Province green lights new round of funding for safer roads

Press Release

May 30, 2023

VICTORIA – People in communities throughout B.C. will benefit from additional investments toward safer roads through a second year of Vision Zero grants.

“Safe and equitable road access for all road users is critical to the well-being of people in rural, remote and Indigenous communities,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “That’s why the Vision Zero in Road Safety Grant program is so important. By supporting local road-safety improvements, we can help prevent injuries and save lives, while making active transportation more accessible in our communities and preventing burden on the health-care system.”

More than $1 million in grants has been distributed to 59 B.C. communities this year. Projects include improved crosswalk infrastructure, traffic calming, speed-limit reduction pilot projects, speed-reader boards, improved lighting, road-safety planning and more.

Organizations receive as much as $20,000 per project. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provided $600,000. The regional health authorities contributed additional funding to maximize the number of applications funded within communities.

The funding is provided through regional health authorities to local governments, Indigenous communities and governments and non-governmental organizations, such as school districts and road safety advocacy groups, to support them to plan and implement projects that will directly improve the safety of the roads in their communities.  A dedicated stream of the program is for Indigenous communities and governments to set and direct their own road-safety priorities.

“Vision Zero grants are making roads in rural, remote and Indigenous communities safer for everyone who relies on them for school, work or to visit family,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Projects like improved crosswalks, traffic-calming measures and safety planning help prevent dangerous driving, giving people confidence and keeping communities safely connected.”

Vision Zero is an international best practice in road safety. By adopting Vision Zero, the Province is committed to action to decrease deaths and serious injuries on B.C. roads. Making roads safer for all users also contributes to:

  • helping address the disproportionate number of traffic injuries faced by under-served communities and in Indigenous communities;
  • reducing health-care system usage, lowering health-care costs and improving health-system capacity by freeing health-care space when injuries are prevented;
  • building capacity in the public-health system in an area of injury that represents one of the two largest sources of trauma presented at British Columbia emergency departments; and
  • supporting provincial climate change efforts by shifting people to lower-carbon forms of transport, such as walking, cycling and micro-mobility (e-scooters, e-bikes, etc.), and by taking specific steps to make these modes safer and more attractive.

Road injuries and deaths are a significant cause of health-care system usage and impact patient and health-system capacity, while resulting in more than $300 million in direct health-care costs each year.

This is the second year Vision Zero grant funding has been provided provincewide. In its inaugural year (2022), a total of $564,147 was awarded to 32 communities.

Quotes:

Maureen Pinkney, mayor, District of 100 Mile House –

“This funding has helped us create calmer, safer residential streets near our soccer fields. It was the perfect opportunity to act on neighbourhood concerns about speeding traffic and pedestrian safety.”

Sharie Epp, councillor, District of Metchosin –

“We are so thrilled to have received the grant and people are loving the new crosswalk. It makes a huge difference. Just having the crosswalk there makes drivers more cautious and encourages them to go a bit slower.”

Angel Delange, chair, Parent Advisory Council, École Oceanside Elementary –

“After receiving reports of near-misses and situations where, while crossing, a student had to stop abruptly because a driver did not see them in the crosswalk, we were elated when we received the Vision Zero grant. The equipment will help bring awareness to drivers’ speeds around our school and help keep our community of families and learners safe.”

Learn More:

A list of communities receiving funding is available online:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Vision_Zero_Grants_May2023.pdf

Visit the Vision Zero website for more details: https://www.visionzerobc.ca/

For more information about the grant recipients, visit: https://www.visionzerobc.ca/projects

Contacts:

Ministry of Health
Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Media Relations
250 356-8241

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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