News: Ottawa PXO Plan Set To Launch

Three of four different styles of PXO
Three of four different styles of PXO

Big news from Ottawa where they’re about to start installing up to 60 pedestrian crossovers (PXOs) a year for the next three years.  Along with Ottawa’s complete streets policy and cycling plan rollout, this is clear indication of that city’s commitment to prioritizing people first.  Here in Brockville, we could start with public workshops toward generating a current comprehensive transportation plan.
Read more about Ottawa’s PXO plan here.

News: Sudbury Adopts New PXO Standards

Three of four different styles of PXO
Three of four different styles of PXO (Source: MTO)

News from Sudbury where repeated calls for safer pedestrian crossings (PXO’s) is being met by plans that will see 17 new PXO’s installed, all using variations of the new designs legitimized last year by MTO in Bill 31. This is something Brockville needs too – along King St, along Water St, and at all Brock Trail road crossings.  Read Sudbury article.
See here for MTO descriptions of crossovers and new laws.

Opinion: Impact Of Safe Infrastructure On Cycling Uptake

Family_Ride_bicycle_cycle_trailerHere’s an opinion piece from Hamilton that provides some personal reflection on what the research has been reporting over and over – that when cycling infrastructure provides safe passage around a city, people get out and start biking. This is especially true for women – the “indicator species” for measuring a cycling network’s success.  The small number of disproportionately vocal anti-laners on Laurier Blvd need to take note. This blog and FB page is followed by twice as many women as men, supporting the evidence of  latent demand for safer cycling infrastructure.  Read more.

Building Community Through Bike Friendly Planning

Bicycle_Friendly_Community_Sign_02_1This linked article from Toronto’s dandyhorse magazine  takes a closer look at five Bicycle Friendly Communities featured at the recent Ontario Bike Summit. The article provides a good summary of how commitment to the “5E’s” (Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation/planning), along with good political will, has enriched the communities.  Read the article here.

Update From Brockville Cycling Advisory Committee

BCAC@FAOLast week the city’s ongoing move into the 21st century with active transportation planning garnered two articles in the Recorder Times and one opinion piece that somewhat incorrectly characterized an update to Council’s Finance, Admin, Ops Committee.  We all understand that the Recorder’s customers are advertisers, our eyeballs are the product, and stirring minority displeasure into major controversy is trade practice.
So that you can form your own opinion, with kind permission from Cogeco TV Brockville, here is a link to the particular recorded segment of the committee proceedings.
BCAC at FAO, May 17, 2016 (streaming MP4 video file). (20 minutes total)

Complete Streets Legislation Coming To Ontario

Cover image - Toronto Centre For Active Transportation
Cover image – Toronto Centre For Active Transportation

If “complete streets” is not in your lexicon, it’s time to start learning more about what they are and why they’re rapidly becoming the new paradigm in transportation and planning.

“A new policy proposed this week promises good things to come on Ontario’s streets. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released its Proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) 2016, as an update to the original 2006 version, and key changes include increased support for active transportation and a directive for municipalities to adopt a Complete Streets approach.”
Read more…

Essay: Thoughts On Evolving Paradigms

Drawing - Prince Ave Complete Street redesign - Athens GA
Drawing – Prince Ave Complete Street redesign – Athens GA

Reviewing the agenda of the upcoming annual general meeting, conference and workshop of the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers I was struck by the program’s overwhelming weighting of emphasis on complete streets and active transportation. The theme is “Connecting Lifestyles”, which focuses on helping to build resilient and sustainable communities, through connections and collaborations.  Three of the five “technical tours” focus on active mobility. The key workshop event is “Safe Systems Approach to Bicycle Facility Design“.
That got me to thinking …  Continue reading “Essay: Thoughts On Evolving Paradigms”

FAQ: What Is an All Ages & Abilities Cycling Network

Brockville-20130614-00227DxO2Simply put, an “all ages & abilities” (“AAA”) cycling network is one comprised of high-quality bicycle facilities separated from traffic, or using streets with low vehicle volumes and speeds, to enhance the comfort and safety of those choosing to cycle for purpose or pleasure.  An 80 year old with an 8 year old ought to feel comfortable navigating the network together. One of the better descriptions of the facilities used in AAA networks, including protected bike lanes, neighbourhood greenways and off-road trails, is provided on this Victoria BC page: read more here.

News: Victoria BC City Council Approves #biketoria

Victoria BC city council last weekProtectedBikeLaneapproved  the “Biketoria” plan for a 24 km city-wide cycling network. With a budget of $7.75 million, the first phase will see a minimum grid of 5.4 km of protected bike lanes in the downtown core by the end of 2018.  At least one downtown corridor will feature a two-way parking-protected bike lane.

“The city is a 21st century city and we want it to be easy for people to move around whether they’re walking, cycling or driving and this Biketoria network will enhance everybody’s experience,” says Victoria mayor Lisa Helps.

When questioned about the cost by critics pointing out the city’s 4% cycling modal share, Mayor Helps responded, “If you build this infrastructure, congestion will go down — car congestion will go down and it will be better for everyone. That’s what’s been proven everywhere else these infrastructure investments have been made.”
Read about the plan here.

Healthy Kids Community Grant Funds “Brock Trail Adventure Club”

HealthyKids1Grade 5/6 children in Brockville are exploring the Brock Trail in active ways thanks to a grant from the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Leeds and Grenville Community Project Fund.

This project provides children (grade 5/6) theHealthyKids2
opportunity to explore the expanded Brock Trail system through an after school program. Facilitated by the Brockville Police Service, the Brock Trail Adventure Club will run two nights a week, serving a different school each week. Sessions will include an educational component on outdoor and trail safety as well as an opportunity to explore the Brock Trail through a variety of activities such as biking, scavenger hunts, and compass use.

This project is a collaboration amongst the Brockville Police Service, Brock Trail Committee, Brockville Cycling Advisory Committee and Kinsmen Club of Brockville.  Read more.

News: New Poll Reveals Strong Toronto Cycling Support

IMG_2008A new poll shows that 86% of Torontonians support a safe cycling network, including 81% of non-cyclists, and that 67% of Torontonians want an investment of 4.8% per year or more of the City’s transportation budget to build that safe cycling network in less than 9 years.  This is yet more evidence that Ontarians consider safe active transportation an economic necessity.
Continue reading “News: New Poll Reveals Strong Toronto Cycling Support”

Research Confirms: Build It And They Will Cycle

Parking Protected Bike Lane (NACTO)
Parking Protected Bike Lane (NACTO)

Long observed by successful Bicycle Friendly Communities and touted by cycling advocates everywhere, research by a health sciences expert at Simon Fraser University, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, has shown a direct correlation between cycling infrastructure and a rise in those switching to commuting to work by bike.  Empirical evidence backed by research – build it and they will come.  The chain of evidence is complete – dollars invested in infrastructure beget increased ridership, with all the other well-researched benefits following.
Read more here.

Share The Road: Modernizing The CAN-BIKE Program

CANBIKE_Report_Image_copyCAN-BIKE is the cycling skills training standard in Ontario and Canada’s national cycling skills certification program. Since 1985, CAN-BIKE has offered a series of courses that aim to provide youth and adults with the skills and knowledge needed to safely and confidently ride a bike.

Through a highly-engaged and collaborative process, a set of recommendations for more targeted, modular and effective delivery are being implemented.  The goal is to increase the participation rate tenfold – from 1,100 per year to 11,000, within three years, with a longer term goal of 40,000 annually.

Read more about this positive undertaking here.

The Challenges Of Building Out A Cycling Network

As the feature article indicates, a cycling network is maximally useful when it connects all neighbourhoods and destinations.  Until a network is contiguous and fully-connected, there are gaps that limit usefulness and ridership.  This is a reality for planners – figuring out how to stage the project segments to fit within multi-year funding streams, align with planned road renewal projects, and ensure each additional segment is useful in itself.  While a network is incomplete, those wanting to cycle more are thwarted by network gaps, rider uptake is constrained, and anti-laners will observe, “hardly anyone using it!”  Deciding which destinations and routes will come on-grid in what sequence will never be easy, and there will always be conflicting priorities.  Read more.