A new survey by EKOS reveals that Torontonians of all ages, urban and suburban, support protected bike lanes. Toronto now mirrors other cities large and small who are further along the active transportation journey. Initial cycling infrastructure projects often meet strident resistance from those whose worldview is threatened, as they did in Toronto. However, when the infrastructure is well designed and implemented, widespread public support invariably climbs quickly (and the world does not go apocalyptic). This survey measures how fast that has happened.
When EKOS asked about protected bike lanes, which separate cyclists from cars using curbs, posts or planters, the results were emphatic — 82 per cent in favour. No matter where they live, and irrespective of age or income, most residents support bike lane construction. The findings are consistent with a 2017 Angus Reid survey that found 80 per cent of Torontonians support a “safe network of bicycle lanes.”
The new poll puts clichés to rest. This is not just a young person’s issue; EKOS found bike lanes enjoy the backing of 79 per cent of those 55 years and older. It’s not an issue only for people with modest means; 85 per cent of residents with annual income of $120,000 or more endorse the lanes. Perhaps most significant, 75 per cent of those whose main mode of transport is the automobile support bike lanes.
There is no doubt at all that when Brockville drags itself past the car-centric paradigm into the current age of active transportation enlightenment, similar perspectives will prevail.
A recent article in treehugger.com describes and links to two recently published massive studies that once again confirm and add to the body of evidence that cycling is the healthiest way to get around and that investing in ways to encourage and allow more people to make the choice to ride a bike more often yields a large payback to society.
“More than 80 per cent of Toronto residents support building protected bike lanes, a new poll finds. The support is highest among those living in the core, with nearly nine in 10 people in the former pre-amalgamation city of Toronto wanting the lanes. But the trend was also visible in the suburbs, including Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York, with more than 70 per cent of respondents expressing support in every region of the city, according to the survey results provided exclusively to CBC Toronto.”
“The random survey of 800 Toronto residents, conducted by Ekos Research Associates earlier this month, also found more than 75 per cent of people who primarily drive to get around the city are also supporters of protected bike lanes”
The survey results are incredibly positive and show even stronger support than surveys done over the last couple of years.
It’s finally sinking in. Despite labels like “pedestrians”, “cyclists”, and “drivers”, more understand that we’re all just people – friends, neighbours, family, all ages and all abilities – trying to move around safely regardless of choice of mode of transportation at any given time.
So let’s listen up and learn, and help each other get home safely.
With Sudbury adopting a “complete streets” policy, residents join the 85% of Ontarians who live in a municipality where complete streets are either provincially mandated or have been adopted by local Council. As in other cities with a complete streets approach, public roads are designed and reconfigured to safely serve all members of the public – all ages, all abilities, all modes of transportation, for purpose or for pleasure.
Brockville is not a complete streets community – in fact it’s instructive to ask a candidate for Council if they know what a complete street is.
As cities increasingly move to make streets safer for all users, intersections often remain as the last challenge to be addressed. Increasingly, “protected intersection” designs adapted from Europe are gaining favour. This article from the Toronto Star describes the design elements, with a link to an educational video. Read more here.
Improvements to the western terminus of the St. Lawrence Recreational Trail along the 1000 Islands Parkway corridor are close to being completed. As reported here in May 2017, the original routing of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail between the Gananoque town limits and the start of the Rec Trail required those hiking or biking to take an risky route across multiple lanes of high-speed Parkway traffic.
The updated and improved routing connects the shared-use pathway’s previous end location all the way to County Road #2. (See diagram above, pictures below.)
Work on the trail bed and paving was completed just before last winter, painting has recently been completed, and signage updates were scheduled to be done this week.
The second phase of this work to be completed by MTO includes bike lanes along County Road #2 to the “Gates of Gananoque”, a curb cut at the crossing and signal lights on #2, some trailhead parking and washroom. With luck, some of this work will get started this fall.
Also under development by MTO are plans for the eastern terminus of the Trail at Brockmere Cliff Road. This will involve a formalized crossing of the Parkway, a new trail segment along the SE side of the Parkway, and a new trailhead incorporating vehicle parking and washroom.
This summer the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure bike tour will provide an opportunity for a brief opening ceremony for the new facilities at the #2 end of the Trail. Stay tuned for details.
From the June edition of the Ontario By Bike newsletter:
The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and signature cycling route in Ontario continues to grow and is now over 2,100km long. Chances are you are already familiar with and have ridden parts of this signed route that touches 140 communities and skirts 3 Great Lakes.
To better help you navigate the trail, a new website has recently been launched with a number of useful features that can help you plan a day trip, overnight tour or end-to-end adventure.
Highly detailed and free to download maps
Interactive online trail map
Suggested ride itineraries
Make use of these features and start planning your ride today on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. www.WaterfrontTrail.org
The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is working in partnership with Gananoque to complete a Joint Recreation Master Plan. This Plan will guide recreational services over the next ten years and will include a needs assessment to support the future direction of parks, trails, recreation and leisure services. It will also include a series of recommendations and policy guidelines around the delivery of programs, events, facilities and services.
If you’re a program participant, a volunteer helping to make recreation and leisure services possible, or a community champion helping to promote and support programs, then this is an opportunity to help shape the future.
Community consultation sessions are scheduled at the Seeley’s Bay Community Hall on June 6, and again at the Lou Jeffries Recreation Arena in Gananoque in June 13.
If you are unable to attend, you will still have the opportunity to make sure that your voice is heard. Online and print surveys will be launched June 6 and will be available on the website until the end of the month.
Active transportation planning and implementation is ramping up all across Eastern Ontario. Catch the highlights in the first newsletter from the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Network (EOATN). The newsletter includes a recap of the recent Summit held in Brockville, highlights of active school travel planning, and quick links to activities across the region. Read the newsletter and start your subscription here.
The Canadian Automobile Association has long been a promoter of cycling through their education programs and services, recognizing that the majority of their members don’t just drive – they also choose to ride bikes, both for purpose and for pleasure. In a recently published report, CAA provides an integrated set of approaches to address urban auto traffic congestion, putting investments in active transportation as an important component.
“building segregated bike lanes that makes cycling commuters feel safe and secure can be a relatively low-cost way to reduce urban congestion. Policymakers should also consider better integrating bike sharing with transit systems as a true “last mile” solution.”
If you will be walking, cycling, or driving on Québec roads, be aware that a number of updates have recently been enacted in the Highway Safety Code. The changes to road use regulations and accompanying fines and demerit points are fairly extensive. This article in the Montréal Gazette summarizes the changes, while all the detail can be found on the provincial website.
Two years ago, based on growing weight of evidence, Portland declared that by default all new bike lanes would be protected, that is, physically separated from motorized traffic, whenever possible. (Read here)
The evidence continues to mount not just in Portland but across North America that physically separating modes of transportation materially improves safety for all road users and provides a significant incentive for growth in cycling numbers. Portland’s response is to move to make protected bike lanes the standard and has identified more than 450 miles of city roads for upgrades. Read more here.
Turning a long history of commitments into action, Brockville Council voted 5-3 to develop a long-awaited active transportation plan for the city. While most of the media attention has been focused on the much-loved Brock Trail, meaningful long term impact will largely stem from the process to develop and adopt the cycling components of the plan.
This vote is one step today, for the Brockville we want tomorrow.
The Township of Leeds & Thousand Islands is in the final stages of a major update to their Official Plan, including a commitment to further develop active transportation opportunities (see pp 159-160 of draft update here), development of an active transportation plan has started. For those interested, the first round of public workshops is coming on May 19. See the notice attached below.
The Lake Huron North Channel extension of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail network is ready for you to explore!
“Stretching 380 km from Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie, the trail travels along quiet back roads and paths as it traverses some of the most spectacular landscapes in Ontario, serving up rocky shorelines, picturesque Mennonite and Amish farmsteads, rushing waterfalls, gently flowing rivers, sandy beaches, and thick forests. Twenty-six communities and First Nations dot its length, offering opportunities to stop, rest, and explore. Stay the night in a lakeside cottage, partake in some locally caught smoked fish, or enjoy a refreshing end-of-the-day local brew.”
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.