Save the date: May 10 – 11. The 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit will be held in Brockville on these dates.
Thursday, May 10 will feature presentations, panelists and discussions revolving around how to create plans and projects and how to move them forward. This is of heightened interest this year, the first year of four for the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program in which many municipalities and townships throughout Eastern Ontario are receiving significant funding to help make our public roads more usable for all.
Tentatively, Friday, May 11 will be a morning session focused on cycle tourism – how our region can better gain from this fast-growing sector of the tourism economy.
The linked article from the NY Times describes a simple tweak used to modify the timing of signals and intersections such that those walking are less that risk from those driving and making turns.
The intervention is a reprogramming of signal timing such that the pedestrian walk signal is activated several seconds before the green light for drivers. This allows those walking to get a head start in the crosswalk making them more visible. The result is demonstrable less risk, especially from more aggressive drivers.
“The National Association of City Transportation Officials has highlighted the measure — called a “leading pedestrian interval” by traffic engineers and urban planners — as a best practice in its urban street design guide, saying that it is one of the ways that “effectively decrease crashes and save lives on our cities’ streets.””
This signal tweak is one that any city, large or small, can use with benefit.
And, yet again, this is a clear example of how small cities, late starters like Brockville especially, can gain by following best demonstrated practices in larger cities.
Faced with complaints and concerns about neighbourhood speeding drivers and school zone problems like those in Brockville, here is one Ontario city’s innovative approach. Take this idea to your councilor.
Still puzzled by the sharrows on Water Street in downtown Brockville?
The 200m short stretch between Home and Broad is narrow, signed at a max of 40 km/h, and part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail through town. The application of sharrows on the short stretch is a guide to those driving and cycling, about how to share the road safely and responsibly.
The illustration above, copyright and courtesy of Bikeyface, shows quite nicely what sharrows are all about. They are generally described in traffic manuals and consumer guides as a shared lane marking that:
Indicates that, as in the illustration above, the lane is too narrow to be shared side-by-side and single file is appropriate.
Reminds those driving that bicycles are vehicles on the road and entitled to use the whole lane when conditions warrant.
Reminds those cycling that on a narrow road, the safest position is to “take the lane”.
Those driving also need to keep in mind that when passing someone on a bike, a minimum of 1 m clearance is stipulated in the Highway Traffic Act. That means passing using the oncoming lane, only if it’s clear.
That very short stretch of Water Street has blind corners at Home, St. Andrew, Apple and Broad streets. Be a good neighbour, slow down and share the road responsibly.
Popular in Europe for some time now,”advisory cycling lanes” are starting to be used in cities across the USA and Canada. The first advisory cycling lanes have appeared in Ottawa and are under discussion in Kitchener as well.
Advisory cycling lanes are designed for low volume, low speed, narrow streets and provide much better guidance than sharrows.
Expect to see discussion of advisory cycling lanes in Brockville as the cycling network plan looks to address streets in the older sections of town. In particular, advisory cycling lanes would be a good facility to use on Water Street between Broad St and Home St.
for a full explanation of advisory cycling lanes see the City of Ottawa’s website here.
Many municipalities and a few provinces across Canada have made solid gains towards making cycling on public roads is a safe and convenient choice for getting around. Progress is also being made towards a national cycling strategy that would provide both opportunities and consistency in guidelines and funding. Canada Bikes is the national nonprofit organization leading this charge. Working with stakeholder organizations across the country, they have developed a primer called Towards a Bike-Friendly Canada: A National Cycling Strategy Overview (pdf). That and more is on the Canada Bikes website.
“The document is inspired by long-established frameworks already in place in the most advanced and successful bike-friendly countries in the world. We hope you find it helpful in describing what a national cycling strategy could do for Canada and for all of us.”
Communities across the continent are realizing the health, social, and economic benefits of designing neighbourhoods and cities, large and small, that encourage people to move themselves more often. This article explores the changes that are underway as paradigms continue to shift rapidly, and how different designs meet the needs of different types of activities. One compelling aspect of this article is the emphasis placed on the need for changes in thinking with respect to zoning, community design and political will. Read more here.
At the recent 9th annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto, both Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon, made announcements about province-wide cycling initiatives.
Minister Del Duca announced the release of Ontario’s provincial cycling network. The draft network, with a map of existing and proposed routes, is open for comment on the Ministry’s website. He noted that over 8,000 km of trails and bike lanes already exist in Ontario. This plan, which has gone through an initial design and round of public workshops, will combine existing and new routes into one network spanning the province, linking municipalities and points of interest, and bolstering the rapidly growing cycle-tourism sector.
(April 19) In regional news, Kingston has achieved yet another milestone in its vision to build “A Smart and Livable 21st Century City”, with an emphasis on active transportation as the guiding theme for all municipal projects. Kingston adds a Bronze designation as a Walk-Friendly Community to its previously awarded Bronze designation as as Bicycle Friendly Community. Kingston is cited for its engagement and encouragement of residents, province-leading participation rates in the annual commuter challenge, and an evidence-based approach to upgrading public facilities. Read more about Kingston’s achievement here.
In taking a fresh look at the plan for Brockville’s cycling network north of the 401 (see workplan here), City Council’s cycling advisory committee reviewed and reconfirmed the design principles guiding the selection of routes and facilities.
Cornwall is the latest Ontario municipality to gain a Bicycle Friendly Community accreditation. Cornwall, along with Cambridge, Collingwood, Temiskaming Shores and Whitby, join 31 other Bike Friendly Communities that are home to nearly 2/3 of Ontarians. Cornwall’s bronze designation recognizes that city’s progress on the “Five E’s”: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation/planning.
Read more in the Newswatch article here.
The Bicycle Friendly Community program was launched in Ontario in 2010 by the Share The Road Cycling Coalition, adapted from a similar program run by the Washington-based League of American Bicyclists. The primary program sponsor is the Canadian Automobile Association, and Trek Bicycles is also a sponsor.
Awards are granted after a rigorous application process, judged by a team of industry experts.
In this latest round, Kingston, London and Markham renewed their bronze designation, and Belleville, Essex, Midland and Norfolk County received an honourable mention.
Where’s Brockville? Our city received an honourable mention in 2013 and will apply again when sufficient progress has occurred.
Brockville City Council carried the first of two motions in a report from staff and the cycling committee, “THAT bicycle parking corrals be added to the Water Street parking lot, Hardy Park, Rotary Park, St. Lawrence Park and Memorial Park”.
“The City of Toronto joins a number of other Canadian cities in publishing Complete Street Guidelines. Ajax, Halifax, Calgary, Ottawa, London, Edmonton, Waterloo, and York are some of the cities that are taking strides towards building more inclusive, multipurpose, and safe streets. ”
The document is available for download on the City of Toronto’s website here.
Here’s an article in the local Gananoque Reporter which fairly summarizes the current quest for our county to implement a paved shoulders policy, accepting the established body of evidence on cost savings and safety gains for all road users.
Read the article here. (link corrected Jan 19/17) Read more posts about paved shoulders here.
Here’s a quick-to-read article reminding us that protected/buffered bike lanes, neighbourhood greenways and crosswalks/crossovers are simple, low-cost ways to trial or implement facilities of lasting value. Read more here.
In today’s world it’s commonly accepted that public roads are a shared community resource for moving people and goods. This is a big step forward from a generation ago when planning focused on moving motorized vehicles with minimal delay. However, it’s taken a long time for traffic engineering to change measurement systems to match. So it’s especially noteworthy to read that the U.S. DOT has concluded a multi-year process with a mandate that:
1. States will measure the movement of people, not just vehicles. Finally, a full bus will count as more than 1.
2. States will have to track their impact on carbon emissions.
3. People who choose to walk, bike or ride transit will be counted.
4. Free-flowing rush hour vehicular traffic is no longer the goal.
Measuring what matters is always important. When project planning and funding is based on more holistic measures, things change quickly! Read more here.
The USA is on track this year to kill 38,000 people in auto collisions, rapidly overtaking the 35,000 deaths by gun. An analysis of US vs European factors, coupled with emerging trends in selected US cities, shows how a different design approach pays dividends by reducing drivers’ ability to cause harm. Cities that implement Vision Zero – assuming people will make mistakes and designing facilities that reduce the impact of those mistakes – coupled with complete streets, and protected facilities for those walking and cycling, are yielding big reductions in fatalities. Read more here.
When it comes to road safety, the paradigm still holds that convenience trumps safety. Ottawa decided to overrule consultants’ recommendations and install facilities that wouldn’t inconvenience those driving. The result is a less than optimal solution in which the street is safer than before and cycling volumes have climbed quickly, yet could have been much better. Fortunately, one councilor steps forward to say about the needed culture shift, “It is a shift that has to happen. And to be fair to staff, it needs to happen at the political level … it is incumbent upon us. We’re the leaders, we can change the culture, we have the responsibility.” Read more here.
We live in a strange world in which road fatalities are normalized, expected and have been a socially acceptable price to pay for unfettered impatience. Finally, society is coming around to the notion that it’s not acceptable, and cities are starting to embrace Vision Zero. This editorial in the Globe and Mail hits the nail squarely on the head. Read more here.