Cycling Committee To Endorse Brockville Participation In Provincial Funding Program

At its next meeting on July 13th, it’s expected that the City’s cycling advisory committee will pass motions endorsing Brockville’s application to participate in the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program, and recommending development of a cycling master plan for the City.

OMCCP Motions for BCAC meeting of July 13

Ontario Becomes First “Complete Streets” Province

Churchill Ave in Ottawa – an award winning complete streets project

The updated Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was released on May 18, 2017 and comes into effect July 1, 2017. (View or download here.) Significant new policy statements embedded in the update require that all road projects for new and renovated facilities will follow complete streets guidelines, and that active transportation is prioritized over private automobiles. Continue reading “Ontario Becomes First “Complete Streets” Province”

News: Edmonton’s Bike Network Opens

Edmonton is the most recent of several major Canadian cities to realize the benefits of implementing a cycling network all at once in a defined area. Well, that new network is set to open. Along with that their city website provides a full guide (pdf) for all street users, including safety tips for those cycling, or walking, or driving around the new facilities. Continue reading “News: Edmonton’s Bike Network Opens”

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.”

News: Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program

(May 29, 2017) The “Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program” (OMCCP) was announced today, deepening the province’s commitment to making it easier for commuters and families to get around by bike. In this year’s tranche of the multi-year program, the province is investing $50 million from its carbon market to fund this and other new initiatives that support commuter cycling infrastructure. The OMCCP will provide eligible municipalities with funding to build more bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure, or enhance existing infrastructure. This investment will help promote safety for cyclists and make cycling more comfortable and appealing for daily commutes and other frequent trips.

Of note for Brockville:

  • Only municipalities with a current cycling plan are eligible. Brockville does not have a current transportation plan, active transportation plan, or cycling plan. These were committed in the Official Plan, yet motions to move them forward have been defeated more than once at Council.
  • OMCC program funding may be used to develop a cycling plan, with up to 80% of the cost covered.
  • OMCC program funding may be used to develop cycling facilities, with up to 80% of the cost covered.
  • Program applications are open June 5th, with a deadline of August 18th.

This program is a follow-on to the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program under which Brockville is receiving $325,000 for projects currently underway. (Read here)

See the Ontario announcement here.
See OMCCP details here.

Separated Bike Facilities Crucial For Both Safety And Encouragement

Herkimer bike lane – Barry Gray, The Hamilton Spectator

From Cycling Industry News:

“A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health has concluded that physical separation from motor traffic is “crucial” to reducing the higher than average cyclist injury rates seen across the U.S.”

“In an leading editorial to sit alongside the deeper study, the authors write: ‘bicycle infrastructure can indeed help improve cycling safety and increase cycling levels. That is clearly demonstrated by decades of evidence from Europe, by the 10 US cities listed in Table 1 (below), and by the article on Boston by Pedroso et al. However, the type and quality of bicycle infrastructure matter as well. It is crucial to provide physical separation from fast-moving, high-volume motor vehicle traffic and better intersection design to avoid conflicts between cyclists and motor vehicles. More and better bicycle infrastructure and safer cycling would encourage Americans to make more of their daily trips by bicycle and, thus, help raise the currently low physical activity levels of the US population.'”  Read the article here.

 

Kingston Continues Investing In Safer Roads

Bath Rd, Kingston

A recent editorial in KingstonRegion.com outlines the process and plans for Bath Rd in Kingston, one of this region’s Bicycle Friendly Communities (which also include Belleville, Cornwall, Ottawa and Mississippi Mills).  As the editorial notes, “…cutting one lane from the diet of motorists will not only extend Kingston’s waterfront cycling trail but make this west-end section of Bath Road safer for all users. ‘There’s too much speeding, too many collisions, totally inhospitable to pedestrians and all but the most experienced cyclists.’” Read the editorial here.

Belleville Continues To Outpace Other Small Cities

Belleville Counc Egerton Boyce, photo by Jason Miller, Intelligencer 2017

As reported previously here, Belleville is a recent recipient of Share The Road’s “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation. This city of 49,000, divided like Brockville by the 401 and railroads, has a city council that understands and supports the economic business case for making the city more walk and bike friendly. The cycling facilities in their active transportation plan are being implemented at a quick pace. An article in the Intelligencer describes the current activity underway and the support that the plan is receiving. Also of note is the environmental study conducted for the city by their regional Health Unit. Among other things it is one of the few studies that has used the World Health Organization’s economic modelling to quantify and monetize the health benefits of small numbers of increased cyclists and activity in a small city.

Read the Intelligencer article here.
The Health Unit’s study can be found here (pdf).

Brockville Moves Closer To North-End Cycling Network

Click to enlarge

The Brockville cycling advisory committee, at its regular meeting in City Hall on Thursday May 10th at 5 p.m., will review the outcome of discussions for a holistic view of the cycling network that best fits Brockville’s neighbourhoods north of the 401. For background, please see the Brockville FAQs postings, including the report (pdf) unanimously approved by City Council in December 2015, and a revised work plan for the northern part of the cycling network later adopted by the committee.

As a gentle reminder, the cycling advisory committee is a formal Committee of Council that was established by unanimous vote of Council late in 2010. The committee’s terms of reference mandate that it advise Council and staff on ways to fulfill the commitments Council has made to residents through the Official Plan and other programs.

A brief history and context as well as a full discussion of the north-end cycling network is provided in the PDF document below, which is part of the agenda package for next week’s meeting. Anyone wishing to help support the committee in moving this forward is invited to attend the meeting, or contact them [this author will pass along messages].

BCAC CycleNet Discussion Paper, May 2017

4th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit

Save the date! The 4th annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summary will take place in Carleton Place on May 31st and June 1st. This annual event is a great place to learn about what’s happening in active transportation across the province and here in our region. Of special note this year is the number of significant provincial announcements including the provincial cycling network, the provincial cycle tourism strategy, a five-year commitment of provincial funding for cycling infrastructure and more.

Perhaps you’re a downtown business person, who wants to discover the economic potential of pedestrian and cycle friendly communities? Or a town planner, or staff person, wanting to learn best practice techniques for building a healthier town? Maybe you’re a resident that wants to be able to get around your community more easily and safely, on foot or on a bike. Come learn about simple concepts that make towns healthier, more vibrant, and stronger economically.

See here for more details including the agenda as it gets finalized.

Designing For Everyday Cycling

 

Herkimer bike lane
Barry Gray,The Hamilton Spectator

It’s most evident at public meetings, where typically only the polarized show up. On one end of the spectrum are the few who are “confident cyclists”, content to tackle any street anytime. While no more than 1% of even a bike friendly community, their voices are generally ignored as those of a fringe element.

On the other end of the spectrum, public meetings are often overwhelmed with those opposed who come with strident arguments and misinformation showing their street is better left untouched, as unsafe as they might claim it is. Intimidation tactics are often used to push people to sign petitions. Municipal councillors are deluged with phone calls and email that’s downright nasty in tone and content. Sometimes, outright deceit is used, for example, meeting with the fire chief and learning that bike lanes pose no problem for emergency response, and then running ads and soliciting petition signatures based on the assertion that bike lanes will slow emergency response and cost lives.

The risk of course is that municipal councils be swayed by these vocal minorities, avoiding conflict, under-serving the majority of residents, and leaving the community languishing in the rearguard of economic progress.

Categorization of cyclists

In between those poles, however, lie the majority of the population who are “interested, but concerned”. Research repeatedly shows that this group will rarely attend a public meeting, wants to have the choice to ride a bike more for everyday getting around, or for recreation, and will shy away from having to mix with motorized traffic.

Being informed by this evidence from many municipal studies, the Brockville cycling advisory committee adopted as one of its design principle:

Everyday Cycling – The segment of the population targeted by the network is first and foremost the “everyday” cyclist – those people who would like to bike recreationally to start, perhaps with friends and family, and then venture to use their bike for everyday trips around town for appointments, work, school, shopping and visiting.  Research shows this group is eager yet cautious – reluctant to mix with motorized traffic – and holds the greatest latent demand.  Safety for all ages, all abilities is considered. The network will also serve, but is not specifically designed for, those comfortable with and skilled at mixing with traffic on Brockville’s busier roads.

Following the research and case studies, is an article posted on Planetizen by public engagement strategist Dave Biggs of MetroQuest, “The Wisdom of Engaging Nervous Cyclists“.  He outlines the extensive outreach that Toronto did to engage people in that largely silent and less heard middle group. The results were outstanding and unequivocal, leading to design and plans much further reaching than might otherwise have happened.

“It was clear to the City of Toronto that engaging less confident cyclists that make up 60% of the population, yet seldom come to community meetings, might be the key to dramatic mode shifts in the city.”

And summarizing the results, “It’s useful to note that without careful consideration to the voices of the less confident cyclists, the results of the community engagement would have pointed to infrastructure suited to the 1% of the population who are already confident cyclists since they are highly engaged. Naturally it’s important to meet the needs of confident cyclists. By also accommodating those on the fence, planners can open up a massive opportunity for change.”

And an analogy worth keeping in mind, “A city without separated bike lanes and off-street cycling paths may be like a swimming pool with no shallow end. It’s fine for confident swimmers but intimidating for novices.”

 

Ontario Launches Cycling Tourism Strategy

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 McMahon unveiled Tour by Bike, a tourism strategy that will develop and market Ontario as a cycling destination. The Minister emphasized the positive economic impact of cycling tourism, an industry drawing 1.7 million visitors per year, who spend $428 million. Cycling visitors tend to spend more per trip than the average visitor, and tend to stay longer. In cycling tourism research studies last year in Halton, Prince Edward County and Windsor-Essex, 50% of Ontario by Bike registered businesses surveyed said that cyclists were either a core or regular part of their customer base, and 1,594 cyclist nights were recorded at registered accommodation locations.

Learn more about Ontario’s Cycling Tourism Strategy in the comprehensive website 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.

Benefits Of Cycling Are Far Reaching

Much has been studied and published on the individual and population-wide health benefits of cycling, as well as the myriad economic benefits. The consensus among politicians and professionals is deep and broad. Now, a new book elevates those findings to a global view, showing how small trips by millions can contribute to a healthier planet.

“The big changes–and they can be huge–happen when a nation doesn’t see cycling as a hobby, a sport, a mission, let alone a way of life. They happen when it becomes nothing more than a convenient, quick, cheap way of getting about, with the unintended bonus being the fact that you get some exercise in the process.” Read more here.

Waterloo Region To Pilot Network Of Protected Bike Lanes

 

Herkimer bike lane – Barry Gray, The Hamilton Spectator

(April 5, 2017) Waterloo Region is set to follow the lead of Calgary and Edmonton, giving a big boost to transportation by bike by implementing, all at once, a network of separated/protected bike lanes.  The article in The Record does a nice job of summarizing the pilot project. The report shown in the extract below does a great job of laying out the project rationale and objectives, as well as providing a summary of similar networks in other Canadian cities.

RegionOfWaterlooAgenda20170404

Leeds-Grenville Moves Ahead With Paved Shoulders

(April 4, 2017) In a unanimous vote today, the Committee of the Whole of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville passed the following motion:

THAT the Committee of the Whole recommends consideration of paved shoulders in its award of the 2017 County Road 2 contract for the reconstruction of part of the road between Johnstown and Cardinal; and

THAT staff prepare a full financial analysis of paved shoulders in the upcoming update of the Counties’ Asset Management Plan. 

If followed through, this would bring Leeds Grenville on par with jurisdictions regionally and further afield who have recognized the cost savings and myriad other benefits of paving shoulders on rural roads.

The report that CAO Andy Brown prepared for the Committee lays out the full rationale for the recommendation. An extract of the agenda package, with that report, is attached.

LeedsGrenvilleCmteWhole20170404

In a related motion, the Committee endorsed a call on the province to commit further funding to the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program. Details are in the agenda package above.

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”