Support For Protected Bike Lanes Soars In Toronto

A new survey by EKOS reveals that Torontonians of all ages, urban and suburban, support protected bike lanes. Toronto now mirrors other cities large and small who are further along the active transportation journey. Initial cycling infrastructure projects often meet strident resistance from those whose worldview is threatened, as they did in Toronto. However, when the infrastructure is well designed and implemented, widespread public support invariably climbs quickly (and the world does not go apocalyptic). This survey measures how fast that has happened.

When EKOS asked about protected bike lanes, which separate cyclists from cars using curbs, posts or planters, the results were emphatic — 82 per cent in favour. No matter where they live, and irrespective of age or income, most residents support bike lane construction. The findings are consistent with a 2017 Angus Reid survey that found 80 per cent of Torontonians support a “safe network of bicycle lanes.”

The new poll puts clichés to rest. This is not just a young person’s issue; EKOS found bike lanes enjoy the backing of 79 per cent of those 55 years and older. It’s not an issue only for people with modest means; 85 per cent of residents with annual income of $120,000 or more endorse the lanes. Perhaps most significant, 75 per cent of those whose main mode of transport is the automobile support bike lanes.

There is no doubt at all that when Brockville drags itself past the car-centric paradigm into the current age of active transportation enlightenment, similar perspectives will prevail.

Read the article in the Toronto Star here.

The Art Of The Stroll

Here’s a beautifully written essay on “the art of the stroll”.

Walking is a slow and porous experience. The words we use to describe it—meandering, sauntering, strolling—have their own leisurely and gentle cadence and suggest a sort of unhurried enjoyment. But to walk is also to be vulnerable: it forces us into physical interaction with surrounding streets, homes, and people. This can delay us, annoy us, even put us in danger. But it connects us to community in a way that cars never can.

Read the essay here.

Organized Sport Predisposes Kids To Free Play

“Parents who fear that kids in organized sport spend less time on just-for-fun activities can take heart in a new study by researchers at McMaster University and the University of Toronto.

“Not only did the study find those kids embraced free play, it found they generally engaged in more physical activity on their own than those who were not in organized sport.

“Lead author John Cairney, a professor at U of T’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, says the findings debunk commonly held fears that structured sport comes at the expense of free play.

“He suspects that’s because children who are naturally inclined to enjoy organized sport are simply active kids.

“But he says it could also be because organized sport teaches the fundamental motor, psychological and social skills that kids need for unsupervised activities such as a pickup game of basketball or playing tag after school.

“The study followed 2,278 children from Grades 4 to 8. Researchers also looked at whether age, sex and socio-economic status played a role.”

Read the article here.  Retrieve the study here.

Cycling Is The Healthiest Way To Get Around

A recent article in treehugger.com describes and links to two recently published massive studies that once again confirm and add to the body of evidence that cycling is the healthiest way to get around and that investing in ways to encourage and allow more people to make the choice to ride a bike more often yields a large payback to society.

Continue reading “Cycling Is The Healthiest Way To Get Around”

What Makes A Place Walk-Friendly?

Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)

While we’ve posted several articles on walkability and its benefits (most recently for example here, here, and here), it remains difficult for many to describe just what a more walk-friendly community would look like and feel like. Here’s an article that describes walkability in terms of safety/risk, distances, convenience, and comfort. In addition to obvious risk mitigation measures like additional formal pedestrian crossings in Brockville, the article reasonably describes the sort of consideration that would go into the formulation of an active transportation plan for our city.

Read more here.

Torontonians Overwhelmingly Support Cycling Facilities

“More than 80 per cent of Toronto residents support building protected bike lanes, a new poll finds. The support is highest among those living in the core, with nearly nine in 10 people in the former pre-amalgamation city of Toronto wanting the lanes. But the trend was also visible in the suburbs, including Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York, with more than 70 per cent of respondents expressing support in every region of the city, according to the survey results provided exclusively to CBC Toronto.”

“The random survey of 800 Toronto residents, conducted by Ekos Research Associates earlier this month, also found more than 75 per cent of people who primarily drive to get around the city are also supporters of protected bike lanes”

The survey results are incredibly positive and show even stronger support than surveys done over the last couple of years.

It’s finally sinking in. Despite labels like “pedestrians”, “cyclists”, and “drivers”, more understand that we’re all just people – friends, neighbours, family, all ages and all abilities – trying to move around safely regardless of choice of mode of transportation at any given time.

So let’s listen up and learn, and help each other get home safely.

Read the CBC article here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/bike-lane-poll-toronto-1.4766745

Vision Zero Successes In NYC

On Macombs Rd in the Bronx, redesign led to 41% fewer crashes with injuries. (Photo: NYC Dept of Transportation)

Large cities across North America are trying to come to grips with the rising tide of injuries and fatalities of vulnerable road users. In Toronto, from a health perspective, it can be described as an epidemic, worse than SARS.. New York City however stands as an example of steadily and successfully moving towards Vision Zero.  This past year, 2017, was the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic fatalities, with the fewest New Yorkers lost to traffic collisions since 1910.   As Haley Easto reports in an article from the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, the lessons from New York City are clear and straightforward to adopt in Toronto or any other city.

Why does this matter to Brockville? Our City continues to struggle to become age friendly, youth friendly, walk friendly, and bicycle friendly, all components of an integrated set of lifestyle attractors as we compete to attract and retain talent, families, and new businesses. As a late starter and laggard in this competition we have the advantage of being able to observe and harvest the best practices from other places.
That includes Complete Streets and Vision Zero.

Read the article on lessons from NYC here.

 

Sudbury Joins The Complete Street Crowd

Cover image – Toronto Centre For Active Transportation

With Sudbury adopting a “complete streets” policy, residents join the 85% of Ontarians who live in a municipality where complete streets are either provincially mandated or have been adopted by local Council. As in other cities with a complete streets approach, public roads are designed and reconfigured to safely serve all members of the public – all ages, all abilities, all modes of transportation, for purpose or for pleasure.

Brockville is not a complete streets community – in fact it’s instructive to ask a candidate for Council if they know what a complete street is.
Read more about Sudbury here.
Learn more about complete streets here.

Proposal For Open Water Swimming Area

Active Brockville encourages all forms of active living, from incorporating active modes of transportation into everyday living, to active recreational and competitive pursuits. An open water swimming area at St. Lawrence Park is currently in the proposal stage. This would be an area suitable for open water training or recreational swimming, protected from motorized boat traffic. If you are interested in seeing the draft proposal, helping to develop it further, or helping to champion this initiative, please send a “comment” with your email address (your email information will not be exposed) and I’ll be in touch.   …alan

Protected Intersections Gaining Attention

As cities increasingly move to make streets safer for all users, intersections often remain as the last challenge to be addressed. Increasingly, “protected intersection” designs adapted from Europe are gaining favour. This article from the Toronto Star describes the design elements, with a link to an educational video. Read more here.

Improved Western Terminus Of St. Lawrence Rec Trail Nears Completion

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Improvements to the western terminus of the St. Lawrence Recreational Trail along the 1000 Islands Parkway corridor are close to being completed. As reported here in May 2017, the original routing of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail between the Gananoque town limits and the start of the Rec Trail required those hiking or biking to take an risky route across multiple lanes of high-speed Parkway traffic.

The updated and improved routing connects the shared-use pathway’s previous end location all the way to County Road #2. (See diagram above, pictures below.)

New western end of St. Lawrence Rec Trail along 1000 Islands Parkway corridor – photos by Paul Scott

Work on the trail bed and paving was completed just before last winter, painting has recently been completed, and signage updates were scheduled to be done this week.

The second phase of this work to be completed by MTO includes bike lanes along County Road #2 to the “Gates of Gananoque”, a curb cut at the crossing and signal lights on #2, some trailhead parking and washroom. With luck, some of this work will get started this fall.

Also under development by MTO are plans for the eastern terminus of the Trail at Brockmere Cliff Road. This will involve a formalized crossing of the Parkway, a new trail segment along the SE side of the Parkway, and a new trailhead incorporating vehicle parking and washroom.

This summer the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure bike tour will provide an opportunity for a brief opening ceremony for the new facilities at the #2 end of the Trail. Stay tuned for details.

New Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Website

From the June edition of the
Ontario By Bike newsletter:

The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and signature cycling route in Ontario continues to grow and is now over 2,100km long. Chances are you are already familiar with and have ridden parts of this signed route that touches 140 communities and skirts 3 Great Lakes.

To better help you navigate the trail, a new website has recently been launched with a number of useful features that can help you plan a day trip, overnight tour or end-to-end adventure.

  • Highly detailed and free to download maps
  • Interactive online trail map
  • Suggested ride itineraries
  • Community information

Make use of these features and start planning your ride today on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. www.WaterfrontTrail.org

Education Flyer For Crossings

Education flyer inserted with Brockville water bills (June 2018)

Brockville Police Service and Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit, with a small grant from the province’s annual Road Safety Challenge program and cooperation from the City of Brockville, are distributing the above flyer with the next water bill mailed to every household in the city.

Travel responsibly – let’s help everyone get home safely.

OTM-18 Update Questionnaire

This post is aimed at those who have some familiarity with the design and use of cycling facilities in various configurations.

“Cycling planning and design has evolved since the publication of the current provincial cycling design guideline, OTM Book 18. WSP in association with Alta Planning + Design, Share the Road Cycling Coalition, True North Safety and Marnie Peters & Co has been retained by the Ontario Traffic Council to review and update the current OTM Book 18. This update will build upon lessons learned, integrate global best practices, enhance route and facility selection processes and explore innovative design solutions.
“We are looking for your input on what changes and additions should be included in the update to OTM Book 18: Cycling Facilities, and how these guidelines can be improved as a resource for practitioners, municipalities and advocates. “

E-Bikes: What Are They?

The growing popularity of e-bikes is no surprise, given their ability to provide an easy alternative to the car for short trips and to help those wanting to get back on a bike but perhaps not having ridden since they were kids. (Read more here.)
In Ontario however, one of our stumbling blocks has been the omnibus classification of “e-bike” that encompasses both heavier scooter/moped styles as well as the more bicycle-like pedelec style. The common classification for two distinct styles is causing confusion as municipalities try to figure out which vehicles are appropriate to use on various facilities. Clarification is coming – MTO has committed to review and update the classifications as part of Action Plan 2.0 of the Ontario Cycling Strategy. For more information, see Share the Road’s article here.

Retail Businesses Benefit From Bike Lanes

Just as homeowners in residential areas benefit from quieter, family-friendlier streets and improved property values when streets are upgraded with bike lanes, the evidence is clear in case studies from across the continent that when streets through business districts are upgraded with bike lanes, then retail benefits big time, even though parking patterns may change.

“When faced with the prospect of losing some on-street parking outside a local business, it completely makes sense for business owners to be concerned about the impact on their customer base. But the on-the-ground evidence as well as nationwide data paints a very different picture. Rest assured that, if bike lanes are coming to your street and some parking spaces are disappearing in the process, local businesses shouldn’t see losses in profit. In fact, they’re likely to see gains.”

Think how downtown Brockville could benefit from wider sidewalks, bike lanes, more people traffic and more foot traffic through stores.

Read more here.

TLTI & Gananoque Seeking Input On Recreation Plan

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The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is working in partnership with Gananoque to complete a Joint Recreation Master Plan.  This Plan will guide recreational services over the next ten years and will include a needs assessment to support the future direction of parks, trails, recreation and leisure services. It will also include a series of recommendations and policy guidelines around the delivery of programs, events, facilities and services.

If you’re a program participant, a volunteer helping to make recreation and leisure services possible, or a community champion helping to promote and support programs, then this is an opportunity to help shape the future.

Community consultation sessions are scheduled at the Seeley’s Bay Community Hall on June 6, and again at the Lou Jeffries Recreation Arena in Gananoque in June 13.

If you are unable to attend, you will still have the opportunity to make sure that your voice is heard.  Online and print surveys will be launched June 6 and will be available on the website until the end of the month.

Please visit http://www.leeds1000islands.ca/en/governing/recreation-master-plan.aspx to learn more.