Small Businesses Embrace Becoming Bike Friendly

photo from Momentum Mag
photo from Momentum Mag

This article in Report On Business describes how small businesses in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and elsewhere are waking up to the reality that bicycle facilities in front of their locations are indeed great for their business.

“There’s been a sea change in the attitude about cyclists and frankly the value that the cycling community and the cycling consumer is bringing to the marketplace,” says Charles Gauthier, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. “Businesses are responding by making it clear they’re catering to them.” Read article 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.

Enforcement Of One Metre Passing Law Begins In Ottawa

Photo: CBC Ottawa
Photo: CBC Ottawa

As this CBC story relates, misunderstanding of road rules continues to proliferate and some people remain staunchly in an entitled state of mind. Online reactions show clearly that bullying, harassment and intimidation, long outlawed and rendered socially unacceptable in the workplace and schoolyard, are rife on the road and online. Add in CBC’s persistent penchant for fueling foment, and nobody seems served well by this approach to the conversation. Read CBC article here.

Continue reading “Enforcement Of One Metre Passing Law Begins In Ottawa”

The Real Cost Of Free Parking

freeparkingThis article from the Washington Post is yet another that explains how there is no such thing as “free parking”. In downtown Brockville, the complimentary parking is paid for by DBIA members who then recover the cost as part of their overhead expenses, that is, in prices charged for goods and services.  At big box stores, free parking has a cost that’s recovered from prices of groceries, hardware, clothing and so on.  This is yet another way that automobile-centricity in urban design and execution introduces social inequities. The solution?  Decouple the cost and charge for parking everywhere. Read more here.

Moving Beyond Vehicular Cycling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a thoughtful exploration of how Europe and Montreal managed to pull so far ahead of North America in encouraging far more people to cycle for pleasure and for purpose.  In fact, about 30 years ahead.  Vehicular cycling is a necessary skill set when cycling, yet is shown over and over to be wholly insufficient in encouraging people to cycle. The article also nicely counters the anti-laners’ stance of “just share the road”. Read here.

Ontario By Bike! June e-Newsletter

Great Waterfront Trail Adventure 2014 - credit: Erika Jacobs
Great Waterfront Trail Adventure 2014 – credit: Erika Jacobs

Ontario By Bike! is the leading organization in the province for cycling tourism, the most rapidly growing tourism sector. Cycle tourism ranges the gamut from single day or weekend adventures to multi-week tours, complete with culinary delights, cultural attractions and like-minded company. Their regular e-newsletter provides an update on highlights and developments.  Sign up for a free e-subscription or read the most recent newsletter here.

Learning From Others – Toronto’s Roncesvalles Lanes

Martin Reis Roncy 2
Photo of Roncesvalles by Martin Reis

This article provides some lessons learned about implementing bike lanes in Toronto.  Those of us in cities a generation behind can watch, listen and learn, avoiding those mistakes and using current best practices.  The article’s summary is especially helpful in setting the stage for infrastructure that works, at the same time further debunking the vehicular cycling approach:

Albert Koehl, a founder of Bells on Bloor and environmental lawyer, says “We should think of separated bike lanes as part of a broader set of safety measures,” that include lower speed limits, narrower traffic lanes, a Vulnerable Road User Law, speed cameras, improved pedestrian crossings and public education programs. 

“Better road safety requires a change in approach that means taking speed and space away from automobiles,” Koehl says. 

Toronto, he argues, should stop pretending that roads can safely be shared by cyclists, pedestrians and cars. 

“The traditional attitude of ‘why can’t we all just get along’ simply serves and perpetuates the dangerous status quo,” Koehl says. 

Read the Now Toronto article here.


Why Suburbia Is Literally Depressing

Suburgatory - from GoogleEarth
Suburgatory – from GoogleEarth

Here’s a fascinating essay on why people’s souls are dulled by typical suburban design. It also provides context to understand better why “complete street” treatment of urban corridors, with better sidewalks, bicycle facilities,  pedestrian crossings, crossing refuges and intersection bulb-outs, can make streets like Laurier Blvd more livable, inviting more walking and cycling, taming traffic, restoring their family-friendly face and social ambiance, and raising property values.  Read more here.

Streetside Spots Create Urban Oases In Ottawa

Photo by Joanne Chianello, CBC
Photo by Joanne Chianello, CBC

Even while Ottawa’s formal “complete streets” policy takes root and projects quickly ramp up, small projects with a tactical urbanism flair are sweeping neighbourhoods and BIA’s.  In the Quartier Vanier BIA, one of Ottawa’s approved “streetside spots” features a parking spot turned into a patio.  This is one of eleven for this year, out of twenty five the city was prepared to approve.

Quartier Vanier BIA’s steetside spot on Beechwood Avenue features a wooden patio arrangement designed by Carleton University architecture students, and has proven to be an instance hit as a neighbourhood social spot.  Read more here.

Walk Friendly Communities Showcase

WalkFriendly1“Imagine yourself walking safely and conveniently from your home to work, shopping and entertainment. En route to these destinations on any given day you may meet neighbours walking their children to school, stop for a coffee at your favourite shop and visit with the owner, rest on a bench overlooking a garden with flowers blooming, and enjoy the public art along the way. You not only arrive relaxed, you take pleasure in the journey.”

Since the Walk Friendly Community program launch in 2013, ten Ontario communities, small to large, have received their Walk Friendly accreditation following an evaluation process similar to that for Bike Friendly Community.  There are currently no efforts underway in Brockville to achieve this recognition.

The embedded pdf file provides a look at the program and highlights for each of the designated communities.

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Winnipeg Joins The 21st Century With Naysayers Kicking And Screaming

Parking protected bike lane on Sherbrook in Winnipeg
Parking protected bike lane on Sherbrook in Winnipeg

A wonderful opinion piece in the Winnipeg Free Press offers some thoughts on that city’s progress in introducing protected bike lanes. The writer captures the backlash from the inevitable anti-laners quite well:
“Change is often slow in Winnipeg, but it is occurring. Wholesale opposition to making Winnipeg streets safer for all users will sound more shrill and intellectually hollow over time, and will soon be clung to by a small number of citizens who are staunchly anti-cycling as a matter of quixotic principle.”
Read article here.

Tougher Penalties Proposed For Those Whose Careless Driving Kills Those Walking And Cycling

Photo from Pedal Magazine
Photo from Pedal Magazine

Kudos to Burlington MPP and Share The Road founder Eleanor McMahon, whose bill to amend the HTA received all-party unanimous support in passing second reading in the legislature this past week.

The amendment, if adopted, would significantly increase the penalty for those whose careless driving results in the death of a vulnerable road user.

Eleanor McMahon MPP news release here.
CBC report here.
Toronto Star report here.

Lanark County Paved Shoulders Rolling Smoothly

shouldersLanark County reports that two years into their paved shoulders policy they’ve already covered 27% of their roads and they’re on track for $600,000 in annual maintenance savings and a 16 year payback on the capital costs. This good news does not include the deeper societal savings from reduced motor vehicle crashes – savings in insurance, emergency response, health care, lost wages and yes, lives.  Nor does it include the benefits of a safer environment for those walking and cycling.
Read more here.

Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan Includes Walking And Cycling

Bicycle_Friendly_Community_Sign_02_1Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, released this morning, includes strong legislative and financial support for enhancing the walk and bike friendliness of communities across the province. Road projects must include these provisions. Along with the new mandate for communities in The Greenbelt that road projects be “complete street” based, we are rapidly moving into an era that will strongly favour communities having a current active transportation plan and a complete streets policy.  Continue reading “Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan Includes Walking And Cycling”

Active Lifestyle Grows Both Business And Community In Essex County

CWATS2The County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) in Essex County is a rapidly growing 800 km network of on-road and off-road trails and routes that link together communities across Ontario’s southernmost region. CWATS is helping to build more active and economically robust communities as well as attracting increasing trails and cycling tourism. Continue reading “Active Lifestyle Grows Both Business And Community In Essex County”

Belleville Opens First Bike Lanes In Cycling Plan

Yeomans-St-Bike-Lanes-1-Jun-16-compressedWith plans for more over the next couple of years, Belleville opened a 1.6km stretch of upgraded Yeomans Street, complete with bike lanes. Belleville, population 50,000, shares geographic similarities with Brockville – it’s located on a waterfront and split by both major rail lines and the 401. However, Belleville’s city council has decided to move the city into the 21st century by creating a plan for active transportation and getting on with building the facilities people want and need. Read more.