Creating Merritt’s Active Transportation Plan
The Active Transportation Plan will be developed over the next 6 months and involve 4 phases. Public consultation will be an important component of the overall process. The City is keen to hear from a range of voices so that the final Active Transportation Plan is inclusive and forward-thinking. All opinions are welcome – let’s work together to make our community more walkable, bikeable, sustainable, and dynamic.
| Phase 1 |
May – June
| Phase 2 |
Understanding Existing Conditions
June – July
Online Survey #1
(late June/early July)
| Phase 3 |
Setting Future Direction
July – October
Online Survey #2
Public Engagement Event
| Phase 4 |
Implementation and Reporting
October – December
Engagement for the Active Transportation Plan continues in September and October. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and need for physical distancing, engagement activities are primarily being held virtually through online surveys, webinars and social media dialogue.
Active Transportation Plan Surveys
The project’s first online survey was held from June 25th – July 8th and is now CLOSED. The results can be viewed below:
The project’s second online survey was held from September 25th – October 13th and is now CLOSED.
Please check back often for additional engagement opportunities in the coming weeks and months.
Planning & Development Services Manager
Project Background Information
The City of Merritt is committed to improving walking, biking, and other active mobility options and recently launched the development of an Active Transportation Plan – a first for our community. The Plan will set the foundation for developing well-connected, attractive active transportation networks that are safe, convenient, and user-friendly, no matter what mode of transportation people use.
The Active Transportation Plan will identify specific measures that will allow the City of Merritt to make walking, cycling and other active modes of transportation a more viable and attractive option for commuting, doing business, and recreating. Promoting and providing more opportunities for active transportation can play an important role in enhancing our community’s health, environment, and economy, and ensures community members can safely move in and around Merritt.
As we launch this process, it is important to acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges many people in our community are experiencing. To keep the community safe and to help slow down the spread of COVID-19, all in-person engagement is on hold. However, we still need input from Merritt residents to help shape the Active Transportation Plan. As such, we are shifting the engagement process online and will continue monitoring the situation, taking direction from the Provincial Health Officer. When the time is right, we look forward to meeting in-person and having important conversations about active transportation face-to-face.
What is ‘Active Transportation’?
Active Transportation is basically any form of human‐powered transportation. Walking and cycling are the most popular and well-known forms of active transportation. However, the definition extends much further than that – as long as it is ‘active’, you choose the mode – skateboarding, wheeling, pushing a stroller, accessing transit, in-line skating, using a mobility aid, etc. Active Transportation is any active trip you make to get yourself, or others, from one place to another ‐ whether it’s to work, school, the store or to visit with friends.
What are the Benefits of ‘Active Transportation’?
There are many benefits that come with using active modes of transportation. Those who choose to move actively for their day-to-day transportation maintain a healthier lifestyle through increased physical activity and spend less on transportation costs, reducing the amount of money spent on gas and parking. Having more active transportation options also improves mobility for non-drivers, such as seniors, youth, and low-income residents.
The benefits of active transportation also extended to other road users and more generally, the broader community. For example, active transportation helps to:
- Create more livable communities
- Reduce vehicle-related air pollution
- Reduce traffic congestion for all road users
Why Does Merritt Need an Active Transportation Plan?
Creating opportunities for Merritt residents to walk and cycle has been a priority for City Council for some time. However, the need for safe and accessible facilities has never been higher. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more people walking, as well as buying new bikes, fixing up old ones and riding more than ever before. Now is the right time to start a conversation that will kick start a new way of thinking about how Merritt residents and future visitors travel around our community.
The City’s planning documents, including the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan, and Official Community Plan identify a vision and several policies related to cycling and trails in Merritt. The themes of these policies focus on:
- Preserving and enhancing cycling and walking trails along the Nicola and Coldwater Rivers and connecting to the regional cycling network including the Kettle Valley Railway Corridor.
- Connecting existing trails with neighbourhoods and key destinations within the City.
- Promoting safe and connected active transportation routes in the city centre to provide greater transportation options.
- Ensuring cycling and trail infrastructure is integrated into new developments.
- Looking for opportunities to promote cycle tourism and other ways to promote and strengthen the City’s economy, including revitalizing the downtown.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle by providing active transportation infrastructure and promoting cycling as a form of transportation and recreation.
The City has identified a goal of making active transportation a more viable and attractive option for commuting, doing business, and recreation. The Active Transportation Plan will provide details on how to achieve these goals through infrastructure, policies, and programs.
The direction outlined in the Active Transportation Plan will be integrated into the update to the Official Community Plan which will happen concurrently.