“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, 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.
“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.”
In a move calculated to help reach their goal of 20% of all trips by bike by 2030, Portland has adopted a policy that protected bike lanes are the new default. The policy applies to all cycling facilities for all streets with an average daily traffic count of 3,000 motor vehicles or more.
As we see happening across Canada, in the USA protected bike lanes have proven themselves to the point where they became federal policy in May of 2015.
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.
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.
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.
What happens to cycling facilities and the Brock Trail in the winter is a really good question!
Currently, the City has a priority/triage approach that relegates sidewalks and the Trail to a low priority. Generally, they’re cleared once work crews are available after higher priority corridors are addressed.
The short answer is that properly designed roads, including facilities for all users – motorists, cyclists and pedestrians – do not impede emergency response vehicles or responders’ efforts. Continue reading “FAQ: Do cycling facilities impact emergency response?”
First, for those choosing to cycle, the reduction of risk is significant, as shown in the National Institute of Transportation and Communities study, a Canadian study, and several other studies.
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?”
Increasing 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)
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?”
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?”
Over the last six or seven years, the City has laid the planning foundation upon which to create a more walk and bike friendly City, and over the last two years some progress has been made. What follows is a summary. Continue reading “FAQ: What has Brockville done to date?”
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?”
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”
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.