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.

Lessons From Rural BC

The City of Vernon, BC, population 40,000, easily exceeds Brockville in terms of the pickup truck centric lifestyle core to a large cohort of residents. Yet despite that, Vernon’s city council and staff understand the economic development and other benefits as they join the competition to “create more livable and desirable communities”. Like Brockville, they’re a long way from being walk and bike friendly; however, they are on the path.
Read more here.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer On Designing Cities For Healthy Living

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, in her just-released report, calls for better design and delivery of supports and infrastructure for active mobility in our built environment as one key and immediately actionable way to stem the growing twin scourges of obesity and inactivity. These are gateway conditions leading to diseases that sap quality of life, raise health care costs, and drain economic productivity.

Read article here (has link to download report).

The Health And Social Benefits Of Parks And Trails

The municipal leaders in this video understand the health and social benefits of parks and trails, as well as their direct contribution to economic development – attracting and retaining businesses, talent and families.

Do your councilors understand? Ask them!

See video here. 

Parks Are Vital City Infrastructure:

City parks are increasingly being viewed as critical community infrastructure – the lungs of the community. Shared-use trails running through and connecting them are the circulatory system. Together, they provide life – the social, health and transportation means to a more vital city.
Do your councilors understand this? Ask them! The municipal leaders in this video certainly do!

See video here.

Ottawa Valley Boosting Cycle Tourism

The Ottawa Valley region is one among many in Ontario tapping into the successful and growing cycle tourism sector. Their latest investment is route maps: “The cycling map can be used as a tool to draw cyclists from outside of the region to the area, which will support tourism in the area.”

Ask your favourite local/regional councilor why we’re not actively chasing this proven opportunity.

Read more here.

TD Greensights Report On Community Green Spaces

“Community green spaces are where communities come together to meet, talk and play – it’s where people find common ground and connect.

According to the new TD GreenSights Report, the majority of Canadians – 95 per cent – believe that access to community green space will be important to their quality of life in the future. However, there is room for improvement: three-quarters (77 per cent) say the green space closest to their home could be better.”

The report provides insights and a strong case for keeping our more natural green spaces undeveloped – spaces like St Lawrence Park, the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, and the Brock Trail linking them. 

Read more here.

Accelerating Active School Travel Planning

Active School Travel, a.k.a. Active & Safe Routes to School, is ramping up in Ontario with a provincial injection of funds and resources. Some places, like Ottawa, have made good progress. In Brockville, the understanding and desire is in place at UCDSB, as are some small beginnings. With provincial co-ordination, hopefully local action will regain momentum. This Ottawa newsletter provides a good overview.

Read more here.

Moving Beyond Zero

A generation ago, Vision Zero was launched as a systems-based approach to reducing traffic harm. The vision is simple – zero fatalities. The means are more complex – recognizing that people make mistakes that cause harm, and designing roads and traffic environments that minimize risk when mistakes are made. Vision Zero has been adopted as policy in leading European countries and many N.A. cities.

Sweden is now “Moving Beyond Zero” on the principle that eliminating harm is good, yet encouraging healthier behaviours and lifestyles is even better.
http://movingbeyondzero.com/

Cycle Tourism In Small Towns And Rural Areas

Sometimes the relentless flood of evidence in research and case studies, all showing the overwhelming positive bottom line and growth of cycle tourism is, well, overwhelming. It can seem cold and analytic, which it needs to be.
Yet local stories inspire and provide context, which is also important, especially in small towns and conservative rural areas.
“Bicycle tourism has an unexpected and humble ability to prop up small economies. And it is those small-but-lasting impacts that we want communities to expect and believe in, and then build from.”

Read more here.