Metro Vancouver Close Up – Surrey Transportation Lectures Deliver Insights to Citizens

Surrey Transportation Lecture Program MVCU from Metro Vancouver on Vimeo.

In Metro Vancouver, in 2011, 14% of trips in the region were taken by transit and 73% by automobile. Surrey is helping citizens understand their transportation choices, and explore ways to offer low carbon priorities.

Surrey Transportation Takes Spotlight in Nine Week Course

The city of Surrey is shedding light on their transportation policies by engaging citizens in a 9-week course about municipal decisions and processes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 5.12.21 PM“The Transportation Lecture Program started here in Surrey 6 years ago,” says Philip Bellefontaine, the City of Surrey’s Transportation Planning Manager. “We wanted to give people the opportunity to have some understanding how the decisions are made behind some of these quite important policy directions that the city has.”

Students Examine Day-to-Day Realities and Long-term Visions

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 5.14.17 PMGuest speakers and city tours expose students to regional policies, day to day operational and management decisions, and long-term transportation visions.

“Tonight we are having the students doing a planning exercise where they are being tasked at designing a road cross section that takes into account light rail transit on Fraser Highway,” explains Bellefontaine.

In six years, the course has welcomed more than 150 students.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 5.17.32 PM “So I am a transportation engineer myself,” says course participant Michael Ge. “So you know they’re talking about transportation, so this is what I do on a daily basis. And I’m quite new to Metro Vancouver area, so this is great for me to understand Surrey and Vancouver in general as well.”

“There’s students, there’s commuters, there’s cyclists, cycle enthusiasts,” notes Matthew Littler, who is also taking the course. “It’s really interesting to see all these different views and perspectives.”

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Lessons Learned Gave Surrey Councillor Solid Transportation Foundation

The course has provided at least one politician with valuable insights.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 5.20.16 PM“I didn’t know when I started that I was going to be running for city council, says former course participant and current Surrey Councillor Vera LeFranc. “But throughout the campaign because transportation was such a big issue, I really felt it added some weight to my credibility as a potential candidate for city council. I found it inspirational. I’m now on the Transportation and Infrastructure committees, so it really helped to provide a foundation there as well.”

“As a city we are defined by our growth and our evolution, and a very rapid evolution,” says Bellefontaine. “And this course gives people an understanding that as a city we have changed, significantly. And that’s what makes this course a pleasure to give and I hope really interesting for people to be part of.”

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