What is Active Transportation?

    Active transportation infrastructure refers to the physical structures and the built environment that support active transportation, such as pathways, bike lanes, multi-use trails and widened sidewalks. The most effective active transportation infrastructure provides a complete network that allows users to safely move through their communities and between destinations, from main streets to schools, parks, public transit hubs and residential neighborhoods. Active transportation methods include a variety of methods whereby you are using your own power (human power) to get from one place to another and includes:

    • walking
    • biking
    • skateboarding
    • in-line skating/rollerblading
    • jogging and running
    • non-mechanized wheel chairing
    • snowshoeing and cross-country skiing (in winter cities 😉)

    The focus of active transportation methods continues to evolve and now include power assist modes like electric bikes and scooters.

    Why do a Regional Active Transportation Plan?

    The Cowichan Valley Regional District's (CVRD) electoral area transportation system relies heavily on the private automobile, with approximately 90% of commuting done via personal vehicles. This auto dependence is responsible for generating 76% of our greenhouse gases in the unincorporated areas, compared to 58% provincially (BCGov, 2010). 

    In 2020, the CVRD Board of Directors approved the Cowichan Valley Regional District Strategic Plan 2020-2022. An objective of this plan includes the need to support development and use of alternative transportation opportunities within the region, including "develop and implement a framework to identify, prioritize, and fund active transportation infrastructure”.

    Will this plan incorporate the work being done in the four Municipalities within the CVRD?

    Yes! We are working closely with our municipal partners. Coincidentally, all of them are currently working on active transportation plans, or policies, or have adopted plans in the last couple of years. You can visit their plans in the links below.

    Why don't the residential neighbourhoods in the CVRD’s Electoral Areas have sidewalks?

    Municipalities have authority and responsibility for their local roads, and also have the authority to make additional improvements such as installing sidewalks and planting boulevard trees. Within the Electoral Areas across the CVRD, however, it is the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure who is responsible for local roads, not the Regional District. Local roads in Electoral Areas maintained by the Ministry to the provincial rural road standard which applies across Province and does not include a provision for sidewalks.

    Is the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) involved in the development of the Regional Active Transportation Plan for the Cowichan Region?

    Yes! The MOTI is an important stakeholder in developing this plan. The Provincial Highways Ministry is the road authority responsible for all public roads within the region’s 9 Electoral Areas (the municipalities within the region are separately responsible for their local roads).

    What is the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that is assisting in the development of the plan?

    The TAG is made up of technical representatives from each of the four member municipalities within the CVRD (Municipality of North Cowichan, City of Duncan, Town of Ladysmith and Town of Lake Cowichan). Additionally, technical representatives from MOTI and BC Transit also participate on the TAG. The mandate of the TAG is to provide technical advice as related to their jurisdiction with developing the Regional Active Transportation Plan.

    Who are Project Champions?

    Projects champions are identified community members/representatives who advocate and share a passion for active transportation. These individuals are valued for their enthusiasm and desire to assist with creating interest and engagement with communities across the Cowichan Region in developing the plan.

    Can the E & N railway corridor within the Cowichan Region contribute to opportunities for development of active transportation routes?

    The CVRD has an agreement with the Island Corridor Foundation which permits development of ‘rail with trail’ adjacent the existing tracks within the rail corridor. Sections of the Cowichan Valley Trail are in place along the corridor as ‘rail with trail’ between Chemainus and Ladysmith, as well as the Friendship Trail ‘rail with trail’ in Duncan/North Cowichan and the Shawnigan Lake Rail with Trail. These “rails with trails’ provide for important linkages with development of a Regional Active Transportation network for the Cowichan region.

    Has horseback riding and carriage riding been considered in the development of the Regional ATP?

    Although horseback riding and carriage riding takes place across the region, this plan is focused on planning and developing roadside infrastructure that supports human powered modes of transportation.

    With further rounds of community engagement under development for the Regional Active Transportation Plan, will there be options to engage in non-virtual ways?

    Pending any new public health orders, it is the intention to expand community engagement during the next round in spring to include in-person activities. If you have any additional questions or issues you need to discuss sooner, you can contact the project staff whose contact info is provided under the ‘Contact Us’ section on the website. Stay tuned for more details as there will be further engagement this spring!