With the budget being approved in mid-December, it’s time to think about next steps! We applaud the City’s move to implement $100 million worth of active transportation infrastructure over the next budget cycle. This is an investment in local transportation options and recreation that will benefit Edmontonians across the city.
As an advocate for safer, more livable streets, the most imminent you may face is your “super conservative and angry family member,” who is really pissed off about the “100 million dollars for Bike Lanes” in Edmonton. They may not even live in Edmonton, but they’re foaming at the mouth about this. They read an article about it in the Western Standard or something like that.
Here are some tips on how to engage in those conversations over the holiday season.
First, enlighten them!
City council invested 100 million dollars over four years to implement the Bike Plan. That is not 100 million dollars for solely Bike Lanes. The Bike Plan includes infrastructure like shared-use paths, better signage, enhanced crossings at intersections, bike lanes, and much more. It’s important to clarify this, because everybody walks or rolls through their neighbourhood and will benefit from these kinds of infrastructure. Although bike lanes are this politicized thing, everybody can get on board with safer more livable streets in their neighbourhood!
Second, contextualize this investment!
We are still spending billions on roads. By investing 100 million dollars in active transportation and hundreds of millions of dollars in transit over the coming years, we are going to make these other transportation modes more attractive. This will actually create transportation choices! You don’t wake up in the morning dreading your commute in your car, because you can have the choice to drive, bike, walk, or take transit.
Finally, have fun in this conversation!
Ask big questions! Why the heck do we live in a city where the government is basically forcing everyone to drive because it’s the only decent option. Why are you, [name of your super conservative family member], okay with this? Don’t you hate the government forcing you to do things? We should be thankful that we’re starting to make some investments in actually providing people with options so that we’re not just all sheep in our cars.
There’s more in store
Beyond the conversations that you will have with your super conservative family member at the holidays, there will be so much more work to do in implementing the Bike Plan. We will now have more opportunities to advocate for better cycling infrastructure, because we’re actually going to be building it in a cohesive and strategic way based on the planning direction in the Bike Plan. We need to celebrate these changes and work with our neighbours to make this the best it can be.