Ontario Active School Travel – April Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Green Communities Canada on Active School Travel highlights funding for community projects, an updated website, and updates on bike to school week, a seminar on air pollution hazards around drop-off zones, and more. Check out the newsletter here, where you can also subscribe for updates.

New Survey: Continued Public Support For Cycling In Ontario

A new survey by Nanos Research for Share the Road adds to the trend in earlier robust research showing continued and strong public support for improving cycling in Ontario. The majority agree that getting more people riding bikes benefits everyone, that public funding should be used to improve cycling infrastructure, that investments in cycling are important for public health, and more.

One note of interest in this survey is the support for cycling’s impact on social equity, with the majority strongly or somewhat agreeing with the statement, “Cycling isn’t just about recreation, it’s about equality. For many individuals transportation costs are a major financial burden. If someone’s only or best way to get to work or go shopping is a bike, they should have the option to ride their bike and ride it in safety. That’s a good reason for the provincial government to promote cycling in Ontario.”

Of no surprise is the continued finding that roughly half of those surveyed thought negatively about the behaviour of those driving, and half of those surveyed thought negatively about the behaviour of those cycling. This aligns with other research showing that those cycling and those driving float the law in about equal numbers.

The full presentation and report makes for interesting reading and adds to the body of evidence showing general public support to improve cycling in the province. For further information and links to download this and previous research, read more here.

Methodology: Nanos conducted an online survey of 1,004 Ontarians, 18 years of age or older, between April 5th and 10th, 2018.  The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Ontario. The research was commissioned by Share the Road Cycling Coalition and was conducted by Nanos.

 

70% Of Ontarians Now Live In A Bicycle Friendly Community

At the 10th Annual Ontario Bike Summit held last weekend Toronto, the Town of Caledon and the Town of Cobourg were awarded the Bicycle Friendly Community designation at the bronze level. This brings to 42 the number of Bicycle Friendly Community designated municipalities in the province. Fully 70% of Ontarians now live in a bike friendly community.

The City of Waterloo achieved gold status, becoming the first mid-size city in Ontario to do so and joining Toronto and Ottawa at that gold level.

There are now 3 gold, 8 silver, and 31 bronze designated Bicycle Friendly Communities in Ontario, evidence of the momentum underway to create a truly bicycle friendly province. These are the municipalities realizing the economic benefits of creating healthier, more desirable places to live, work, grow, and play.

Read more here.

Ontario Launches New Round Of Cycling Initiatives

Last week the province launched a new round of cycling initiatives, “Action Plan 2.0”, to extend, deepen and diversify the progress made under “Action Plan 1.0”.

The plan is based on Ontario’s cycling strategy delivered in 2013, “#CycleON“, reconfirming and extending the delivery of facilities, programs and services that encourage more people to get on bikes more often, for purpose and for pleasure.

Read the provincial announcement here.
Learn more about cycling in Ontario and download the cycling strategy, Action Plan 1.0, and Action Plan 2.0 documents here.

 

Action Plan 2.0 Posted For Comment

Action Plan 2.0 of the Ontario Cycling Strategy #CYCLEON has been published for public input on the Environmental Registry website as well as MTO’s website. The plan continues and strengthens program elements begun in  Action Plan 1.0 (pdf), with continued emphasis on Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning.

The proposed Action Plan 2.0 is open for public comment until March 7.

See here for the Environmental Registry page.
See here for the Action Plan 2.0 proposal (pdf) on MTO’s website.

Save The Date: Brockville, May 10-11: 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit

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.

For information on past year’s Summits, and to see the agenda for this year as it firms up, please see: http://healthyllg.org/active_transportation.html

Brockville Gains In Provincial OMCCP Announcement

Ontario’s momentum toward becoming a more bicycle-friendly province took a big step forward today with the announcement of funding details in the first year’s tranche of the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program (OMCCP). Brockville’s grant for 2018 will be $183,362.

Continue reading “Brockville Gains In Provincial OMCCP Announcement”

Second Pedestrian Crossover Now Operational in Brockville

Photo by Dale Elliott, HometownTV12, 2017

A key piece of the “401 corridor” project (see background here) of the Brock Trail is a pedestrian crossover on Ormond St. at Bramshot.

A pedestrian crossover (PXO) is a signed and sometimes signal-lighted crossing of a road at a location that does not have a traffic light or stop sign to regulate through traffic flow. (MTO reference)

For those driving or cycling: When you see a pedestrian with intent to cross, which may be indicated by flashing lights, come to a complete stop. Remain stopped while people are in the PXO. You may proceed when the person walking has left the road.

For those walking: Press the beg button to activate the lights. Stand facing the crossing, optionally with arm pointing to cross the road. Wait for vehicular traffic to stop, then cross the road.

For those cycling along the trail: Get off your bike. See above “for those walking”. Riding across a crossover or crosswalk is illegal.

More PXO’s have been approved by Council and will be installed along the Trail at crossings on Henry St, St Paul St, Cedar St, Laurier Blvd at Bridlewood, Centennial Rd, and Perth St, with more to come in following years.

The two existing crossovers and those listed above are part of projects initiated and driven by the Brock Trail committee and cycling advisory committee working together. In 2018, the City will be undertaking an Active Transportation Plan which will then be approved and adopted by Council. The public workshops that will be part of the development of the plan will be the opportunity to come out and help identify the many other locations across the city where crosswalks and crossovers are needed.

For more about the new PXO, see Dale Elliott’s report on HometownTV12.
On Facebook, also see the Brockville Police video.

Active Transportation Gaining Ground In Canada

“There have been big jumps over the last two decades in the number of Canadians cycling and taking transit to work, while the increase in car commuting, which remains the method used by most people, lagged behind the rate of population growth in major centres.
The new numbers are part of a release of census data that paints a picture of a country that is gradually changing how it gets around.”

Read article here.

Giving People Walking A Safe Start

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.

Roads Are For Moving People

Brockville’s official plan, like any other, declares that public roads exist to move people and goods.

A current and comprehensive transportation plan, which Brockville does not have, would then go on to stipulate the relative priority given to different modes of transportation and then go into some detail on the current and future transportation network of the city. Cities usually define the modal priorities as pedestrians, then cyclists, then transit, with private automobiles last.

The linked article describes how the city of London England has greatly improved the overall efficiency of their transportation system by designing and implementing roadways that match their priorities. This includes designated bicycle highways as well as facilities on shared roads. When people are offered choices they perceived to be viable as well as safe then more rational outcomes result.

In London, the result is a system in which cycling proves to be five times more efficient than driving, without even considering the associated health and environmental benefits.

Read more here.

Carpe Hibernum – Enjoying Canadian Winter

Looking for a way to enjoy the crisp blue skies and winter delights with friends and family in the great Canadian outdoors?

Then check out the Triangle Ski Club at their open house on Sunday December 10th. The Club offers a warm clubhouse and well-maintained trails from beginner to challenging for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and winter fatbiking.

For directions and details, see the website here.

Lessons From Rural BC

The City of Vernon, BC, population 40,000, easily exceeds Brockville in terms of the pickup truck centric lifestyle core to a large cohort of residents. Yet despite that, Vernon’s city council and staff understand the economic development and other benefits as they join the competition to “create more livable and desirable communities”. Like Brockville, they’re a long way from being walk and bike friendly; however, they are on the path.
Read more here.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer On Designing Cities For Healthy Living

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, in her just-released report, calls for better design and delivery of supports and infrastructure for active mobility in our built environment as one key and immediately actionable way to stem the growing twin scourges of obesity and inactivity. These are gateway conditions leading to diseases that sap quality of life, raise health care costs, and drain economic productivity.

Read article here (has link to download report).

People On Bikes Greatly Outnumber Cyclists

New parking-protected bike lane on Toronto’s Bloor St just prior to completion.

Matt Pender’s piece in The Star, talking about the success of Toronto’s Bloor St bicycle facilities, reminds us once again that when we build cycling facilities that serve the majority, we’re not serving the already-committed minority who would call themselves cyclists. Rather, we are targeting the nearly two-thirds of people who occasionally ride a bike and will eagerly do so more often when they feel safe. Indeed, designing for the “everyday cyclist” always results in a large uptake of cycling activity. The growth is entirely from the cohort of “people who ride a bike”. This busts the myth of the few remaining anti-laners who proclaim, “We don’t need bike lanes; there are no cyclists on the street.” The evidence is clear. Build it and people will ride. Read Matt’s article here.

Walkable Cities’ Health And Economic Benefits

Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)

Andre Picards’ opinion piece in the Globe and Mail summarizes quite nicely several years of research and case studies on the economic and health benefits of designing cities to be more walkable. His short and insightful piece summarizes our current state well: “Walking has to become a lever for social change, big and small – for everything from healthier neighbourhoods to a more sustainable planet – and walkability needs to be imbued into the DNA of urban planning.”
Read the article here.

NYC Adds To Case Studies Of Success

Those of us who live in slow-starter small cities rely on the larger cities and their deeper resources to figure out what works really well and what doesn’t, and to measure and publish their results. Cities like Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and others have all got great stories to tell. In this short article, New York City’s Department of Transportation summarizes the results of a multi-year investment in cycling facilities, revealing some stunning yet not surprising numbers over a five-year period, including a 50% increase in regular cyclists and an 80% increase in cycle commuting.
Read the article here, or download the report PDF here.

 

Ontario Introducing Tougher Penalties For Bad Driving

Ontario drivers who put others at risk, especially those walking or cycling, risk losing their privilege to drive, paying much steeper fines, facing jail time, and earning higher demerit points that come with years of higher insurance premiums. Of special note, convictions for distracted driving will incur escalating penalties up to a 30 day license suspension, $3,000 fine and 6 demerit points for 3rd conviction. Failing to stop at a pedestrian crosswalk, crossover or school crossing will earn you a $1,000 fine and four demerit points.  Continue reading “Ontario Introducing Tougher Penalties For Bad Driving”