Local Employment Benefits From Cycling Projects

Amidst the myriad benefits from active transportation projects, the job creation benefit to the local economy is often overlooked. Two major grants for Brockville, both arising from the cycling advisory committee, illustrate this.
 
In 2016, Brockville was awarded $325,000 in the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program. Those funds, matched by an equal amount from the City, other grants, donations and in-kind, are being used to complete the Laurier-Centennial and “401 corridor” extensions of the Brock Trail. 
The OMCCP grant is the first in a committed four-year stream. The amount of $183,362 for 2018 can be used to cover 2/3 of qualified projects, the first of which will be the development of an active transportation plan for Brockville.
 
Of economic note, apart from the other benefits that the project deliverables provide to the community, the two grants themselves, when the required matching from other sources is included, total $925,000. That is money all spent into our local economy, creating the equivalent of approximately 18.5 fulltime job-years. Park that on Laurier! 

Brockville Gains In Provincial OMCCP Announcement

Ontario’s momentum toward becoming a more bicycle-friendly province took a big step forward today with the announcement of funding details in the first year’s tranche of the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program (OMCCP). Brockville’s grant for 2018 will be $183,362.

Continue reading “Brockville Gains In Provincial OMCCP Announcement”

Second Pedestrian Crossover Now Operational in Brockville

Photo by Dale Elliott, HometownTV12, 2017

A key piece of the “401 corridor” project (see background here) of the Brock Trail is a pedestrian crossover on Ormond St. at Bramshot.

A pedestrian crossover (PXO) is a signed and sometimes signal-lighted crossing of a road at a location that does not have a traffic light or stop sign to regulate through traffic flow. (MTO reference)

For those driving or cycling: When you see a pedestrian with intent to cross, which may be indicated by flashing lights, come to a complete stop. Remain stopped while people are in the PXO. You may proceed when the person walking has left the road.

For those walking: Press the beg button to activate the lights. Stand facing the crossing, optionally with arm pointing to cross the road. Wait for vehicular traffic to stop, then cross the road.

For those cycling along the trail: Get off your bike. See above “for those walking”. Riding across a crossover or crosswalk is illegal.

More PXO’s have been approved by Council and will be installed along the Trail at crossings on Henry St, St Paul St, Cedar St, Laurier Blvd at Bridlewood, Centennial Rd, and Perth St, with more to come in following years.

The two existing crossovers and those listed above are part of projects initiated and driven by the Brock Trail committee and cycling advisory committee working together. In 2018, the City will be undertaking an Active Transportation Plan which will then be approved and adopted by Council. The public workshops that will be part of the development of the plan will be the opportunity to come out and help identify the many other locations across the city where crosswalks and crossovers are needed.

For more about the new PXO, see Dale Elliott’s report on HometownTV12.
On Facebook, also see the Brockville Police video.

Lessons From Rural BC

The City of Vernon, BC, population 40,000, easily exceeds Brockville in terms of the pickup truck centric lifestyle core to a large cohort of residents. Yet despite that, Vernon’s city council and staff understand the economic development and other benefits as they join the competition to “create more livable and desirable communities”. Like Brockville, they’re a long way from being walk and bike friendly; however, they are on the path.
Read more here.

The Health And Social Benefits Of Parks And Trails

The municipal leaders in this video understand the health and social benefits of parks and trails, as well as their direct contribution to economic development – attracting and retaining businesses, talent and families.

Do your councilors understand? Ask them!

See video here. 

Parks Are Vital City Infrastructure:

City parks are increasingly being viewed as critical community infrastructure – the lungs of the community. Shared-use trails running through and connecting them are the circulatory system. Together, they provide life – the social, health and transportation means to a more vital city.
Do your councilors understand this? Ask them! The municipal leaders in this video certainly do!

See video here.

Ottawa Valley Boosting Cycle Tourism

The Ottawa Valley region is one among many in Ontario tapping into the successful and growing cycle tourism sector. Their latest investment is route maps: “The cycling map can be used as a tool to draw cyclists from outside of the region to the area, which will support tourism in the area.”

Ask your favourite local/regional councilor why we’re not actively chasing this proven opportunity.

Read more here.

TD Greensights Report On Community Green Spaces

“Community green spaces are where communities come together to meet, talk and play – it’s where people find common ground and connect.

According to the new TD GreenSights Report, the majority of Canadians – 95 per cent – believe that access to community green space will be important to their quality of life in the future. However, there is room for improvement: three-quarters (77 per cent) say the green space closest to their home could be better.”

The report provides insights and a strong case for keeping our more natural green spaces undeveloped – spaces like St Lawrence Park, the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, and the Brock Trail linking them. 

Read more here.

People On Bikes Greatly Outnumber Cyclists

New parking-protected bike lane on Toronto’s Bloor St just prior to completion.

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.

Growth Of Active Transportation Explained To Autophiles

Churchill Ave in Ottawa – an award winning complete streets project

“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.

NYC Adds To Case Studies Of Success

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.

 

Cycling Facilities That Serve The Majority

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’”.

Bike Lanes Good For Property Values

Two-way parking protected bike lane in Montreal. Photo by Karen and MomentumMag

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.

Yet More MD Support For Bike Lanes

Parking protected bike lane on Sherbrook in Winnipeg

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.

Bike Parking At Rib Fest And The Rails To Trails Festival

Bike parking area being set up for the Rails To Trails Festival.

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.