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

carcrash-1-630x420

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

o-connor-bike-lane-crash-november-8
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.

Hamilton Joins Other Cities In Adopting Parking-Protected Bike Lanes

Parking Protected Bike Lane (NACTO)
Parking Protected Bike Lane (NACTO)

As this article relates, Hamilton’s parking protected bike lanes are here to stay, joining Toronto’s recent implementation along Bloor St downtown, Winnipeg (in 2014), Vancouver and many other cities across N. A. The older approach of sandwiching a bike lane between moving traffic and a line of parked cars proved to be excessively risky – when an inattentive motorist opens a door into traffic without looking, a person approaching on a bike has nowhere to go but into the moving traffic. The simple expedient of putting the bike lane between the parking lane and the curb solves the problem, as described in the design documents from the NACTO – the National Association of Transportation Officials. This is a design that will work well on Laurier Blvd in Brockville.

Update Bike Parking Guidelines From APBP

short_guide_webThe good folks at the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, with engineering, consulting and planning at its core, have updated their guidelines on how to provide usable bike parking facilities.

APBP prepared Essentials of Bike Parking for people planning to purchase or install bike parking fixtures on a limited scale. It is a brief overview of APBP’s comprehensive Bicycle Parking Guidelines handbook. This 12-page guide covers the following topics:
• Site planning for short- and long-term parking
• Installation
• Bicycle rack selection–including performance criteria, rack styles, and materials and coatings
• Placement and spacing

Within APBP’s guidelines, the guide is embedded below. essentialsofbikeparking2015

The Limits Of Data-Based Plannning

DreamBike“When it comes to transportation planning, we have copious data about some things, and almost nothing about others. Plus, there’s an evident systematic bias in favor of current modes of urban transportation and travel patterns. The car-centric data we have about transportation fundamentally warps the field’s decision-making. Unless we’re careful, over-reliance on big data will only perpetuate that problem—if not make it worse.” Read more here.

Safe Infrastructure Benefits Replicated In London

Strava Heat Map of Central London Cycling Activity
Strava Heat Map of Central London Cycling Activity

The latest annual Attitudes to Cycling Report by Transport for London adds to the large and ever-growing body of evidence that implementation of safe infrastructure for cycling draws a massive uptake in cycling activity from among those self-identifying at “interested by cautious”. This article provides highlights and also a link to the study’s report.
Read here.

Motorists Prefer Bike Lanes Be Protected

Parking protected bike lane on Sherbrook in Winnipeg
Parking protected bike lane on Sherbrook in Winnipeg

This article in Momentum Mag highlights the findings of a survey out of San Francisco that mirrors findings by the Green Lane Project in several other American cities. The key finding is that those driving prefer roads with bike lanes, preferably protected bike lanes, simply because all traffic is more orderly. Read here.