“Advisory Cycling Lanes” Starting To Appear

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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.

Towards a Bike-Friendly Canada: A National Cycling Strategy Overview

Crossing Laurier Ave in Ottawa – Photo: Hans Moor

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.”

How Your Suburb Can Make You Healthier

photo from Momentum Mag

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.

Provincial Cycling Network Draft Posted For Comment

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.

This initiative stems from Action Plan 1.0 of #CycleON, the provincial cycle strategy.  The draft plan is open for comments on the Environmental Registry until May 12, 2017.

Kingston Achieves Walk-Friendly Designation

(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.

Brockville Cycling Committee Reaffirms Design Principles

New bike lanes on King St W and Cty Rd 2 in Brockville (Oct 10, 2016, photo: A Medcalf))

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.

Continue reading “Brockville Cycling Committee Reaffirms Design Principles”

Cornwall Gains Bicycle-Friendly Community Designation

Photo: Bill Kingston, Newswatch Group, 2016

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.

Toronto’s New Complete Streets Guide

As described in this release from the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, the City of Toronto adopted a complete streets policy in 2014 and has now released it’s design guidelines document to support the program.

“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.

In Pursuit Of Paved Shoulders

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.

Measuring What Matters

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.

Turning The Tide Of Road Carnage

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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.

Ottawa Admits Trading Safety For Convenience

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O’Connor St, Ottawa (Youtube)

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.

Road Carnage Finally Getting Attention

practice-area-pedestrian-accidents-2 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.

Safer Cycling Through Improved Infrastructure

In this editorial in the Applied Journal of Public Health, two well-known researchers describe their latest investigation of facilities that both improve safety and encourage more people to choose to bike.  John Pucher is with Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. Ralph Buehler is with the School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, Alexandria.

Read the article here (pdf)

Continue reading “Safer Cycling Through Improved Infrastructure”

Why Lane Width Matters

laneThis excerpt from NACTO’s (National Association of City Transportation Officials) explains why too-wide lanes create undue risk in urban environments.

Lane widths of 10 feet are appropriate in urban areas and have a positive impact on a street’s safety without impacting traffic operations.

In Brockville, think King St W between Clarissa and Rivers, Laurier Blvd, and others. The simple expedient of painted buffers serves to slow traffic to neighbourhood speeds without impacting capacity.  Read more here.

Vision Zero Perspective On Reducing Road Carnage

vision-zeroIn a recent consultation in Toronto, Sweden’s manager of that country’s successful Vision Zero program highlighted the change in paradigm needed to improve road safety. A paradigm that accepts that people make mistakes, and that designs roads better to reduce the opportunity for and impact of those mistakes.

“You have to realize that you have young people, you have old people, you have all kinds of people. With a philosophy like Vision Zero, you take that for granted. Instead of starting to change them, you have to start to accommodate for them and design a system for humans.” 

Read more here.

[To date, Vision Zero has been endorsed in Edmonton and Vancouver, with Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa circling closer and closer to adoption.]

Brockville’s First Bike Lanes

New bike lanes on King St W and Cty Rd 2 in Brockville (Oct 10, 2016)
New bike lanes on King St W and Cty Rd 2 in Brockville (Oct 10, 2016)

Line painting on King St W and Cty Rd 2, along with new signs, clearly show Brockville’s first bike lanes.  Some stencil and line painting remains, yet the lanes are marked and in force. This segment is part of the Ontario Waterfront Trail, and the eastbound welcome to Brockville for some 3,000 or more cyclist tourists each season.  It’s also a popular route for local commuters and recreational riders.

The original four lane configuration has been upgraded to two bike lanes, two motorized travel lanes, and a centre left turn lane. The road continues to provide significant excess capacity for measured volumes.

First proposed and approved by council in the 2009 Official Plan, further reinforced in planning rationale in 2012, and once again approved by council and Leeds Grenville public works in late 2015, they are finally a reality.

Institute Of Transportation Engineers Speaks Out

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

It’s not only the Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers that supports the rapid shift away from car-centricity to more holistic and safer use of public roads, regardless of mode of transportation. In the USA, the 13,000 strong Institute of Transportation Engineers have joined other professional groups in calling for federal oversight to change in line with the times. Read more here.