A new commission that would tackle the big picture questions surrounding transportation and mobility in Vancouver is currently seeking members.
The Mobility Commission, which was created by the Vancouver City Council on Jan. 6, will include 11 members, ideally drawing from a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise.
Unlike the ad hoc groups that consider transportation on a project-specific basis — such as the Westside Bike Mobility Project Community Advisory Committee, formed to consider installing protected bike lanes downtown — the new Mobility Commission is supposed to take a bird’s-eye view. They’re tasked with helping the council decide how best to use the city’s limited transportation space as Vancouver’s population continues to grow.
“We’ve got increasingly complex transportation issues, and really no policy group to review these,” said Jennifer Campos, Vancouver’s principal transportation planner. “This Mobility Commission would help us in terms of reviewing policy implementation, as well as the development of projects.”
The group would work intensively on Vancouver’s Transportation System Plan, currently undergoing an update. From a capital project standpoint, they’d also make recommendations to the council on plans involving the public right of way that cost more than $2 million.
Less costly projects that have an outsized impact on the community — like, for example, the Westside Bike Mobility Project — could still fall under the purview of the new Mobility Commission on a case-by-case basis, Campos said.
Term lengths for each commissioner will vary, from one to three years. In addition to one “at-large” commissioner, city leaders are specifically looking for people who could represent the following demographics:
• People between 16 and 19 years old.
• People older than 65.
• People with a disability.
• A member of a neighborhood association board.
• Commercial truckers or others with experience in freight movement.
• Transportation planners or others with design, engineering or maintenance experience.
• Commuters who primarily use public transit.
• Commuters who primarily cycle.
• Commuters who primarily drive.
• Commuters who primarily walk.
“We recognize there’s probably some overlap,” Campos said. “Somebody who cycles might use transit, we all walk at some point … but the thought was trying to get someone who used that as their primary mode.”
At the Jan. 6 meeting, Councilor Sarah Fox urged her colleagues to also specifically look for candidates who take multiple trips as part of their commute — often those trying to get kids to and from school, as well as themselves to and from work, a task that often falls to women, Fox pointed out.
“We want to involve the 51 percent of our population that seems to get missed when we’re looking only at the single mode,” Fox said.
The Mobility Commission’s first meeting is tentatively scheduled for May, Campos said.
The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on March 17. The application can be found at www.cityofvancouver.us/TMC.