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Copenhagen is walking the walk when it comes to becoming a green city, says Fred Bass welcomes former COPE City Councillor Fred Bass as a guest editorialist...

Unfortunately, the Mayor and City Council of Vancouver are not showing the vision and courage it takes to even follow in the footsteps of the city of Copenhagen.

Earlier this year, Copenhagen’s Director of Planning, Niels Torslov, visited Vancouver and described how a truly world-class city sets its course. It first asks the question, “What kind of a city do we want?” For the people of Copenhagen, the answer came back, “a city that is humanizing, healthy, livable, clean, safe, and makes minimal contribution to global warming.” Copenhagen plans to become the “Eco-Metropolis of the world.” But instead of just expressing the wish to become the greenest city in the world as Vancouver has recently done, Copenhagen has been doing its homework.

Copenhagen tracks what it knows is important. In 1998, it knew in what locations its cyclists received 569 serious injuries and set a ten-year goal to cut that annual number in half. Through a comprehensive program of traffic redesign and enforcement, Copenhagen reached 230 injuries, a reduction of 60%, after just seven years

But even more spectacular is that city’s commitment to cycling. In 2004, 36% of all trips to work or to school were by bicycle (and another 23% traveled on foot). Their cycling goal for 2015 is to climb from 36% to 50%. Meanwhile, Vancouver sputters along in 2006 at 4% commuting by bike. It is unlikely that Vancouver will even reach its goal of 10% commuting by bike by 2010.

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