“Biking and walking is good for us, our economy, and our community!”
This blog article by Scott Lane, a senior transportation planner in Raleigh NC nicely summarizes the economic benefits of complete streets, which have been adopted in over 500 communities in North America. Complete streets provide safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicycles, transit users and the mobility-impaired, not as an afterthought, but as an integral planned feature. Read more.
Learn more about complete streets here.
Victoria BC is the most recent Canadian city to be moving to an All Ages and Abilities (“AAA”) cycling network, incorporating protected bike lane designs shown by Canadian and US research to significantly reduce risk to those cycling while at the same time unleashing latent demand.
In addition to the health and environmental benefits, “building bicycle infrastructure creates better equity and social justice. This is because safe bicycle networks give people across all socio-economic levels a genuine alternative to the costly private automobile.” Read more.
At the April 14th meeting of the cycling advisory committee, a motion was carried concerning the cycling network planning for the north end of the city, and relative priorities of the committee’s work.
Following Nova Scotia, Ontario and many states in the USA, Quebec is about to enact a “1 metre passing rule” for those driving on provincial roads. Stiffer penalties for “dooring” are in the works too. Read more.
At the Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto last week, communities offering residents and visitors a bicycle friendly experience were honoured for their achievements. The following communities were awarded Bicycle Friendly status: Burlington – Silver (moved up from Bronze), Niagara Falls – Bronze (New in 2016) and Mississippi Mills – Bronze (New in 2016). Oakville, Oshawa, Richmond Hill and Welland were renewed at their Bronze designation levels, while Hamilton was renewed with a Silver designation. An Honourable Mention was given to North Bay.
Yet another report, this one from Philadelphia, showing the positive boost in real estate values from easy access to cycling facilities. Parking is still important, yet falls behind proximity to active transportation. The report highlights the lifestyle and economic advantages to the city that stem from embracing and investing in trails and cycling.
Note to Brockvillians: Yes this is a US report from a big city. Yet the trend is continent wide and big cities are nothing more than collections of Brockville-sized districts showing the same trends. Read more.
A long time in the making, support for bike lanes on Toronto’s Bloor St. now appears strong and consistent across all stakeholders.
“Never before have we had so many people – and not just the usual suspects – take up the cause,” said Cycle Toronto director Jared Kolb. “We’ve got strong political leadership locally, strong business support, residents and residents’ associations and a growing amount of data that backs up the argument in an unbiased, scientific way.” Read more.
“Complete Street Transformations in the Greater Golden Horseshoe is a book featuring nine projects from municipalities throughout the region which involved redesigning streets to make more space for one or more of pedestrians, cyclists, or transit riders.” Included in the projects studied are ones that illuminate the possibilities for Brockville’s Laurier Blvd and King St through downtown. Read more.
Driving while distracted continues to grow demand for emergency response, lawyers, health care and even undertakers. However, despite the hue and cry about the seeming dangers of distracted walking, the evidence does not support a call for changes in behaviour. It turns out walking while texting is self-regulating. Read more.
“Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for all people. The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.” This came from the US Surgeon General a few months ago, underscoring the need to create city spaces that encourage walking. Continue reading “Walkability Is About The Experience”
For several years, the Canadian Automobile Association has run their “worst roads” poll, asking members to nominate and vote for those road segments deemed to be “worst” by whatever criteria matters to you. Walking and cycling criteria are now welcome too, following a few years of this author and others pointing out CAA’s strong partnership with the Share the Road Coalition and the majority of CAA’s members who also choose to cycle. Let’s use this – explicitly nominate your “worst road” for cycling – say, County Rd 2 through Leeds & Grenville.
At the just-concluded Ontario Bike Summit 2016, announcements of this year’s recipients of the Bicycle Friendly Community designation include our neighbour Mississippi Mills! Featuring a long-running Bike Fest, the Silver Chain Challenge, an active transportation plan, cycle rides both leisurely and sportive, and a paved shoulders policy in Lanark County, Mississippi Mills has worked for many years to earn their BFC designation, in the process helping to build a community that’s healthier and more attractive to families and businesses. Congratulations!
Brockville was one of 37 communities to be granted up to $325,000 over two years in the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program, a key piece of Action Plan 1.0 of #CYCLEON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy. The program received about 150 expressions of interest, of which about 50 were invited to submit full applications. Projects were judged on “improving connections between local cycling networks, promoting safety, enabling recreation and tourism, encouraging innovation, research and data collection, supporting partnerships and improving awareness of cycling as a viable transportation mode.” Projects are being funded up to 50% of total cost, over two years, “to install or improve on-road cycling lanes, off-road cycling and walking paths, cycling-specific traffic signals and signs, active transportation bridges and bike racks.”
Read the announcement here.
See the list of municipalities receiving grants here (pdf).
See details on Brockville’s project here.
Niagara Region has been awarded $662,000 for several municipal cycling infrastructure projects that will bolster the Region’s already strong lifestyle and tourism attractiveness. The difference from our region of Eastern Ontario is political commitment and shovel-ready projects. Read more.
As Janette Sadik-Khan showed us in NYC, a lot can be accomplished with a few planters and some road paint in a short trial that either generates some lessons learned, or becomes a permanent fixture. More cities are adopting this approach, which would hold promise for a few key routes in Brockville. Bike lanes could be added to Laurier with nothing more than paint as a trial for those choosing to cycle as well as a way of calming traffic. Read more here.
London, Chatham-Kent, Kingsville, Windsor, LaSalle and Tecumseh are each receiving $325,000 toward cycling projects in their municipalities. Facilities planned run the gamut from paved shoulders on rural roads to bike lanes to shared-use trails. Of note, several of the projects close gaps in Essex County’s “County Wide Active Transportation System”. This is a network that’s proving to be an economic boost to the entire county through a collection of routes and facilities that connects communities across their rural landscape.
Read more in the Ontario announcement or this article in the Windsor Star.
With over 35,000,000 bike share trips in the last several years in nearly 100 US cities, there have been zero bicycling fatalities, compared with an average of 21 deaths per 1,000,000 trips in the general population. A recent study (pdf link) sought to understand why bike share riders fare better. The bottom line? “Go slowly, carry a light, be cautious and aware of your surroundings, wear your helmet when you remember it, and, most crucially, advocate for more bicycle infrastructure and slower vehicle traffic.” See either article for an exploration of these lessons and more. CityLab article here and Vox News article here.