Matt Pender’s piece in The Star, talking about the success of Toronto’s Bloor St bicycle facilities, reminds us once again that when we build cycling facilities that serve the majority, we’re not serving the already-committed minority who would call themselves cyclists. Rather, we are targeting the nearly two-thirds of people who occasionally ride a bike and will eagerly do so more often when they feel safe. Indeed, designing for the “everyday cyclist” always results in a large uptake of cycling activity. The growth is entirely from the cohort of “people who ride a bike”. This busts the myth of the few remaining anti-laners who proclaim, “We don’t need bike lanes; there are no cyclists on the street.” The evidence is clear. Build it and people will ride. Read Matt’s article here.
“Are Bike Lanes Good for Traffic?” is the title, yet the article is really a wide-ranging description of the progress being made everywhere as public roads are transformed to be safer for moving people regardless of choice of transportation. It was published in autotrader.ca and serves to both illuminate and describe the variety of approaches, designs, and social factors brought into play as roads built first for cars are now reshaped to serve moving people. Read the article here.
Those of us who live in slow-starter small cities rely on the larger cities and their deeper resources to figure out what works really well and what doesn’t, and to measure and publish their results. Cities like Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and others have all got great stories to tell. In this short article, New York City’s Department of Transportation summarizes the results of a multi-year investment in cycling facilities, revealing some stunning yet not surprising numbers over a five-year period, including a 50% increase in regular cyclists and an 80% increase in cycle commuting.
Read the article here, or download the report PDF here.
Much has been written about the need to design cycling facilities that serve the majority of people, those who are “interested yet concerned”. This cohort represents the majority, those who are quite willing to use a bicycle more often for everyday activities, yet are dissuaded by safety concerns. Designing to this cohort’s needs led to the adoption of protected lanes as the default wherever possible. And indeed, the largest uptakes in cycling activity occur with the implementation of protected lanes.
In Ontario, survey results have yielded the same outcomes and MTO has embedded the findings as part of their design guidelines in the Ontario Traffic Manual (OTM Book 18 – Cycling Facilities). Available here (large PDF download).
For those interested in the survey research, analysis and case studies underpinning all this see this article from Alta Planning + Design:
“Understanding the ‘Four Types of Cyclists’”.
Quite simply, bike lanes help to calm traffic at the same time as they make roads safer for biking for all ages and all abilities. Roads with cycling facilities become more family-friendly and that in turn helps neighbourhoods become more attractive to families. The evidence supporting the positive impact of bike lanes on property values has been well-established for over a decade, and has been reported on this blog before (here and here). Yet every once in a while an article comes along that weaves this information and more into a compelling picture of how cycling facilities are an integral part of family-friendly neighbourhoods – places where families are willing to pay more to relocate. Read more here.
A new group, Doctors for Safe Cycling is adding their voice through a website and Facebook page, to the call for streets to be safe for all ages, all abilities. They join the Canadian Medical Association, long an advocate for active transportation (policy paper, 2009, pdf), and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.
As Doctors for Safe Cycling point out in this recent article in the Toronto Star, “Cycling is very effective in promoting good physical and mental health, and it’s infrastructure like protected lanes that makes widespread bike use possible.”
StatsCan reports that fully 41% of Canadians over the age of 12 are at least occasional cyclists now, and cites the evidence that, “The health benefits of physical activity, including cycling, are widely recognized. In an era when nearly a third of children and youth and just under two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, cycling for leisure or transport is a valuable form of exercise. Cycling is also good for the environment ― commuting by bicycle helps to alleviate road congestion and noise pollution and reduces emissions.”
It’s time for Brockville to join the 21st century and work to become bicycle friendly. There will always be naysayers and NIMBYs who fight to keep streets unsafe, children at risk and property values depressed, but it’s time to move ahead and create a better Brockville.
Heading to Brockville’s waterfront this weekend? How about using your bike? Here’s how to do that. Whether you’re starting from in town or driving in with bikes and parking away from the downtown area, follow the Brock Trail (map here) right to the heart of the events. The Brock Trail provides an off-road family-friendly route.
After crossing the Tom Dailey Bridge behind the Mill Restaurant, in addition to all the bike racks and rings throughout the downtown area, you’ll find some large bike racks at the main Water Street entrance to Rib Fest, to which you can lock your bike.
Alternately, continue along Water Street to the Water Street parking lot where you’ll find bicycle parking under the big tent in the picture above. The tent will be staffed by volunteers from 8 to 8 on Saturday, and from 10 to 5 on Sunday, providing a supervised parking area.
Click on the map shown above to see a larger size picture which you can download and use. The map has been updated to show recently completed new segments as well as those currently under construction and soon to be finished, for example, the “401 bypass” route along central Ormond and Parkedale. Distances between waypoints, to the nearest 5 m, have also been added.
Just published by New York City’s Department of Transportation is a comprehensive study and analysis of 20 years worth of cycling data. Adding to and reinforcing similar studies in other large North American cities, this study confirms both the “safety in numbers” effect as well as the risk reductions of well-designed cycling infrastructure.
The telling metric is “KSI” – the number of cyclists killed or severely injured in traffic. In a nutshell, cycling numbers grew by 162% while KSI dropped by nearly half. Said another way, the rate of KSI/100 million trips dropped from 1,072 to 292, a decline of 73%. Notably, only 11% of KSI occur on roads with cycling facilities.
The lessons learned in NYC add to the body of evidence showing that:
- the implementation of cycling facilities, especially protected facilities, dramatically reduces risks to those cycling.
- the the reduction of risk is both real and, more importantly, perceived, which in turn encourages large growth in cycling from the “interested but concerned” cohort.
- Higher numbers of people on bicycles induces a “safety in numbers” effect due to aggregate visibility and overall traffic calming.
Small cities simply don’t have the frequency of incidents and populations to do meaningful studies like this. Yet, we can learn from these lessons shown repeatedly in larger centres.
At it’s regular monthly meeting today, Brockville’s “Finance Admin, Operations” standing committee received an update from John Taylor, chair of the Brock Trail committee, reviewing progress to date in completing the trail. While there is lots of work left to do, progress is significant, as anyone walking or rolling around town knows. Of special note, for every $1 spent by the city, the Brock Trail committee has raised an additional $2.46 from grants, donations, and in-kind. To date, expenditures total approximately $1.4million, the equivalent of 28 “jobs created” (a.k.a. “FTE-years”) as tallied by economic programs. The update is attached below.2017 07 18 Brock Trail Update
At it’s regular monthly meeting today, Brockville’s “Finance Admin, Operations” standing committee passed, unanimously and without discussion, a motion enabling the City to apply to participate in the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program (OMCCP), and to develop an active transportation plan as the first project. The cycling advisory committee passed motions last week endorsing this action. Today’s item goes to full Council next week as part of the consent agenda. The report to FAO/Council is below:2017-081-07 OMCCP
The push is on for a national active transportation strategy. Currently, 21 million Canadians, or about 58%, live in a region where transportation and development projects and practices conform to policies guided by active transportation plans, cycling plans, walk/bike/age/youth-friendly plans, Vision Zero initiatives, or complete streets plans. In fact, government funding programs are starting to become contingent on those plans being in place and current.
Now is the time to bring our country under a consistent set of practices and guidelines, at the same time enfolding and bringing into the current century those municipalities who to date have ignored the mounting evidence on benefits, including the clear economic necessity of stepping up to compete on a level playing field. Follow the links for more information.
At its next meeting on July 13th, it’s expected that the City’s cycling advisory committee will pass motions endorsing Brockville’s application to participate in the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program, and recommending development of a cycling master plan for the City.OMCCP Motions for BCAC meeting of July 13
It’s somewhat absurd to complain about free street parking being reduced from an oversupply of 20x maximum observed demand down to 10x. Yet that’s the core of the anti-laners’ grievance on Laurier Blvd. Continue reading “How Much Excess Parking Capacity Is Needed?”
“Cities are their streets. Great cities are those with great streets. Other things matter, of course — parks, buildings, transit — but it’s streets that bring a city to life, that make it a place people choose to live, visit, work, play . . .” Click through here to see a wonderful piece on how Toronto’s streets are coming alive as they’re reclaimed to put people first.
The updated Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was released on May 18, 2017 and comes into effect July 1, 2017. (View or download here.) Significant new policy statements embedded in the update require that all road projects for new and renovated facilities will follow complete streets guidelines, and that active transportation is prioritized over private automobiles. Continue reading “Ontario Becomes First “Complete Streets” Province”
(June 15, 2017) Construction is progressing quickly on the active transportation link through Brockville’s 401 corridor. As described in earlier documents and shown in the diagram below, the link is a joint project between the Brockville cycling advisory committee and the Brock Trail committee. The link consists of sidewalks converted to boulevard trails, a pedestrian crossover at Bramshot, and a widening and resurfacing of the old trail through the Ormond Street Park. Expect this trail segment to be completed and open for use within a few weeks.
Once this segment and the new trail segment from Laurier to Centennial are completed, we’ll have an off-road trail route all the way from the waterfront to the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area.
It’s Bike Month across the land, the time of year when people shed heavy coats, get out their bikes and celebrate the return of warm days. The Share The Road Cycling Coalition reached out to communities across Ontario and gathered a collection of ideas published as “recipe cards”. These are all ideas that can be readily adopted and adapted by other communities to help encourage more people to ride more often. These 25 ideas span all ages and abilities, include rodeos, rides and wrenching, refresh with coffee stops and barbecues, set aside time for play as well as training, and much more. It’s about social, safety, snacks and smiles.
With the kind permission of Share The Road the collection of recipe cards is shared below as a PDF that you can browse or download. Many thanks as well to each of the communities named who contributed their ideas.BikeMonthRecipes2017compressed