REGINA – When you ask people how they would improve the Queen City’s transportation system, the answers are often focused on what they see from behind the wheel.
In the new Transportation Master Plan, the hope is to shift that thinking and get a few of those drivers off the road.
“The car culture is there. I think we’re just trying to diversify it,” said Felice Mazzoni, Regina’s director of planning.
During peak hours, the document says 85 per cent of people are traveling in cars compared to just eight per cent walking or cycling and only three per cent taking public transit. Other methods such as taxis came in at four per cent.
By 2039, the city wants to change how we travel – planning for 80 per cent of people to drive, 10 per cent riding or walking and six per cent taking the bus.
Roads will still be widened or rebuilt as needed, but blueprints include more bike lanes and off-street pathways. Mazzoni believes the new 25-year outlook for transportation will be more sustainable.
“I think you’ll see a lot more complete streets where streets are planned, designed, laid out and maintained a different way than they are now, at least in a better way,” he said.
Bike Regina called the plan a good first step, but the group has much loftier goals, aiming for a quarter of people to get places by bike during the summer months and making existing roads more welcoming to cyclists.
“There are lots of curious riders out there that say they’d like to ride to work, but they just don’t feel safe on the roads,” said Bike Regina’s Luke Nichols.
As for Regina Transit, ridership has already gone up 16 per cent in recent years – but what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Or rather, an attractive bus system or the demand from riders?
The Transportation Master Plan aims to have 90 per cent of people within a short distance of transit routes with expanded service outside of peak hours.
Mazzoni says this will improve the system with demand expected to follow.
UPDATE: The 160-page document went before Thursday’s public works and infrastructure committee meeting and was expected to be up for city council’s approval on June 22, but was instead referred to executive committee for further review in October.