Community Papers

Sapperton TravelSmart program extended

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A pilot program in Sapperton to encourage residents to get around without using a vehicle has been extended a month to generate more interest.

The Sapperton TravelSmart program was developed by TransLink with support from the city and some area businesses.

The program wants residents to pledge to take one less car trip per week, and let organizers know how they did it. It was set up for the month of June but that's been extended another month to get the word out.

"We haven't had as much participation as we would have liked," said JoAnn Woodhall, transportation demand officer for TransLink. "We're just trying to help people who want to drive less … They have these thoughts but they don't act on them."

Sapperton seemed like an easy choice for the pilot project. It's where TransLink's head office is with easy access to alternate ways to get around.

"We were looking for a part of New Westminster as part of the launch in an area that does have viable options. With the two SkyTrain stations in there and with the Central Valley Greenway taking them into Burnaby [it seemed like a fit]," said Woodhall. "It's very walkable, even with the hills, and there's services nearby. It's just a matter of reaching the folks that are a point in their lifestyle that are trying to drive less."

Sapperton TravelSmart has set up a car pool ride matching service. It also will provide maps and trip planning tools to encourage walking or simply taking a bicycle to the grocery store.

Woodhall has been looking to get residents to log their trips this month so they can get a sense of what the needs are. They haven't had enough so they're going to hold more sessions in the community to try and find additional participants.

"It's really just the tracker part of it, the logging of their trips that we identified for the month [as needing to find]," said Woodhall. "We plan to engage them over the next couple of months because we know behaviour doesn't change overnight."

She said TransLink is looking to hook up with about 10 Lower Mainland municipalities. "We still haven't found the right formula, but we're going to keep going."

An opportunity for Sapperton residents to learn more about will be at the Save-On-Foods grand opening Saturday which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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