News: Active School Travel Continues to Decline

ASRS1As reported by Metrolinx in their quinquennial review of school travel habits, active travel to school continues to decline.  This bodes poorly for kids’ current and future physical and mental health, as well as their academic performance.  Read article here.

In Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, a partnership among UCDSB, the Health Unit and various police forces, school parent groups and communities is helping to grow momentum around active and safe routes to school.
Read more here.

12th Annual Eastern Ontario School MTB Challenge – May 20, 2016

MTBAt Limerick Forest just north of Roebuck, over 100 kids from kindergarten to high school, from Bancroft, Kingston, Ottawa and more locally, will gather for this 12th annual event.
The courses vary in length and difficulty for different age groups, and there are individual and team prizes for everyone!
Check out this smash Youtube video of the 2015 event!

News: Research shows neighbourhood design linked with activity levels

IMG_2346E1cC2“Design of urban environments has the potential to contribute substantially to physical activity. Similarity of findings across cities suggests the promise of engaging urban planning, transportation, and parks sectors in efforts to reduce the health burden of the global physical inactivity pandemic.”

This cross-sectional study measured the activity of 7,000 individuals in 14 cities around the world, finding strong a strong link between the walkability of the urban environment, and people’s everyday activity levels.

Read article here, and the study abstract here.

Active Mobility’s Influence On Real Estate Development

“Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier” explores the interconnections among walking, bicycling, and real estate development. It showcases the growing synergies between real estate development and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure investments.

Across the globe, developers are seizing a competitive advantage by leveraging growing interest in biking and walking among residents and tenants. And municipalities are promoting health, equity, and sustainability by investing in active transportation infrastructure projects, such as trails and greenways. Learn more about these trends and opportunities inside the report.”

This report, just published by the Urban Land Institute, details case studies around the world and presents compelling evidence for the economic benefits of active mobility. Along with environmental and health benefits, this report catalogues in detail the positive impact on property values and profitability when city planners and developers meet the growing demands for active lifestyles.  Learn more here.

Active Mobility Shaping Better Real Estate

While some players in the real estate industry can’t seem to wrap their minds around trends that continue to build and gain momentum, most real estate professionals and developers not only see the trends, but are profiting from them.  At this article in the Washington Post highlights, “Real estate developers are building more “trail-oriented” communities to meet a growing demand for bike-friendly and walkable places to live and work.”  Read article here.

The article references a recent study by the Urban Land Institute, “Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier” which explores the economic benefits of developments that support active mobility.

Active Mobility Boosts Mental Health Too

While the physical health benefits of regular SmilingRideexercise are well studied and generally well known, evidence on the mental health benefits has been growing too in recent years.  This is especially true for exercise like walking and biking, especially outside in a natural (green) setting, and especially when integrated into the activities of daily living. All the more reason to leave the car parked and walk or bike!  Read more.

Toward A More Age Friendly Brockville

IMG_1269cmpThere are various initiatives in Brockville that have a common goal of creating an environment that’s conducive to active, healthy living for all ages.  Groups supporting “youth friendly”, “age friendly”, “walk friendly”, “bike friendly” and “safe communities” are but a few of the many efforts underway.

The Age Friendly Brockville group just launched their website and an initial survey to gather input from the community. You can learn more at the website here (including the survey).

As an aside, seniors are the fastest growing segment amongst those choosing to cycle, for both purpose and for pleasure! That’s why our design target for the Brockville Cycling Network is those aged 8 to 80.

Rightsizing Streets

“The needs of our communities evolve over time, and our street design should, too. That’s the idea behind ‘rightsizing streets’ – reconfiguring the layout of our streets to better serve the people who use them, whether they’re commuters driving, shoppers walking, or children bicycling. Across the country, communities large and small are achieving impressive safety, mobility, and community outcomes by implementing such reconfigurations.” Read more.

News: Bicycle Lanes Challenged

An article in today’s paper recounts a filled-beyond-capacity meeting of Brockville’s Finance/Admin/Operations standing committee at which opponents had a chance to speak against a proposal to provide safe passage on Laurier Blvd for people wishing to ride bikes for purpose or for pleasure.  Much misinformation persists, yet only good can eventually come from public dialogue.  Read article on Recorder Times website.

Comments received on support petition

IbikeIvoteIn signing the petition to City Council in support of the cycling plan, to date over 200 have provided a comment as to why. Here they are, with names withheld for privacy. Those signing the petition did so of their own free will – without in-your-face bullying or intimidation.  These comments from the usually-silent majority speak to a healthier, more equitable, more active Brockville.  Continue reading “Comments received on support petition”

News: Interview with Janette Sadik-Khan on complete streets

“What we’re trying to do is see equity of public space. When you build your streets for cars, you’re actually building in the expectation that people are going to have cars. It costs $10,000 per year for a household to own and maintain a car. We’re talking about building in affordable options for people to get around. Make it easier for people to get around.”
Read more

News: NYC – Bike Wars Over, Community Wins

“It became clear that we didn’t win the public debate by outwitting the opposition. The battle was won by the projects and by New Yorkers themselves. New Yorkers were way ahead of the press and the politicians. They took to changes on the street with an enthusiasm immune to the government that built them, to the advocates pushing for the changes, and to the opponents arrayed against them. They were just looking for new ways to get around and saw in the transformation of the streets the fulfillment of a long-dormant promise. Change is possible. They weren’t Lycra warriors or ideologues out for blood, and in fact there was less blood on the street than there was at the start of the process. And it wasn’t about bike lanes. It was about an idea about our streets and who they are for.” From Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan, former transportation commissioner in New York City.  

For more illuminating thoughts on transforming New York City’s neighbourhoods and winning over the “anti-laners”, read here.