Accomplishments

BEST’s Accomplishments:

Central Valley Greenway

In 2001 BEST won the first annual $1 million VanCity Award for our innovative Central Valley Greenway project.  The Central Valley Greenway is a proposed 22 km multi-use pathway linking the False Creek Seawall in Vancouver, through Burnaby’s Central Valley, out to the Fraser River in New Westminster.  This award has allowed BEST to work with regional, municipal and other NGO partners to realize this dream of a first class facility for non-motorized transportation connecting east-west through he Lower Mainland.  Creating greenways in urban areas is critical to the conservation of the natural environment.  By linking parks, natural areas and green space to improve wildlife habitat, increase natural diversity, and restore waterways, greenways are a means of linking the natural environment to everyday life in the city.  In particular, they offer a safe, convenient and fun transportation alternative to the motor vehicle.

Transportation Policy and Planning

Since 1991, BEST has led the call for dramatic improvements to transportation policy and planning in the greater Vancouver region, and across Canada.  Through policy, consultation, research and communications, BEST pushes for better urban planning, cleaner air, and sustainable, equitable and efficient transportation systems.  BEST’s contributions to transportation policy reform are respected by decision-makers, community leaders, local and regional media, and members of the public.  Our positions and presentations are well-prepared, practical, credible and forward thinking.   BEST helped win the following successes:

  • Separate price freezes on monthly transit passes (2002) and concession fares (2005);

  • Restoration of cuts to BC’s Senior’s Bus Pass program;

  • Allowing bicycles on Sky Train;

  • Doubling of regional cycling budget ($3M/yr in 2005 to $6M/yr in 2007))

  • Introduction of U-Pass – discount transit pass for university students (2003-2004 results: 35% and 53% increase in transit use to UBC and SFU);

  • Introduction of regional parking tax to fund transit program (starting 2005)

  • Planning and construction of bike lanes on eight downtown streets (starting 2003);

  • Improved bus service and accelerated procurements (starting 2003 to 2007).

BEST has also provided critical input to these key transportation initiatives and processes:

  • Successive TransLink Transportation Plans [2000-2004]: including regional transport funding proposals, transit fares, service changes and improvements;

  • Vancouver-UBC Area Transit Plan [2004-05];

  • Cool Vancouver plan for city-wide greenhouse gas emissions [2004-05]

  • Vancouver’s Downtown Transportation Plan [2002-03]; ;

  • The Canada Line;

  • Federal Transportation Act Review [2001]; and Sustainable Development Strategy [2002];

  • The B.C. Transport Alternative Investment Act [2002];

  • 2010 Winter Olympic sustainable transportation legacies;

  • Federal Urban Transportation Showcase [2003] proposal for Vancouver Region.

  • Many local project planning initiatives: e.g. road design, transit service and amenities, cycling and walking facilities.

Stakeholder Involvement

BEST’s presence in the community has grown tremendously since 1991.  BEST is consistently invited to participate as a stakeholder in key transportation planning bodies.  Representatives of BEST have contributed to:

  • Cool Vancouver Task Force (City of Vancouver)

  • Vancouver-UBC Area Transit Plan (TransLink & City of Vancouver)

  • Livable Region Coalition

  • Smart Growth Canada

  • Smart Growth on the Ground

  • BC Cycling Coalition

  • Better Transit and Transportation Coalition

  • Vancouver 2040 Transportation Stakeholders Advisory Committee

Awards

In 2004 BEST was thanked for helping to ensure a better future for Vancouver by being awarded The City of Vancouver Mayor’s Environmental Award, in recognition of BEST’s sustainable transportation programs.

In 2001 BEST was awarded the City of Burnaby Gold Environmental Star for our work with the Willingdon Corridor Transportation Management Association (TMA).

Since 1999, BEST’s youth program has worked with schools and young people to change attitudes and circumstances so that youth increasingly walk, cycle, take transit, ‘board, ‘blade or carpool.   The purpose of our work in this area is to realize benefits to young people such as improved health by way of decrearsed air pollution and increased active living, ane enhanced individual safety through safer streets. In October 2000, BEST’s off ramp project was presented with an award as a Best Practices: Education & Youth by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in Vienna.  BEST’s materials, expertise and advice continues to be requested world-wide.

Publications

In the spring of 2003, BEST completed our four-year long Street Reclaiming Project and produced the guidebook “How to Reclaim your Street:  A Community Guide .  The guidebook assists neighbourhood groups in their efforts to address local traffic concerns such as volume, speed, safety and loss of community.  Through facets such as neighbourhood organizing, celebration, art, community designed streetscapes, direct action strategies, and individuals reducing their own car use, the Guidebook helps people become active participants in finding solutions that help them rediscover streets as places to build an engaged, healthy and connected community.  You can find the Guidebook at: www.best.bc.ca/streets/welcome.

In the fall of 2004, BEST published an innovative and exciting information booklet called “Healthy Communities and Active Transportation”.  This extensive document outlines the links between urban design, transportation choices and levels of physical activity and health.  The booklet lists key principles and policies to create healthier and more active communities, with specific recommendations for planners, politicians and community leaders.

Through our STAR program, BEST has developed a volunteer driver manual for agencies and their volunteer drivers and Keep Moving!  Older Driver Assessment and Mobility Planning.


Milestones

Transportation Demand Management

In March of 2002 BEST held Canada’s first National Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Conference. TDM is very similar to BC Hydro’s Power Smart Program. In the same way TDM strategies are designed to encourage people to be more efficient about how we use transportation in an effort to reduce demand so we don’t have to keep building more roads. Less cars, less roads.  The conference brought together over two hundred transportation professionals, elected officials, planners and Go Green Co-ordinators for three days of networking and practical workshops. One of the outcomes of the conference was to begin discussions around the development of a formal Canadian Transportation Demand Management association to provide continued networking opportunities in this field.

Another outcome was the launch of BEST’s Building TDM Capacity Project.  In 2003 BEST completed our Building TDM Capacity project.  Through this project BEST helped the pilot communities of Nanaimo, Prince George, Victoria, Whistler and Greater Vancouver significantly increase their capacity to deliver TDM programs and enter into larger policy discussions around sustainable transportation.  BEST is thrilled to have been able to share our knowledge and tools with others, and in return, to witness the growth in awareness around TDM in these communities, the capacity of our partners to deliver TDM programs, and to gain new experience and knowledge ourselves.

Campaigns and Events

What began as Bike Week in 1997 grew into Bike Month in 2000, BEST’s annual cycling education and awareness raising campaign.  Today Bike Month includes more than 75 events, with 17,500 participating.  A 2004 Lower Mainland region-wide survey showed that more than 700,000 adults recalled seeing or hearing information about Bike Month, and mose significantly, over 120,000 were encouraged to ride a bike more often.

Since 1997, BEST has coordinated the Commuter Challenge in Vancouver’s lower mainland.  The Commuter Challenge is a national annual campaign that focuses public attention on the air quality, human, and environmental health issues of transportation through education, and raising peoples’ awareness about their transportation choices. It is based on a fun, friendly competition among organizations, encouraging as many employees as possible to take alternative forms of transportation to their workplace throughout Environment Week in June.  Businesses can showcase their investment in corporate responsibility and the environment, and create fun challenges with other business to further recognition and increase employee participation and morale.  Over the last eight years BEST has observed a great increase in participation rates, companies’ enthusiasm and understanding of the program, and a long-term commitment from many organizations to adopt sustainable transportation practices throughout the year.  In 2004, more than 9,000 individuals participated.

Few activities that affect climate change can be potentially altered as easily as engine idling, which is why from March to October 2004 BEST held an Idle Free Workplaces Campaign.  Most people don’t realize that idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than turning off their engine and restarting it again, or that frequent restarting has little impact on engine components such as the battery and starter motor.  Yet having motorists turn off their engines when parked and waiting in their vehicles not only reduces CO2 emissions, but also reduces harmful emissions that impact local air quality.  The Idle Free Workplaces Campaign researched and educated businesses on the benefits of implementing an Idle Free workplace.  In addition, the campaign educated the general public through an ‘I’m Idle Free’ recognition campaign that identified drivers who are helping to change attitudes towards sustainable transportation by shifting their driving behaviours.  Participants included the City of Vancouver and many surrounding municipalities, BC Ferries, Novex Couriers, taxi companies, and the Albion Fraser River Ferry Crossing.

Workplaces

Since 1997, BEST has delivered TransLink’s Go Green Choices, a work place program that helps to make environmentally responsible commuting options an easier choice for employees.  This was the first , and many other In the Lower Mainland, over one third of trips to work are less than five km in distance and a large majority of these trips are made in single occupant vehicles.  Through GGC, BEST continues to work with employees and employers to shift those figures by providing convenient, environmentally sustainable commuting options.  The Workplaces program staff are regularly invited to participate on several regional and national committees and to assist other non-profit organizations by sharing their experience and knowledge in TDM, Commuter Challenge and strategies to address climate change.

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