Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit – Agenda

The agenda is set for the 4th Annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit to be held May 31st and June 1st in Carleton Place. Of note in the agenda, which is provided below, are an update on provincial funding programs for municipalities, the provincial cycling network, the provincial cycle tourism strategy, and a presentation by the lead investigator for the public health report prepared for Belleville which showed strong financial incentive for that city’s recent decision to approve further implementation of bike lanes. For registration, see here.

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Belleville Council Unanimously Approves Next Tranche Of Bike Lanes

Belleville city council has approved the next round of bike lanes to be installed, citing safety and encouragement of everday cycling, along with health benefits that will offset millions in healthcare costs over the next decade.

This blog reported recently on Belleville’s coming moves, as well as the report prepared by their regional health unit which used the World Health Organization’s model to monetize the health benefits. That study found that, “every dollar invested in related infrastructure for biking and walking could result in more than $2.78 to $5.56 in health benefits.”

Belleville is a city similar to Brockville, divided by Highway 401, the major rail lines and water courses. They also have some residents who went on record saying their street, Bridge Street, is too dangerous and they wanted to keep it that way, similar to a few residents on Laurier Blvd. in Brockville. However, “City staff indicated the street is wide enough for the lanes. Council voted unanimously for the project which will go ahead this year along with lanes on Adam Street and College Street East.”

What is notable in the reporting of the council meeting is the strong support from councillors to moving Belleville forward as a community in which public roads are safer for all, and their understanding that this is necessary for the future health and vitality of their city. As an example is Councillor Mitch Panciuk’s comment, “It is inexcusable that it took until 2016 for the city to have its first cycling lane and we have a long way to catch up.”

See the Intelligencer article here, and the Quinte News article here.
The Health Unit’s study can be found here (pdf).

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).

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.

St Lawrence Rec Trail Improvements

Click to enlarge

Improvements are underway to the western terminus of the St. Lawrence Recreational Trail along the 1000 Islands Pkwy corridor. This route is also part of the Great Waterfront Trail, used by thousands of people cycling each season. Those familiar with the Gananoque end of the Trail understand that it has been frequently criticized for its configuration. Cycling between that end of the Trail and Gananoque requires crossing the Parkway and using the edge of the eastbound entrance ramp from County Road 2.

The new configuration currently under construction and shown in the picture above will feature an extension of the Trail along the corridor of the exit ramp from the Parkway to County Road 2. That intersection is already controlled by traffic lights. From there the Trail route will run along bicycle lanes in the existing County Road 2 corridor, under the Parkway Bridge through the interchange, near to the gates of Gananoque.

The resulting Trail route will be much more welcoming for families and cycle tourists, improving Gananoque’s connection to this regional asset.

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.

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.

Belleville Gains Bicycle Friendly Community Designation

Belleville – 2017 Cycling Projects

Belleville is among the latest Ontario municipalities to gain a Bicycle Friendly Community accreditation. Belleville, along with Ingersoll, Brampton, and St. Thomas join recent recipients Cornwall, Cambridge, Collingwood, Temiskaming Shores and Whitby in this latest tranche of awards. To date, 10% of municipalities in Ontario have achieved this designation, and are home to over 2/3 of Ontarians. Read more about Belleville in the Intelligencer article here.

Continue reading “Belleville Gains Bicycle Friendly Community Designation”

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.

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.

NEWS: Joint Brock Trail & Cycling Project Scores Second Major Infrastructure Grant

Brockville’s project to extend the Brock Trail through the 401 corridor and extend the Trail from Laurier north to Centennial is receiving a $175,000 grant from the federal government.  Continue reading “NEWS: Joint Brock Trail & Cycling Project Scores Second Major Infrastructure Grant”

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.

Is Ottawa Really Bike Friendly?

Vehicular assault and failure to yield, a.k.a. "right hook" underway on Laurier St in Ottawa.
Vehicular assault and failure to yield, a.k.a. “right hook” underway on Laurier St in Ottawa.

An interesting opinion piece by Ottawa Citizen columnist David Reevely asks whether that city is doing enough, fast enough, to be called bicycle friendly.  He points to that city’s current budget for cycling facilities as inadequate, especially when compared to other big cities.  Of course, from where we sit in Brockville, the anti-lanerville of Eastern Ontario, what Mr. Reevely calls inadequate we would call a nice problem to have. Read here.