News: Waterloo Region Council ahead of staff in pushing for protected bike lanes

With a tip o’ the hat to, from Waterloo Region we hear: “It is amazing to see our elected representatives showing such leadership on building a protected cycling network. They have connected the dots showing that encouraging and enabling cycling requires good infrastructure, and that this infrastructure needs to be both coherent and useful. We hope to see this leadership continue as Council considers the design, costs, challenges, and rewards of a minimum grid of protected routes in Waterloo Region.” Having served on the Regional advisory committee before moving to Brockville, this progress is wonderful to see!
Read article here

Belleville extends active transportation network to industrial development

Belleville, a city of 49,000, will be extending its network of bike lanes, multi-use paths and sidewalks through their North East Industrial Park. “The bike lanes, [Ray Ford, manager of engineering] said, are designed for commuters who want the fastest route to and from work, which is typically on the road. The multi-use paths present more of a ‘recreational experience.’ ‘We’re trying to match the needs of the community to the infrastructure we’re building, he said.”  Read article here.

Canadian Institute of Planners: Healthy Communities and the Built Environment

Photo from
Photo from

“Today planners continue to address health concerns in the form of challenges such as chronic disease and skyrocketing healthcare costs. The intersections of these issues with ones such as climate change and energy conservation mean that promoting healthy communities is bound up with nearly all aspects of the built environments that planners help create.” (Canadian Institute of Planners website)
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FAQ: Cycling plan phase I: Link through 401 corridor

Phase I of the cycling network includes three projects. This post describes the planned route through the 401 corridor for both the Brock Trail and cycling network, completing the Trail’s north-south linkage.

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FAQ: Whatever happened to “vehicular cycling”?

“Vehicular cycling” is a school of thought that claims people riding bikes are safest when driving their bikes as they would their cars by mixing with traffic boldly and confidently. While all users of public roads are expected to follow the traffic rules, “driving a bike” advocates have failed for 35 years to encourage the rapid adoption of cycling in N.A. as seen in Europe.  Vehicular cycling is a necessary yet entirely insufficient approach that remains a frustrating deterrent to mainstream cycling.  Continue reading “FAQ: Whatever happened to “vehicular cycling”?”

FAQ: Impact of cycling facilities on property values

Portland residential protected bike lane
Protected bike lane in Portland neighbourhood

In cities that first embark on implementation of cycling facilities – whether on-road bike lanes or off-road multi-use paths or trails, local residents often speak out in concern for their property value. This concern is quickly put to rest once the cycling facilities are in place. Savvy Realtors now actively promote the value of cycling facilities, trails and greenways that make a neighbourhood more bike and walk friendly.

Updated March 30, 2016 with this new, compelling research including detailed case studies that clearly document the positive impact of active mobility facilities on real estate value. Read about the Urban Planning Institute report.

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Vancouver one of the fastest growing cycling cities in the world

“People continually underestimate the number of cyclists using a given street, mainly because they are quiet, and don’t take up a lot of space,” claims the Eco-Counter’s North American Director, Jean-François Rheault.  See how cycling traffic numbers are climbing in response to safer infrastructure like protected bike lanes.
Vancouver one of the fastest growing cycling cities in the world

FAQ: Are cities caving to special interest groups? Let’s listen to the mayors.

Around Ontario and further afield, mayors are responding to widespread residents’ calls for trails and safer roads for active mobility.  They’re also acknowledging the economic competitive necessity. The result has been an increasing groundswell of activity in trails, cycling facilities, education and encouragement. As of May 2015, there were 28 Bicycle Friendly Communities that 60% of Ontarians call home.

Continue reading “FAQ: Are cities caving to special interest groups? Let’s listen to the mayors.”

FAQ: Whose road is it?

Vancouver - photo
Vancouver – photo

“Many people believe that active transport modes (walking, cycling, and their variants, also called non-motorized or human-powered transport) have less right to use public roads than motorists, based on assumptions that non-motorized travel is less important than motorized travel, and active mode users pay less than their fair share of roadway costs. This report investigates these assumptions. It finds that active modes have legal rights to use public roads, that non-motorized travel plays unique and important roles in an efficient and equitable transport system, that motorists often benefit from pedestrian and cycling improvements, that motor vehicle use imposes external costs on active travel which creates demand for separated facilities, and because active modes impose
minimal roadway costs and pay general taxes that finance about half of roadway expenses they overpay their fair share of roadway costs.”
(Whose Road Is It, 2013, Victoria Transport Policy Institute)
Download the report…

Distracted walking a rising cause of injury

HeadsUpUsing a mobile device for texting and talking is quickly becoming the leading factor in injuries incurred while walking, according to a recently published study using data from 2005 to 2010. While the article reveals some approaches that are novel and almost funny but for the injury-prone nature of the behaviour, they suggest that as with other things, role modelling is needed. Parents – teaching kids to “look both ways” is just the beginning!
Read more here

Investing for meaningful impact

reap-the-most-reward“We found that significant infrastructure investment is needed to overcome this dampening effect of fears about cycling safety; that high quality changes to main roads and local streets are the best place to start for cities with low cycling and high car use; and that these investments can have benefits an order of magnitude greater than the costs if you get them right,” Read more

The call for healthier school travel

Much research has been done for the health NoIdlingand learning benefits of walking or cycling to school. It’s also shown that a significant “rush hour” traffic load is comprised of people driving kids to school, most often very short distances.  Yet recently published research delves into the question of how harmful vehicle emissions are for young minds.

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Improving walkability of winter cities

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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