What is RouteSpeak?
RouteSpeak is a citizen led transit improvement network which will develop proposals for TransLink to address and provide accountability back to the community. The goal is to make transit more accessible, affordable and reliable and to build a civic structure which will increase the strength of our communities through engagement and leadership development.
Through transit forums held by MVA across Metro Vancouver, the following became clear:
- The immediate, deep, and broad impact of public transportation on the health and inclusion in public life, particularly for vulnerable people.
- The general lack of knowledge and cynicism concerning civic authority and service delivery, which addresses legitimacy of governance.
- The powerful response by participants, showing that neighborhood-based education and engagement had significant potential to activate a broad range of citizens, especially among people who would find it difficult to participate otherwise.
RouteSpeak will develop a true consultative relationship between TransLink and interested citizens and replace cynicism with positive action through education and prioritized needs of local communities.
What is RouteSpeak doing now?
We have a cluster of member organizations in South Vancouver that are coming together through the RouteSpeak project to solve local transit and transportation issues.
We had our first neighbourhood walk on Saturday April 9. About twenty of us canvassed the area around the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House at 49th and Victoria. We talked to people getting on and off busses; we talked to local businesses; and we walked the streets watching for accessibility impediments. We found residents and people passing through that area very eager to talk about public transit.
Our second walk in the Champlain Heights neighbourhood was on Saturday May 28. The loudest complaint we have heard from the South Van cluster is about the rerouting of the 49 bus. The route changes went into effect at the end of June. We will continue to work in this area to understand how the rerouting is affecting people, and then develop a proposal to bring reliable and accessible service back to this neighbourhood.
We are also turning to the residents who live south of Marine Drive. There is very little transit available down here. We surveyed shoppers and vendors at the River District farmers market in August to find out more. We're now compiling all the data we've got, looking to fill in some holes, and brainstorming route-based solutions. TransLink and City of Vancouver planners are listening.
If you live in the area, or you have computer skills to help us with the data analysis, join the team!