Turning The Tide Of Road Carnage

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The USA is on track this year to kill 38,000 people in auto collisions, rapidly overtaking the 35,000 deaths by gun. An analysis of US vs European factors, coupled with emerging trends in selected US cities, shows how a different design approach pays dividends by reducing drivers’ ability to cause harm. Cities that implement Vision Zero – assuming people will make mistakes and designing facilities that reduce the impact of those mistakes – coupled with complete streets, and protected facilities for those walking and cycling, are yielding big reductions in fatalities.  Read more here.

Hamilton Prepares To Learn Licensing Lessons

Conceptual illustration, Pulaski Bridge protected cycle track (Image Credit: Brownstoner Queens)
Conceptual illustration, Claremont protected cycle track (Image Credit: Brownstoner Queens)

As reported many times, the notion of licensing bicycles seldom gains traction. Despite that, most cities have a councilor or two who don’t pay attention to what happens in other cities, or perhaps simply look for a convenient soapbox. From the report in The Hamilton Spectator, we’re about to see a couple of councilors there learn the lesson too.
Read more here.

British Study Reconfirms Health Benefits Of Bike Commuting

Prescription Bottle - blank labelOnce again, yet another study adds to the growing mountain of evidence on the health impacts of adding to bike commuting’s mode share.

“We get stories about the National Health Service (NHS) being financially overburdened every week,” Stewart explained. “Seventy per cent of the NHS budget is spent on long-term conditions and 20 to 40 per cent of all long term conditions can be reduced or ameliorated by physical activity. So physical activity is a very good thing. Cycling and active transportation are very good things.”

Read more here.

Uptake In Cycling Benefits Local Economies

tdl327cIt’s well established that increases in cycling modal share create a multiplier effect in population health improvements and reduced health care costs. Yet the economic effects don’t seem to be as well accepted, despite quinquennial study updates in places like Québec, published by MTQ and Vélo Québec.  It’s good to see other studies from other regions add to that evidence.  Here, BBC Research reports on Colorado, where cycling events and tourism add $1.6 billion annually to the state economy. That’s why Bike Friendly Business Areas and paved shoulders are so important in the larger economic picture. Read more here.

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Ottawa Admits Trading Safety For Convenience

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O’Connor St, Ottawa (Youtube)

When it comes to road safety, the paradigm still holds that convenience trumps safety.  Ottawa decided to overrule consultants’ recommendations and install facilities that wouldn’t inconvenience those driving. The result is a less than optimal solution in which the street is safer than before and cycling volumes have climbed quickly, yet could have been much better. Fortunately, one councilor steps forward to say about the needed culture shift, “It is a shift that has to happen. And to be fair to staff, it needs to happen at the political level … it is incumbent upon us. We’re the leaders, we can change the culture, we have the responsibility.” Read more here.

Road Carnage Finally Getting Attention

practice-area-pedestrian-accidents-2 We live in a strange world in which road fatalities are normalized, expected and have been a socially acceptable price to pay for unfettered impatience. Finally, society is coming around to the notion that it’s not acceptable, and cities are starting to embrace Vision Zero.  This editorial in the Globe and Mail hits the nail squarely on the head.  Read more here.

Downtown Brockville Recognized As Bicycle Friendly Business Area

downtownbrockvillebialogoDowntown Brockville is now one of four certified Bicycle Friendly Business Areas in Ontario! The Ontario By Bike Network is a province-wide network of certified bicycle friendly businesses and business areas that collectively enhance Ontario’s cycle tourism sector and growing cycling market. This designation positions downtown Brockville as a hub for the excellent on road cycling and trail riding throughout the city and into the surrounding region.

Downtown Brockville Bike Friendly

 

A Lasting Legacy Of Licensing Losses

cyclingcrowdAcross the land, as active transportation gains steadily restore publicly-funded roads to safer use by the general public, regardless of mode of movement chosen at any given time, someone, somewhere, is asking why licences aren’t required, either for bikes or those who ride them. Over decades, a lasting legacy of articles and council decisions have honed the responses to a simple set.  Many cities do offer bike registration for theft recovery (Brockville being one, thanks to the Kinsmen Club), and some cities have bicycle licensing statutes that are largely ignored by all. However, they are the exception.  Continue reading “A Lasting Legacy Of Licensing Losses”

Have Your Say On Action Plan 2.0

ap2dProgress steadily mounts on Action Plan 1.0 of the provincial
cycling strategy #CYCLEON and MTO, a myriad of  other provincial ministries and a long list of NGO stakeholders are collaborating on the formulation of Action Plan 2.0, the next tranche of initiatives.
Share The Road is collecting input from interested parties to inform their participation in the discussions. To add your voice, please see the online survey here.

For MTO’s call for general input, see the previous post here.

 

Safer Cycling Through Improved Infrastructure

In this editorial in the Applied Journal of Public Health, two well-known researchers describe their latest investigation of facilities that both improve safety and encourage more people to choose to bike.  John Pucher is with Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. Ralph Buehler is with the School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, Alexandria.

Read the article here (pdf)

Continue reading “Safer Cycling Through Improved Infrastructure”

Wanted: Cycling Advisory Committee Members

New bike lanes on King St W and Cty Rd 2 in Brockville (Oct 10, 2016)
New bike lanes on King St W  in Brockville (Oct 10, 2016)

Are you interested in helping Council realize the benefits of cycling, as directed in the Official Plan and Sustainability and other plans, and as endorsed in the Healthy Communities Vision?  If so, the Brockville Cycling Advisory Committee is seeking new members.  Continue reading “Wanted: Cycling Advisory Committee Members”

Two Words For Better Cities: Pedestrians First!

Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)
Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)

Here’s a thorough exploration of making cities more livable, from the Knight Foundation, starting from the simple principle of “pedestrians first”.  The article explores several pillars: walkability, bikeability, public spaces and public transit – all key to building more vibrant communities. Read more here.

And here’s a FastCo article on the same report.

Why Lane Width Matters

laneThis excerpt from NACTO’s (National Association of City Transportation Officials) explains why too-wide lanes create undue risk in urban environments.

Lane widths of 10 feet are appropriate in urban areas and have a positive impact on a street’s safety without impacting traffic operations.

In Brockville, think King St W between Clarissa and Rivers, Laurier Blvd, and others. The simple expedient of painted buffers serves to slow traffic to neighbourhood speeds without impacting capacity.  Read more here.

The Role of Cycling In Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan

ap1dThe message below was sent by MTO to a list of stakeholders interested in #CYCLEON, the Ontario Cycling Strategy, the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), and the role that cycling plays in that plan.

"Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), released on June 8, 2016, committed to creating a cleaner transportation sector in Ontario, in part by promoting cycling.

"The Ministry of Transportation is ready to do its part to support the CCAP by implementing a number of initiatives that support reductions to transportation emissions. These initiatives will be funded by proceeds from the province’s cap and trade program.

"Through a discussion paper posted to the Environmental Registry, we are seeking your input on a proposed plan to implement actions identified in the CCAP to improve commuter cycling networks. 

"We encourage you to review the discussion paper, accessible through the Environmental Registry or the Ministry’s Cycling Strategy web page and provide your comments by November 30, 2016. We look forward to hearing from you."

It’s important in ongoing efforts to create a more vibrant Brockville that we be conversant with the broader actions, and progress, at the provincial level.  Changes in government funding, Provincial Policy Statement, and other related plans and programs set the context for municipal planning and expectations, as well as raise the bar as our City competes with others that are making good progress in these areas.

Of note, the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program (OMCIP) is proposed to be continued under the CCAP, to the tune of $150 to $225 million over several years. If we are to take advantage of that, we will need shovel ready projects under the umbrella of a current, committed and comprehensive transportation plan, which the City neither has nor plans to create.

Of particular note, MTO’s discussion paper (pdf) provides a concise summary of the current role of cycling in Ontario, reinforces the government’s commitment and the larger societal trends underway, and underscores how far behind Brockville is.

While the City may or may not choose to respond to the Environmental Registry posting, we are each invited to respond as individuals. Help build the momentum needed to generate Council’s will to fulfill the promises in the Official Plan and bring the City into the 21st century.