Windsor Council’s recent decision to put bike lanes on busy Pillette Rd, removing parking on one side, provides an instructive case study for Brockville’s Laurier Blvd. Continue reading “City Of Windsor Bike Lanes Provide Case Study For Brockville”
The long-overdue development of an active transportation plan for Brockville, first committed a decade ago in the Official Plan, finally gets underway. At this evening’s Finance Admin and Operations committee meeting (City Hall, 4:30 PM), an operations staff report outlining the results of the bid process will be presented and the committee will be asked to approve moving ahead with the selected bidder. That approval will then move forward in the FAO consent agenda to full Council on Tuesday, May 22.
Come out and show the committee and Council that you support moving ahead to develop, approve and then adopt an active transportation plan for the City. It’s also a great opportunity, with a municipal election coming in November, to listen to councilors comments and see who are supportive of Brockville’s residents gaining the health, social, environmental, and economic benefits of becoming a healthier, more active place to live, work, grow, and play.
If you’re wanting to get back on a bike to relive the fun you had as a kid or perhaps get around town more easily and cheaply, yet you’re worried about doing so because maybe you’re out of shape, carrying more weight than you’d like to admit, or perhaps just getting older and worried about distance and hills, then a “pedelec” e-bike might be just the ticket. A “pedelec” looks and rides like a regular bike, yet you can dial in a variable amount of boost from an electric motor to help with hills, headwinds, or heavy loads. Read more here.
In his paper, “Mobility and Innovation: the New Transportation Paradigm”, Todd Litman, founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, explores the economic, social and health imperatives behind the radical shifts in transportation policy and practices sweeping the developed world.
Recognizing that the major transportation innovations of the last few decades don’t help us get to places faster but instead more cheaply, more conveniently, and more safely, the author then notes that, “The human experience is increasingly urban. Cities are, by definition, places where many people and activities locate close together. This proximity facilitates positive interactions, both planned (accessing shops, services, jobs and entertainment) and unplanned (encountering old friends while walking on the street or riding in a bus, or seeing interesting products in a store window). As a result, urban living tends to increase our productivity and creativity, a phenomenon known as economies of agglomeration.”
That very process of agglomeration however, traditionally built around the automobile, spawns challenges of congestion, cost, pollution and declining health. The author then fully explores the dynamics of the new transportation and planning paradigms that have taken hold over the last decade, more focused on putting people first, and allowing people to move and interact conveniently, comfortably, and safely.
It’s a fascinating “big picture” read which you can find here.
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.
As more cities try to improve walkability–from car-free “superblocks” in Barcelona to heat-protected walkways in Dubai–a new report outlines the reasons behind the shift, the actions that cities can take to move away from a car-centric world, and why walkability matters. Read more here.
A good article summarizing factors behind the continued and accelerating growth of cycling. https://www.ecowatch.com/bicycling-soar-popularity-2515406297.html
It’s somewhat absurd to complain about free street parking being reduced from an oversupply of 20x maximum observed demand down to 10x. Yet that’s the core of the anti-laners’ grievance on Laurier Blvd. Continue reading “How Much Excess Parking Capacity Is Needed?”
“Cities are their streets. Great cities are those with great streets. Other things matter, of course — parks, buildings, transit — but it’s streets that bring a city to life, that make it a place people choose to live, visit, work, play . . .” Click through here to see a wonderful piece on how Toronto’s streets are coming alive as they’re reclaimed to put people first.
In our community of Brockville, like most cities, especially post-industrial centres struggling to rebuild, we have a socio-demographic cohort of those living with low income. These are the “invisible cyclists”, those for whom walking and cycling is a necessity rather than a choice. For various reasons they often don’t have an opportunity to participate in surveys, attend public information sessions, or have their voices heard in forums discussing better choices in safely getting around town for work, school, shopping and appointments.
Invisible cyclists don’t travel in packs, wearing brightly coloured Lycra outfits. They likely aren’t seen leisurely cruising the Brock Trail either. Rather, they are to be found at dusk or dawn, often on a cast-off bike, headed to or from work. Or coming home from shopping, or a few bags of groceries hung from the handlebars. Easy transportation and the ability to carry packages is an often overlooked yet simple factor in food equity.
One of the considerations in designing a network of cycling routes is that it be safe, convenient, and easily navigable by those of All Ages & Abilities. A cycling network that includes as key destinations workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies, schools and so on helps to serve invisible cyclists.
Designing for “everyday cycling”, one of the design principles of Brockville’s nascent network, is an important aspect of supporting social equity that must not be overlooked.
Other cycling-related approaches which address social inequity around basic transportation could include installing a small bike share with four or five bikes at Community Hub locations, providing an easier way to get to and from the grocery store than walking. Another common approach is supporting the establishment and operation of a bike repair co-op or a “bicycle recycle” shop.
For a great article on invisible bikers, read here.
For a deeper, evidence-based exploration of how social equity factors into the benefits and challenges of active transportation, see this paper (pdf) from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
An insightful academic piece published by the World Economic Forum explores the failing economy of our automobile centric lifestyle. The average private automobile in Canada costs $9,000 per year to own and operate and sits idle 95% of the time, and in Brockville carries 1.1 people on average. Our infatuation with automobiles kills people at the same time as it is killing our planet, and the author contends we are on the cusp of massive changes.
An article published by the AARP under their “Livable Communities – Great Places for All Ages” banner enumerates ten ways that bicycle friendly communities are good for everyone. Yes, even those who may never get on a bike. While this may be yet another great summary of the ever-mounting evidence in support of the social, health and economic benefits, it goes a step further by linking the benefits to making a city more age friendly. Brockville, a city that to date has failed to be designated as bike friendly, walk friendly, age friendly or youth friendly could use some of this common sense. Read the article here.
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
This article from the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment describes their toolkit: “Prescribing Active Travel for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet: A Toolkit for Health Professionals – to help health professionals become advocates of active transportation and transit with their patients and in their communities. The toolkit is designed with five stand-alone modules so people can focus on the ones of most interest to them. Module 1 describes the health, environmental and social benefits of active travel. Module 2 provides strategies to motivate patients to use active travel. Module 3 explains the links between active transportation and community design. Module 4, designed for health professionals in southern Ontario, focuses on Ontario’s Growth Plan and how it impacts active travel. Module 5 provides strategies for promoting change in one’s community.”
Read the article and download the toolkit here.
“According to a certain perspective that seems to hold sway among local newspaper columnists [and writers of letters to editors], bicyclists are reckless daredevils who flout the road rules that everyone else faithfully upholds. But the results of a massive survey published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use point to a different conclusion — everyone breaks traffic laws, and there’s nothing extraordinary about how people behave on bikes.”
This isn’t the first research effort to reach this conclusion, and it likely won’t be the last.
“Small, rural communities have different realities than their urban counterparts, especially when it comes to active transportation. Most have limited financial resources, but extensive road infrastructure to maintain. Rural geography generally means large distances and low density. The prevailing attitudes regarding transportation may be quite focused on cars. Finally, most evidence on AT is urban based, leaving a gap in knowledge.”
As reported many times, the notion of licensing bicycles seldom gains traction. Despite that, most cities have a councilor or two who don’t pay attention to what happens in other cities, or perhaps simply look for a convenient soapbox. From the report in The Hamilton Spectator, we’re about to see a couple of councilors there learn the lesson too.
Read more here.
Across the land, as active transportation gains steadily restore publicly-funded roads to safer use by the general public, regardless of mode of movement chosen at any given time, someone, somewhere, is asking why licences aren’t required, either for bikes or those who ride them. Over decades, a lasting legacy of articles and council decisions have honed the responses to a simple set. Many cities do offer bike registration for theft recovery (Brockville being one, thanks to the Kinsmen Club), and some cities have bicycle licensing statutes that are largely ignored by all. However, they are the exception. Continue reading “A Lasting Legacy Of Licensing Losses”
Here’s an interesting article in MomentumMag, a Canadian publication, by Elly Blue, an American author, drawing on Canadian, US and European research (road funding is pretty much the same everwhere), that helps illuminate who really pays for roads. It turns out, no surprise, that we all pay for the public roads that move people and goods – primarily through property and income taxes. It also turns out, no surprise again for this well-documented topic, that every kilometer traveled on foot or by bike or transit has a net economic and social benefit, while every kilometer driven has a net economic and social cost. While we all benefit from a safe network of public roads, those who only drive pay far less than they consume.
Next time you’re confronted by someone claiming that “cyclists need to pay their fair share”, show them this (or any number of academic studies), and ask them for their supporting evidence.
Read article here.
Across the USA, “a new generation of advocates is pushing for diversity and inclusion to sit at the front of the [bicycling] movement and make social equity the primary goal.” In Canada too, there’s a building wave of support for active mobility – walking, biking and transit – to provide safe and affordable transportation choices for those of all abilities – including ability to afford transportation. Remember, those living within constrained means pay property taxes too, and thus subsidize those who can afford to own and operate private vehicles. Read article here.