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”

Healthy Kids Community Grant Funds “Brock Trail Adventure Club”

HealthyKids1Grade 5/6 children in Brockville are exploring the Brock Trail in active ways thanks to a grant from the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Leeds and Grenville Community Project Fund.

This project provides children (grade 5/6) theHealthyKids2
opportunity to explore the expanded Brock Trail system through an after school program. Facilitated by the Brockville Police Service, the Brock Trail Adventure Club will run two nights a week, serving a different school each week. Sessions will include an educational component on outdoor and trail safety as well as an opportunity to explore the Brock Trail through a variety of activities such as biking, scavenger hunts, and compass use.

This project is a collaboration amongst the Brockville Police Service, Brock Trail Committee, Brockville Cycling Advisory Committee and Kinsmen Club of Brockville.  Read more.

News: 2016 Bicycle Friendly Communities Awards

TB_BFC
Thunder Bay receiving Bronze award at 2015 Ontario Bike Summit

At the Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto last week, communities offering residents and visitors a bicycle friendly experience were honoured for their achievements. The following communities were awarded Bicycle Friendly status: Burlington – Silver (moved up from Bronze), Niagara Falls – Bronze (New in 2016) and Mississippi Mills – Bronze (New in 2016). Oakville, Oshawa, Richmond Hill and Welland were renewed at their Bronze designation levels, while Hamilton was renewed with a Silver designation.  An Honourable Mention was given to North Bay.

Continue reading “News: 2016 Bicycle Friendly Communities Awards”

News: Toronto’s Bloor Street Ready To Join The Cycling Age

A long time in the making, support for bike lanes on Toronto’s Bloor St. now appears strong and consistent across all stakeholders.

“Never before have we had so many people – and not just the usual suspects – take up the cause,” said Cycle Toronto director Jared Kolb. “We’ve got strong political leadership locally, strong business support, residents and residents’ associations and a growing amount of data that backs up the argument in an unbiased, scientific way.”  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”

Active Mobility Is Active Prevention For Diabetes

Today, April 7th is World Health Day 2016, devoted to diabetes.  The epidemic of type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be stemmed, slowed and prevented by population-wide modest increases in everyday activity.

Today, the World Health Organization released a “Global Report on Diabetes” (pdf) which reports, “Urban planning and active transport policies can ensure that walking, cycling and other forms of non-motorized transport are accessible and safe for all.”  Active mobility is so valuable because it offers modes of transportation that insert incidental physical activity into everyday life.

DiabetesWe know that our current health care system is financially unsustainable, and that even small incremental increases in physical activity return large offsets in health care costs.  One-time investments in infrastructure and encouragement for active mobility return 10 to 20 times in future annual health care offsets.

Brockville City Council have endorsed an Official Plan, Sustainability Plan and Healthy Community Vision that all include a commitment to improved infrastructure for walking and cycling.  Hold Council accountable.

News: FCM’s National Measures Report Includes Active Mobility

FSMPCPThe Partners for Climate Protection program’s National Measures Report 2015 shows how local governments across Canada develop and use climate change action plans to reduce carbon emissions, enhance the environment and create healthier and more resilient communities.

Increasing modal share of active transportation is a key factor in reducing GHGs from transportation and creating opportunities for improved health.

60% of Canadians live in one of the 280 municipalities active as Partners for Climate Protection. Brockville is not one of them.

News: Research shows neighbourhood design linked with activity levels

IMG_2346E1cC2“Design of urban environments has the potential to contribute substantially to physical activity. Similarity of findings across cities suggests the promise of engaging urban planning, transportation, and parks sectors in efforts to reduce the health burden of the global physical inactivity pandemic.”

This cross-sectional study measured the activity of 7,000 individuals in 14 cities around the world, finding strong a strong link between the walkability of the urban environment, and people’s everyday activity levels.

Read article here, and the study abstract here.

Active Mobility Boosts Mental Health Too

While the physical health benefits of regular SmilingRideexercise are well studied and generally well known, evidence on the mental health benefits has been growing too in recent years.  This is especially true for exercise like walking and biking, especially outside in a natural (green) setting, and especially when integrated into the activities of daily living. All the more reason to leave the car parked and walk or bike!  Read more.

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.

The call for healthier school travel

Much research has been done for the health NoIdlingand learning benefits of walking or cycling to school. It’s also shown that a significant “rush hour” traffic load is comprised of people driving kids to school, most often very short distances.  Yet recently published research delves into the question of how harmful vehicle emissions are for young minds.

Continue reading “The call for healthier school travel”