Improving walkability of winter cities

WinterWalk
Photo from SHAPE Alberta Winter Walk Day, 2010

“Walkability is achieved at the scale of the neighborhood” the author of this article says, writing about many ways that neighbourhoods (and small cities!) can become more walkable, encouraging more people to walk more often.  The benefits are diverse, including mental and physical health, social “community” and economic boost. Read more

Winnipeg adds to the “build it and they will come” trend

Winnipeg, a city with much harsher winters than Brockville, recently added to the growing number of cities large and small that have seen positive response to cycling infrastructure.  Like many cities setting down the path to a healthier community, many scoffed at the concept of latent demand. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

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Active Mobility as an economic necessity

“There’s no debating whether recruiting and retaining young talent is essential for communities to thrive in today’s knowledge-based economy. Studies suggest that the most successful cities and economic regions in the 21st century will be those that attract and retain young college graduates and are places they want to locate.”

“Growing evidence suggests that young people choose where they want to live largely on the lifestyle and amenities of those communities, and that they gravitate toward more walkable, bike-able and transit-friendly communities where lifestyles are less dependent on driving.”

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Bike Lane Opponents’ Stance Starts To Unravel

 

In a prepared statement reported in the R&T today, opponents of the city’s cycling plan said, “We believe that bike paths off road are the way to go. That way, everyone will be safe.”  The proposed plan would do just that – by turning a mostly-unused parking lane of Laurier into a protected bike lane which is separated from and fenced “off road” to cars.  The opponents would seem to be acknowledging the evidence from across North America that protected bike lanes significantly reduce risk for those cycling, calm traffic, reduce risk for those driving, and encourage big uptakes in cycling activity.

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FAQ: What about cities removing bike lanes? What’s up with that?

Recently, someone has claimed that cities in Canada are taking out bike lanes!  What’s the story there?  Well, apart from cherry-picking incidents out of context, a review of the Canadian scene reveals that cycling infrastructure is growing in leaps and bounds on a net basis.

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FAQ: What about bike lanes and intersections?

A common question about the protected bike lanes on Laurier Blvd is what will happen to the turning lanes at the intersection with Windsor Dr. Some are assuming that turning lanes would disappear, which is not correct. Laurier’s current configuration is actually quite accommodating – it’s a road that’s paved four lanes wide, but only has two travel lanes, making lots of room at intersections.

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FAQ: What are the benefits for those who choose not to cycle?

A reasonable question often asked is whether there are benefits from cycling infrastructure to anyone other than those few currently riding bikes.

While there are a number of well-demonstrated benefits, let’s focus this on Laurier Blvd.  Laurier is an “urban corridor” in transportation parlance, yet it didn’t start out that way. In the beginning it wasn’t connected to either California or Stewart – it was a family-friendly neighbourhood residential street. Today, it carries neighbourhood traffic, through traffic between Stewart and California and emergency response traffic from the firehall, and is described by some as a “NASCAR” track. Continue reading “FAQ: What are the benefits for those who choose not to cycle?”

FAQ: What are the benefits of cycling, or active transportation generally?

Designed To MoveIncreasing the modal share of cycling and walking offers a myriad of well-documented benefits to individuals, families, neighbourhoods, retail business areas, workplaces and society at large. The full diversity of health, social, environmental and economic benefits have been studied and documented for over a decade now.  (above infographic from Designed to Move)

Continue reading “FAQ: What are the benefits of cycling, or active transportation generally?”

FAQ: How was the cycling network designed?

Cycling network design takes into account local context, existing and future traffic patterns, current standards and guidelines for infrastructure design, and best practices from communities who’ve contributed to a growing body of knowledge.  With all of that as a foundation, a set of design principles can further guide decisions.  Continue reading “FAQ: How was the cycling network designed?”

FAQ: What do Ontario residents say?

For the years 2010 through 2014, the Share the Road Coalition engaged a research firm to conduct a statistically valid survey of Ontarians’ views on cycling matters.  For each of those five years, results showed a clear persistence or a positive trend in strong public support for improved safety and infrastructure for cycling. Continue reading “FAQ: What do Ontario residents say?”

FAQ: Why a cycling network, and why now?

Across North America and right here in Ontario, municipalities are responding to residents’ requests for safer routes for cycling for themselves and their families.  The “movement” goes back several decades now and communities have been accelerating implementation for the last decade.  While the benefits are well proven through studies examining many cities, the impetus has come from ordinary people, speaking out for those aged 8 to 80.  Continue reading “FAQ: Why a cycling network, and why now?”

Cycling plan FAQs

While the Brockville Cycling Advisory Committee (BCAC) has regularly informed Council and senior staff of the rapid adoption of active transportation plans and on-the-ground implementation in centres across North America and here in Ontario, many residents may not be as aware of the issues and trends.  Many residents may also not be fully aware of the commitments Council has made to active transportation over the last few years.  Watch for a series of posts summarizing “frequently asked questions”, to be posted over the next several days. Some of the questions to be addressed include: Continue reading “Cycling plan FAQs”

Petition in support of cycling plan

If you support Brockville’s cycling plan; if you want to see the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of more people feeling safer and choosing to bike more often; if you want to see our roads become safer for all, whether walking, cycling or driving; if you want a more livable city, please sign this petition to Council and share with others.