Katie Quirk initiates cycling assessment to inform redevelopment
Katie Quirk, a clinical planner with the Burnaby Hospital Redevelopment project team, is an avid cyclist. Katie bought her first bike, Juniper, with money from her first paycheck from working at Burnaby Hospital in 2009. She loved the sense of freedom and exhilaration it gave her. She bikes almost everywhere, including trips to Costco, taking her daughter around the city and even on fancy date nights.
Katie is part of a growing community of Fraser Health staff, medical staff and volunteers who bike to work. In 2021, while cycling only accounted for 1.2% of all commutes by Fraser Health staff, it’s people like Katie who are actively working to change that.
As a member of the team guiding the $1.4 billion Burnaby Hospital Redevelopment project, Katie saw the need for an assessment to find opportunities to make cycling to the hospital safer, more accessible, and more enjoyable. The assessment would also be a way to show that there are practical alternatives to driving to work. “As we build new facilities, we should be building for a healthier, more sustainable future,” says Katie.
Katie shared her interest in having a cycling assessment to inform the growth and design of the hospital to a colleague who connected her with the Energy and Environmental Sustainability (EES) team. Katie and the EES team worked with HUB Cycling to complete the assessment, partially supported by funding from Translink.
The cycling assessment showed that Burnaby Hospital scored 21 of a possible 39 points, a silver grade. Key recommendations from the assessment include improvements to bike storage, access to bike maintenance facilities, as well as increased engagement with cyclists.
This sustainable transportation initiative is a labour of love for Katie, who is the parent of a young child.
“Thinking about the planet and climate that I am leaving to her and her children overwhelms me at times. I want to contribute to a world that is habitable for future generations, and I feel it is my responsibility to do what I can.
This assessment is just the first step in improving active transportation options for Burnaby Hospital staff, medical staff and volunteers. Katie hopes that this assessment will inform the growth and design of the hospital campus—which is among BC’s largest health-care investments—and be part of a wider prioritization of sustainable transportation at health-care facilities. In the meantime, as someone passionate about climate action, Katie is energized by this project:
“Making a positive impact, however big or small, gives me hope.”