Better air quality and reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs) are the key goals of Coquitlam's bylaw banning unnecessary vehicle idling.
Anti-idling regulations in Coquitlam’s Street and Traffic Amendment Bylaw No. 5003, 2019 prohibit vehicle idling for more than three minutes when not necessary, such as warming up a car or waiting for a train or passengers. Exceptions include but are not limited to emergencies, active passenger loading or unloading, repairs or following traffic directions.
City Council adopted the new bylaw Feb. 7, 2022 after receiving approval from the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
Idling bylaw exemptions include emergencies, necessary idling during repairs, vehicles in City-approved parades or events, active passenger loading or unloading, armoured vehicles, preserving perishables (e.g. heating or refrigeration systems) and complying with directions from a police officer, traffic signal or traffic flagger.
Better for the Environment
Vehicle idling contributes to GHGs by pumping particulates, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxide, volatile organic compounds and other toxins into the air, which can impact human health. Air quality also suffers, particularly around vehicle idling hotspots.
The vehicle idling bylaw is the latest example of the City’s long-standing commitment to addressing climate change, included adopting the Climate Adaptation Strategic Plan in 2020 and making climate action a key theme in the new Environmental Sustainability Plan, adopted in 2022. A new Climate Action Plan will also be developed as a top business priority for the City, with that work beginning this year.
Coquitlam signed the BC Climate Action Charter in 2007 and strengthened that commitment in December of 2019, when Council endorsed a motion calling on all levels of government around the world to act with more urgency to lower GHGs.
City activities to reduce GHGs and conserve energy include monitoring energy use in buildings, staff education, energy-sharing systems, LED lighting, programmable thermostats, waste heat recovery systems, and a growing “Ecofleet” of electric, hybrid and fuel-efficient compact vehicles.