled technology workers to our city.

People relocating to the Okanagan are coming from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. They’re moving here for the lifestyle: beautiful lakes and mountains, great weather, and outdoor activities.

However, they’re also looking for a city with a progressive outlook towards urban design.

Entrepreneur Jeff Judge just relocated his company’s HQ to Chicago because of their cycling paths:

Skilled technology workers [have] employment options in many parts of the country. World-class bicycle infrastructure can be a powerful lure.

Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops are already making concerted efforts to attract tech workers and professionals. For people moving to the Okanagan, how does Vernon stack up?

The City Council in Kelowna is investing significant resources into cycling infrastructure (most notably the Lakeshore Avenue Active Transportation Corridor, which will have separate bike paths between DeHart Road and McClure Road).

Bike friendliness can be a factor in where an individual decides to live and work. In Portland, Ore., where nine percent of downtown workers bike to work, the city surveyed recent transplants to the city who bike in 2009, and 62 percent of respondents said the city’s bike friendliness was a factor in their decision to move there.

If Vernon wants to attract world-class talent, what’s our plan?

I moved to Vernon 3 years ago (from Edmonton) so that I could ride my bicycle to work. I live in East Hill, and rent an office on 30th Ave downtown. When choosing Vernon, I was impressed by the initial investment you’d made into cycling paths. I was hoping to see continued investment in cycling and walking infrastructure.

Vernon could be a leader in good city planning. Let’s make it happen!

Justin Jackson, Vernon, BCRegards,
Justin Jackson

PS: if you care about cycling in Vernon, there’s a meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 (at the Library). It’s being hosted by the Greater Vernon Cycling Advisory Committee.

Here is a statement by one of committee members regarding the purpose for this upcoming meeting:

Over the years we have been instrumental in bringing about some of the changes in bicycle infrastructure we have had in Vernon. The Committee has been more or less inactive for a couple of years now. However, there will be a meeting onNovember 4 to determine the level of interest in resurrecting the committee, or changing it to better fit our current needs. Should we continue to be an ad-hoc advisory committee? Should we strive for better integration with City staff? Should we take a more active advocacy role, perhaps as a cycling coalition, or as a member organization of the BC Cycling Coalition? How do we integrate with other groups such as Ribbons of Green and North Okanagan Cycling Society? We need your opinions!

By Justin

Professional burrito maker.

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