Spring Is Summit Season

It’s Spring, and with Spring comes the annual round of Bike Summits to rejuvenate and re-stoke our interest in working for public roads that better serve the needs of the general public.

All of the summits draw elected representatives, professionals, advocates and other interested parties from public works, transportation, planning, consulting, economic development, education, tourism, recreation and other disciplines together.

Here’s a quick guide with links to pages where you can learn more:
– The 10th Annual Ontario Bike Summit will be held in Toronto April 16-18.
– The National Bike Summit will be held in Ottawa May 28-29.
– The 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit will be held this year right here in Brockville, at the Memorial Centre, May 10-11.

Engaging Youth In Community Building

As this piece from Strong Towns articulates, there is much to be gained from better and more productively engaging youth in community building, and ensuring their voice is heard. In our old-style local newspaper the few vocal “angry old folks” tend to dominate the reporting of new developments , after all they provide easy click bait fodder. What’s missing is the voice of youth – especially the young professionals – who tend to have a fairly clear picture of the kind of community in which they would like to live and create jobs. And in some key respects that isn’t the kind of community the fading generation would fight to preserve.

Talent attraction and retention are buzzwords that we’re hearing all around the world right now. Communities are shifting their mindsets as they’ve come to realize that young people pick places before they pick jobs.  They pick amenities over low property taxes.  They pick walkability and quality public transportation over a confluence of interstate highways”

Read more here.

Brockville Requests Proposals For Active Transportation Plan

Brockville Official Plan, 2011

As called for in Brockville’s Official Plan adopted some 7 years ago, an RFP has been issued for the development of an Active Transportation Plan for the city.

The RFP document and its attachments can be found on the City’s website, at least until the process closes and the contract is awarded. That’s expected to be near the end of May.

Of note, the Plan will cover cycling and walking as well as other forms of active transportation, will take into consideration work already done for the Official Plan, and since then by the Brock Trail and cycling advisory committees. The plan will include consideration for things like pedestrian crosswalks and crossovers, staged implementation, completion of the Brock Trail, and more.

Public engagement opportunities and development of the plan will include open public workshops at the design stage as well as an opportunity to review the proposed plans. It’s expected that the workshops will be open and welcoming to all members of the public, to work together to identify and prioritize opportunities to help build a community that better supports choices for healthy activity, both for purpose and for pleasure.

80% of the cost will be covered by funds received from the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program, and 20% by the City from capital budget allocated to the cycling advisory committee.

 

Action Plan 2.0 Posted For Comment

Action Plan 2.0 of the Ontario Cycling Strategy #CYCLEON has been published for public input on the Environmental Registry website as well as MTO’s website. The plan continues and strengthens program elements begun in  Action Plan 1.0 (pdf), with continued emphasis on Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning.

The proposed Action Plan 2.0 is open for public comment until March 7.

See here for the Environmental Registry page.
See here for the Action Plan 2.0 proposal (pdf) on MTO’s website.

Save The Date: Brockville, May 10-11: 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit

Save the date: May 10 – 11. The 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit will be held in Brockville on these dates.

Thursday, May 10 will feature presentations, panelists and discussions revolving around how to create plans and projects and how to move them forward. This is of heightened interest this year, the first year of four for the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program in which many municipalities and townships throughout Eastern Ontario are receiving significant funding to help make our public roads more usable for all.

Tentatively, Friday, May 11 will be a morning session focused on cycle tourism – how our region can better gain from this fast-growing sector of the tourism economy.

For information on past year’s Summits, and to see the agenda for this year as it firms up, please see: http://healthyllg.org/active_transportation.html

Understanding The Health Benefits

The linked article nicely summarizes the individual and population health benefits accruing from introducing even moderate amounts of cycling into everyday travel. On a population basis, it’s no surprise that every $1 invested in cycling facilities that encourage more people to ride more often results in health care cost reductions of $3 – $20 per annum down the road.
Read more here.

Local Employment Benefits From Cycling Projects

Amidst the myriad benefits from active transportation projects, the job creation benefit to the local economy is often overlooked. Two major grants for Brockville, both arising from the cycling advisory committee, illustrate this.
 
In 2016, Brockville was awarded $325,000 in the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program. Those funds, matched by an equal amount from the City, other grants, donations and in-kind, are being used to complete the Laurier-Centennial and “401 corridor” extensions of the Brock Trail. 
The OMCCP grant is the first in a committed four-year stream. The amount of $183,362 for 2018 can be used to cover 2/3 of qualified projects, the first of which will be the development of an active transportation plan for Brockville.
 
Of economic note, apart from the other benefits that the project deliverables provide to the community, the two grants themselves, when the required matching from other sources is included, total $925,000. That is money all spent into our local economy, creating the equivalent of approximately 18.5 fulltime job-years. Park that on Laurier! 

Brockville Gains In Provincial OMCCP Announcement

Ontario’s momentum toward becoming a more bicycle-friendly province took a big step forward today with the announcement of funding details in the first year’s tranche of the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program (OMCCP). Brockville’s grant for 2018 will be $183,362.

Continue reading “Brockville Gains In Provincial OMCCP Announcement”

Second Pedestrian Crossover Now Operational in Brockville

Photo by Dale Elliott, HometownTV12, 2017

A key piece of the “401 corridor” project (see background here) of the Brock Trail is a pedestrian crossover on Ormond St. at Bramshot.

A pedestrian crossover (PXO) is a signed and sometimes signal-lighted crossing of a road at a location that does not have a traffic light or stop sign to regulate through traffic flow. (MTO reference)

For those driving or cycling: When you see a pedestrian with intent to cross, which may be indicated by flashing lights, come to a complete stop. Remain stopped while people are in the PXO. You may proceed when the person walking has left the road.

For those walking: Press the beg button to activate the lights. Stand facing the crossing, optionally with arm pointing to cross the road. Wait for vehicular traffic to stop, then cross the road.

For those cycling along the trail: Get off your bike. See above “for those walking”. Riding across a crossover or crosswalk is illegal.

More PXO’s have been approved by Council and will be installed along the Trail at crossings on Henry St, St Paul St, Cedar St, Laurier Blvd at Bridlewood, Centennial Rd, and Perth St, with more to come in following years.

The two existing crossovers and those listed above are part of projects initiated and driven by the Brock Trail committee and cycling advisory committee working together. In 2018, the City will be undertaking an Active Transportation Plan which will then be approved and adopted by Council. The public workshops that will be part of the development of the plan will be the opportunity to come out and help identify the many other locations across the city where crosswalks and crossovers are needed.

For more about the new PXO, see Dale Elliott’s report on HometownTV12.
On Facebook, also see the Brockville Police video.

Active Transportation Gaining Ground In Canada

“There have been big jumps over the last two decades in the number of Canadians cycling and taking transit to work, while the increase in car commuting, which remains the method used by most people, lagged behind the rate of population growth in major centres.
The new numbers are part of a release of census data that paints a picture of a country that is gradually changing how it gets around.”

Read article here.

Giving People Walking A Safe Start

The linked article from the NY Times describes a simple tweak used to modify the timing of signals and intersections such that those walking are less that risk from those driving and making turns.
The intervention is a reprogramming of signal timing such that the pedestrian walk signal is activated several seconds before the green light for drivers. This allows those walking to get a head start in the crosswalk making them more visible. The result is demonstrable less risk, especially from more aggressive drivers.
“The National Association of City Transportation Officials has highlighted the measure — called a “leading pedestrian interval” by traffic engineers and urban planners — as a best practice in its urban street design guide, saying that it is one of the ways that “effectively decrease crashes and save lives on our cities’ streets.””
This signal tweak is one that any city, large or small, can use with benefit.
And, yet again, this is a clear example of how small cities, late starters like Brockville especially, can gain by following best demonstrated practices in larger cities.

Roads Are For Moving People

Brockville’s official plan, like any other, declares that public roads exist to move people and goods.

A current and comprehensive transportation plan, which Brockville does not have, would then go on to stipulate the relative priority given to different modes of transportation and then go into some detail on the current and future transportation network of the city. Cities usually define the modal priorities as pedestrians, then cyclists, then transit, with private automobiles last.

The linked article describes how the city of London England has greatly improved the overall efficiency of their transportation system by designing and implementing roadways that match their priorities. This includes designated bicycle highways as well as facilities on shared roads. When people are offered choices they perceived to be viable as well as safe then more rational outcomes result.

In London, the result is a system in which cycling proves to be five times more efficient than driving, without even considering the associated health and environmental benefits.

Read more here.

Carpe Hibernum – Enjoying Canadian Winter

Looking for a way to enjoy the crisp blue skies and winter delights with friends and family in the great Canadian outdoors?

Then check out the Triangle Ski Club at their open house on Sunday December 10th. The Club offers a warm clubhouse and well-maintained trails from beginner to challenging for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and winter fatbiking.

For directions and details, see the website here.