Revitalizing Toronto’s Streets

In recent years cyclists and pedestrians have been clamouring for more space for themselves on Toronto’s streets. (RANDY RISLING / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

“Cities are their streets. Great cities are those with great streets. Other things matter, of course — parks, buildings, transit — but it’s streets that bring a city to life, that make it a place people choose to live, visit, work, play . . .” Click through here to see a wonderful piece on how Toronto’s streets are coming alive as they’re reclaimed to put people first.

Ontario Becomes First “Complete Streets” Province

Churchill Ave in Ottawa – an award winning complete streets project

The updated Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was released on May 18, 2017 and comes into effect July 1, 2017. (View or download here.) Significant new policy statements embedded in the update require that all road projects for new and renovated facilities will follow complete streets guidelines, and that active transportation is prioritized over private automobiles. Continue reading “Ontario Becomes First “Complete Streets” Province”

News: Edmonton’s Bike Network Opens

Edmonton is the most recent of several major Canadian cities to realize the benefits of implementing a cycling network all at once in a defined area. Well, that new network is set to open. Along with that their city website provides a full guide (pdf) for all street users, including safety tips for those cycling, or walking, or driving around the new facilities. Continue reading “News: Edmonton’s Bike Network Opens”

Update: Brockville’s 401 Corridor Crossing

Looking south on the east side of Ormond St from Bramshot – reconstruction of the trail through the park

(June 15, 2017) Construction is progressing quickly on the active transportation link through Brockville’s 401 corridor. As described in earlier documents and shown in the diagram below, the link is a joint project between the Brockville cycling advisory committee and the Brock Trail committee. The link consists of sidewalks converted to boulevard trails, a pedestrian crossover at Bramshot, and a widening and resurfacing of the old trail through the Ormond Street Park. Expect this trail segment to be completed and open for use within a few weeks.

Once this segment and the new trail segment from Laurier to Centennial are completed, we’ll have an off-road trail route all the way from the waterfront to the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area.

Sketch of the 401 corridor crossing project (click to enlarge)
Looking north on the west side of Ormond St towards the 401. This will be overlaid with asphalt.
Looking south on Ormond St towards the 401. This will be overlaid with asphalt.

Recipes For Encouraging Cycling

From Share The Road’s “Bike Month Recipes” 2017

It’s Bike Month across the land, the time of year when people shed heavy coats, get out their bikes and celebrate the return of warm days. The Share The Road Cycling Coalition reached out to communities across Ontario and gathered a collection of ideas published as “recipe cards”. These are all ideas that can be readily adopted and adapted by other communities to help encourage more people to ride more often. These 25 ideas span all ages and abilities, include rodeos, rides and wrenching, refresh with coffee stops and barbecues, set aside time for play as well as training, and much more. It’s about social, safety, snacks and smiles.

With the kind permission of Share The Road the collection of recipe cards is shared below as a PDF that you can browse or download. Many thanks as well to each of the communities named who contributed their ideas.

BikeMonthRecipes2017compressed

 

Driverless vehicles vs people

A skateboarder rides next to an electric driverless bus in Lyon, France. Photograph: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty

An article in the Guardian prompts with the provocative headline, “Street wars 2035: can cyclists and driverless cars ever co-exist?” However, in a more measured tone the article goes on to explore the challenges of designing systems for driverless vehicles that allow them to coexist safely with the unpredictability of people moving more naturally – walking, cycling, skateboarding, running, or those using using mobility-assist devices.  Continue reading “Driverless vehicles vs people”

The Bicycle Turns 200…

CC BY-SA 2.0 Jasiel Azevedo

As the invention of the bicycle passes its 200th anniversary, this article reflects on the climate change of that time which partially spurred the development as a practical means of transport. In today’s world, transportation paradigms are changing as fast as the climate, with the humble bicycle playing an an integral role. Read more here.

“Advisory Cycling Lanes” Starting To Appear

(click to enlarge)

Popular in Europe for some time now,”advisory cycling lanes” are starting to be used in cities across the USA and Canada. The first advisory cycling lanes have appeared in Ottawa and are under discussion in Kitchener as well.

Advisory cycling lanes are designed for low volume, low speed, narrow streets and provide much better guidance than sharrows.

Expect to see discussion of advisory cycling lanes in Brockville as the cycling network plan looks to address streets in the older sections of town. In particular, advisory cycling lanes would be a good facility to use on Water Street between Broad St and Home St.

for a full explanation of advisory cycling lanes see the City of Ottawa’s website here.

CAPE Supports National Cycling Strategy

CAPE, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, has provided an extensive article on their website outlining their endorsement of a national cycling strategy for the diverse and far-reaching benefits that a more bicycle friendly Canada would provide for all. Read more here.

“A National Cycling Strategy is the holy grail of public health; the public policy the serves many public health goals with one investment. It is an investment that will pay for itself many times over in health care savings alone.”

Towards a Bike-Friendly Canada: A National Cycling Strategy Overview

Crossing Laurier Ave in Ottawa – Photo: Hans Moor

Many municipalities and a few provinces across Canada have made solid gains towards making cycling on public roads is a safe and convenient choice for getting around. Progress is also being made towards a national cycling strategy that would provide both opportunities and consistency in guidelines and funding. Canada Bikes is the national nonprofit organization leading this charge. Working with stakeholder organizations across the country, they have developed a primer called  Towards a Bike-Friendly Canada: A National Cycling Strategy Overview (pdf). That and more is on the Canada Bikes website.

“The document is inspired by long-established frameworks already in place in the most advanced and successful bike-friendly countries in the world. We hope you find it helpful in describing what a national cycling strategy could do for Canada and for all of us.”

Public Places: for People or for Parking?

photo from Momentum Mag

Great idea: Rethinking parking – From coast to coast and in middle America, more sensible parking policies are taking hold and may be the quickest path to urban revitalization.

CNU’s “Public Square” editor Robert Steuteville interviewed Donald Shoup, UCLA professor and author of The High Cost of Free Parking, and Jeffrey Tumlin, director of strategy for Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, transportation planners and engineers, on how new ways of thinking about parking are transforming the American landscape.

This wide-ranging interview describes how required provisions for automobile parking have shaped urban areas, especially downtowns, in ways that discourage and defeat walkability. Many examples serve to illustrate this quickly disappearing paradigm. The interviewees also highlight the rapidly increasing number of municipalities that are removing minimum parking requirements from zoning bylaws, and the upsurge in urban revitalization that follows.

In Canada, some cities are following suit in removing parking minimums, most notably around transit hubs. A discussion about removing parking minimums from developments around the downtown and waterfront area in Brockville could be of local benefit especially if coupled with a parking garage that would provide the convenience of “park once then walk”.

Click open link in a new tab.

Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is a US nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago and Washington.
“The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) helps create vibrant and walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, shop, and get around. People want to live in well-designed places that are unique and authentic. CNU’s mission is to help build those places.”

Serving “invisible cyclists” too

In our community of Brockville, like most cities, especially post-industrial centres struggling to rebuild, we have a socio-demographic cohort of those living with low income. These are the “invisible cyclists”, those for whom walking and cycling is a necessity rather than a choice. For various reasons they often don’t have an opportunity to participate in surveys, attend public information sessions, or have their voices heard in forums discussing better choices in safely getting around town for work, school, shopping and appointments.

Invisible cyclists don’t travel in packs, wearing brightly coloured Lycra outfits. They likely aren’t seen leisurely cruising the Brock Trail either. Rather, they are to be found at dusk or dawn, often on a cast-off bike, headed to or from work. Or coming home from shopping, or a few bags of groceries hung from the handlebars. Easy transportation and the ability to carry packages is an often overlooked yet simple factor in food equity.

One of the considerations in designing a network of cycling routes is that it be safe, convenient, and easily navigable by those of All Ages & Abilities. A cycling network that includes as key destinations workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies, schools and so on helps to serve invisible cyclists.

Designing for “everyday cycling”, one of the design principles of Brockville’s nascent network, is an important aspect of supporting social equity that must not be overlooked.

Other cycling-related approaches which address social inequity around basic transportation could include installing a small bike share with four or five bikes at Community Hub locations, providing an easier way to get to and from the grocery store than walking. Another common approach is supporting the establishment and operation of a bike repair co-op or a “bicycle recycle” shop.

For a great article on invisible bikers, read here.
For a deeper, evidence-based exploration of how social equity factors into the benefits and challenges of active transportation, see this paper (pdf) from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

New Ontario cycling website

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

As the province responds to residents’ requests for broader and deeper  investment in support of cycling as a convenient, safe and affordable way of getting around, the volume and variety of programs continues to grow. A new provincial website has been launched by the government to make it easier to navigate through, and find out more information about, everything that’s underway. That new site can be found at www.ontario.ca/page/cycling-ontario