Complete Streets Approaches For Rural Areas

shouldersA new backgrounder from Complete Streets for Canada examines the need to apply complete streets approaches to rural areas. This adds to the impetus for, among other things, a “paved shoulders” policy which has an easy business case, yet whose benefits go much further than dollars. “With higher road mortality rates and poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts, rural areas in particular can benefit from safer roadways that encourage walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation.  Transportation equity is also critical, as those living without a vehicle in rural areas can face serious challenges of mobility in the absence of public transportation and safe walking and cycling routes.  On a larger scale, a Complete Streets approach can have economic benefits, by enlivening a rural main street or historic downtown. ” Read more here.

Smart Discussions About Road Safety For All

visionzeroThis article from Toronto applies to all communities.  The conversations around road safety – for all road users in the community, from 8 to 80, have a number of common elements. These are worth knowing and remembering, and quizzing your municipal Council about.  Ask them when we can adopt a Vision Zero program, for instance.  If they don’t know what any of these elements are, they’re not up to date with cities more progressive and attractive. Read more here.

Why Suburbia Is Literally Depressing

Suburgatory - from GoogleEarth
Suburgatory – from GoogleEarth

Here’s a fascinating essay on why people’s souls are dulled by typical suburban design. It also provides context to understand better why “complete street” treatment of urban corridors, with better sidewalks, bicycle facilities,  pedestrian crossings, crossing refuges and intersection bulb-outs, can make streets like Laurier Blvd more livable, inviting more walking and cycling, taming traffic, restoring their family-friendly face and social ambiance, and raising property values.  Read more here.

Streetside Spots Create Urban Oases In Ottawa

Photo by Joanne Chianello, CBC
Photo by Joanne Chianello, CBC

Even while Ottawa’s formal “complete streets” policy takes root and projects quickly ramp up, small projects with a tactical urbanism flair are sweeping neighbourhoods and BIA’s.  In the Quartier Vanier BIA, one of Ottawa’s approved “streetside spots” features a parking spot turned into a patio.  This is one of eleven for this year, out of twenty five the city was prepared to approve.

Quartier Vanier BIA’s steetside spot on Beechwood Avenue features a wooden patio arrangement designed by Carleton University architecture students, and has proven to be an instance hit as a neighbourhood social spot.  Read more here.

Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan Includes Walking And Cycling

Bicycle_Friendly_Community_Sign_02_1Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, released this morning, includes strong legislative and financial support for enhancing the walk and bike friendliness of communities across the province. Road projects must include these provisions. Along with the new mandate for communities in The Greenbelt that road projects be “complete street” based, we are rapidly moving into an era that will strongly favour communities having a current active transportation plan and a complete streets policy.  Continue reading “Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan Includes Walking And Cycling”

News: Ottawa PXO Plan Set To Launch

Three of four different styles of PXO
Three of four different styles of PXO

Big news from Ottawa where they’re about to start installing up to 60 pedestrian crossovers (PXOs) a year for the next three years.  Along with Ottawa’s complete streets policy and cycling plan rollout, this is clear indication of that city’s commitment to prioritizing people first.  Here in Brockville, we could start with public workshops toward generating a current comprehensive transportation plan.
Read more about Ottawa’s PXO plan here.

Complete Streets Legislation Coming To Ontario

Cover image - Toronto Centre For Active Transportation
Cover image – Toronto Centre For Active Transportation

If “complete streets” is not in your lexicon, it’s time to start learning more about what they are and why they’re rapidly becoming the new paradigm in transportation and planning.

“A new policy proposed this week promises good things to come on Ontario’s streets. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released its Proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) 2016, as an update to the original 2006 version, and key changes include increased support for active transportation and a directive for municipalities to adopt a Complete Streets approach.”
Read more…

Essay: Thoughts On Evolving Paradigms

Drawing - Prince Ave Complete Street redesign - Athens GA
Drawing – Prince Ave Complete Street redesign – Athens GA

Reviewing the agenda of the upcoming annual general meeting, conference and workshop of the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers I was struck by the program’s overwhelming weighting of emphasis on complete streets and active transportation. The theme is “Connecting Lifestyles”, which focuses on helping to build resilient and sustainable communities, through connections and collaborations.  Three of the five “technical tours” focus on active mobility. The key workshop event is “Safe Systems Approach to Bicycle Facility Design“.
That got me to thinking …  Continue reading “Essay: Thoughts On Evolving Paradigms”

The Economic Benefits Of Complete Streets

Picture from Hamilton ON
Picture from Hamilton ON

“Biking and walking is good for us, our economy, and our community!”
This blog article by Scott Lane, a senior transportation planner in Raleigh NC nicely summarizes the economic benefits of complete streets, which have been adopted in over 500 communities in North America. Complete streets provide safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicycles, transit users and the mobility-impaired, not as an afterthought, but as an integral planned feature.  Read more.
Learn more about complete streets here.

Toronto Centre For Active Transportation Releases Complete Streets Book

Complete Street Transformations in the Greater Golden Horseshoe is a book featuring nine  projects from municipalities throughout the region which involved redesigning streets to make more space for one or more of pedestrians, cyclists, or transit riders.” Included in the projects studied are ones that illuminate the possibilities for Brockville’s Laurier Blvd and King St through downtown.  Read more.

Walkability Is About The Experience

Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)
Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)

“Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for all people. The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.” This came from the US Surgeon General a few months ago, underscoring the need to create city spaces that encourage walking.  Continue reading “Walkability Is About The Experience”

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: 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