Sunday, March 27, 2011

Michael Haynes - Out of Country

Just an update: I will be Australia until late-April, where I will be presenting at a number of conferences and workshops, both on trails and on Active Transportation. I suspect that I will not be making any posts while I am travelling, so do not be surprised if it is not until late-April that the next items are added.

Have a great spring!

Making the Case for Active Transportation (Again)

Just in time to help make the case is a new report about the return on investment, in terms of fuel savings and reduced health care costs, of Portland's bikeways. Thomas Gotschi, the paper's author, writes, "This paper provides the first cost-benefit analysis for an urban bicycling network in the US. The analysis is made possible not only by almost 20 years of investments and growth in bicycling, but also by the availability of long term data unique for a US city which document the impacts of investments.” The paper concludes that bicycling investments are "cost-effective, even when only a limited selection of benefits is considered.” Gotschi, an APBP member, is a researcher with the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. (Read the report: Journal of Physical Activity and Health)

Portland OR: Evaluation of Innovative Bicycle Facilities

Researchers at Portland State University have completed an evaluation of Portland's cycle track on SW Broadway and buffered bike lanes on SW Stark and Oak. The analysis, prepared for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), shows that both of the bikeway types are "working well," but PSU also laid out some recommendations on how to make them work even better.

Biking Advocacy and Race: Where’s the Disconnect?

An interesting article, writtin in the US, that looks at the often mono-cultural composition of cycling groups. Although this looks at the question across the US's traditional black/white divide, the questions it asks may also be relevant in Canada's increasingly multi-ethnic communties. -MH

Township of Georgian Bay is holding an active transportation workshop on Wednesday, March 30

The session will be held to collect information from cyclists, runners, walkers, and other similar activities of that type to make roads safer. This also increases awareness of the trail network and links. Get connected, to Kevin Datema at as soon as possible.

Kingston ON: Symposium aims to put more bikes in motion

The Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation (KCAT) will host a symposium Wednesday, March 30, which will go a long way towards Kingston's stated goal of becoming Canada's most sustainable city.

Orillia ON: Active living research

The rutted and crumbling sidewalk beneath his feet had David Stinson wondering aloud at the cause of its sorry state. "Is it a maintenance issue?" Stinson asked as he dodged icy pockets that had formed in the crevices. "Is it a design issue?"

Thunder Bay ON - Safe cycling courses given funding boost

Thunder Bay cyclists will have a chance to learn the rules of the road on the cheap thanks to a provincial government grant. The Trillium Foundation Friday gave EcoSuperior a $115,000 grant, which will go toward the launch of Safe Cycling Thunder Bay, said Adam Krupper, EcoSuperior’s active transportation coordinator.

Quispamsis NB - Town adopts active transportation plan

Town council has adopted a plan that will make human-powered modes of transportation a priority in Quispamsis over the next five years.

Data Confirm What Cyclists Knew: San Francisco Streets Are Hazardous

[T]he streets of San Francisco are a tense and dangerous place in which vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians jostle for space along the undulating thoroughfares, sometimes with injurious and even lethal results. Who makes the streets more dangerous? Cars or bikes?

[Although about a city in the US, this article asks a question heard in Canadian cities as well. -MH]

Strasbourg [France] Plans to Drop City Speed Limits to 30kph

Strasbourg, in north-eastern France, is already one of the country's most bike-friendly cities. Fewer than half of its residents use a car to get around, and it has more than 300 miles of bike lines, not to mention a tramway network that is the longest and densest in France. Now the city is really throwing down the gauntlet: it announced this week its plan to reduce speed limits throughout the city to 30 kilometres (18 miles) per hour.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cyclists shouldn’t ‘share the road,’ they should have their own

It's long been the most controversial issue in bicycling:

Should people on bikes ride in traffic with cars, using the same infrastructure and following the same procedures (a style of riding known as "Vehicular Cycling")?

Should we ride on the sidewalks and off-road paths, with pedestrians?

Or should we have our own place to ride that's designed specifically for bicycling?

Video - Cycling Options for various disabilities: UK

A thought-provoking video of what might be able to be done to improve the mobility of those with a variety of physical disabilities, through cycling and safe streets.

Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure

Several studies of the economic benefits of cycling, collected by the Adventure Cycling Association of the US.

Winnipeg MB - 2011 Preliminary Capital Budget

Suggestions and comments about active transportation and recreation facilities were also common. Pages 27, 44, 46-47, 83 to 85, 99, 105, 106, 146 and 153 of the budget deal with these important issues.

Hamilton ON - Taking Steps Toward a Pedestrian Master Plan

Walkable streets aren't difficult or even particularly expensive to create. Cities around the world have managed to create lively public environments following the same general principles. It requires only the political will to make walkability a priority.

Top 10 bicycle-friendly cities

With fuel costs soaring and environmental conservation in vogue, the bicycle is making a comeback in many cities, becoming a major part of urban transportation plans. Men’s website ( has come up with a list of the world’s top most bicycle-friendly cities.

Winnipeg MB - Designs unveiled for new Sturgeon Creek bridge

A new, $13-million bridge planned for Sturgeon Road at Sturgeon Creek will include two separate spans and be raised to include a new active transportation path to snake along the creek.

Toronto ON - Complete Streets Forum, April 28-29

The goal of the 2011 Complete Streets Forum is to explore best practices, share ideas and success stories, and showcase research and technical solutions on how to better plan and design complete streets that will embrace and protect cyclists and pedestrians while accommodating all road users, including transit and cars.

Video - Moving Beyond the Automobile: Biking

Great short video from Streetfilms of cycling improvements in the US.

Parry Sound ON - Where to put the bicycle racks?

Bicycle racks may be coming to downtown Parry Sound, but the big question is where?

With direction from Coun. Dave Williams, on behalf of the Active Transportation Committee on Tuesday evening, town staff were directed to investigate the cost and impact of the elimination of one downtown parking space and replacing it with a 10-unit bicycle rack.

Do your heart a favour and get moving

Physical activity is absolutely vital to good health. It is key to reducing the risk of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and especially heart disease. Heart disease is a major cause of death and illness across Canada and in Simcoe Muskoka it was responsible for more than 7,000 or 34 per cent of all deaths from 2000 to 2005.

Kamloops BC - Pedestrian Master Plan

In recognition of the growing importance of walking in developing a more balanced, multimodal transportation system, the City of Kamloops has developed a Pedestrian Master Plan. The Pedestrian Master Plan provides a comprehensive approach toward identifying pedestrian needs and deficiencies, examining optional improvements and prioritizing implementation strategies to develop safe and efficient pedestrian network.

Why do people in cars hate people on bikes so much?

If you've ever been behind the wheel of a car, you've felt it: The dead certainty that everyone around you is a complete idiot who should get the hell out of your way. If you've spent much time riding a bicycle, you have been the target of that wrath.

[Another interesting opinion piece. MH]

It seems to me that the signs have it all wrong

“Did I read that right? Hiking may result in death? Is this a joke?” No. In this overly-litigious society, these signs are now the norm. The Region of Waterloo, despite the absence of grizzly bears, cliffs or man-eating sharks, was warning users they could die while enjoying a walk. No actual danger was mentioned, just the act of cycling or hiking in the forest.

[Very enjoyable and provocative article. -MH]

Toronto Walking Strategy

The aim of the Walking Strategy is to build a physical and cultural environment that supports and encourages walking, including vibrant streets, parks, public squares and neighbourhoods where people will choose to walk more often.

Walk21 - Vancouver, October 3-5

In 2011 the International Walk21 Conference is being hosted by Metro Vancouver. The conference's metropolitan focus involves municipalities in the region, health authorities, Translink, the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, as well as the regional government. Metro Vancouver has teamed together to create an innovative conference focusing on the best practices for urban design, transportation mobility, and health promotion to provide the best places to walk to and through.

Woodstock ON - Plan a plus for pedestrians

City pedestrians and cyclists should like the recommendations contained in Woodstock's Transportation Master Plan. With proposed cycling lanes and the potential for new signalized pedestrian crossings, this big-picture look at Woodstock transportation could help promote what acting city engineer Harold de Haan called "active transportation"

Vancouver’s new fleet of cargo tricycles

Tricycles could soon be coming to Vancouver’s bike lanes – and they’ll be hauling much more than balance-challenged preschoolers. A group of postsecondary students will launch a business in May that will use cargo tricycles to deliver goods around the city’s downtown core. The business is the first of its kind in Vancouver and will feature specially made bikes that can carry up to 270 kilograms of cargo, anything from office supplies to furniture.

Low-power electric bikes allowed on trail

Disabled people will be permitted to use low-powered electric bicycles on much of the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail under new rules that were approved on Wednesday. The Regional Trail Corp. board moved to comply with a federal mandate designed to make it easier for disabled people to use recreational trails. In addition to continuing to allow wheelchairs, the new rules permit electric bikes powered by no more than 250 watts, weighing less than 100 pounds, less than 36 inches wide with pedals that can be manually operated.

Here’s how Metro Vancouver cities stack up for cyclists

Given oil prices, new technologies, and public-health mandates demanding that the population get more active, Price said it isn't surprising that bike lanes both spring up and rankle some people. “This is very disruptive stuff,” he said. “It's upsetting a lot of people's assumptions about the way the world should be ordered.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mexico City Government To Expand Bike-Sharing Program

Mexico City's municipal government in 2011 is planning to broadly expand a bicycle-sharing program that found enthusiastic acceptance in its first year.

West Virginia - Trails and Active Transportation

In tough economic times, governments have to make the most of every tax dollar spent. "at’s why active transportation (walking and bicycling) projects stand out: With fewer federal dollars available, these projects can be completed at a low cost, are highly popular and significantly improve mobility.

San Diego - Billions proposed for bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly streets

Transportation planners have proposed spending $2.58 billion building bicycle paths and improving streets for pedestrians in San Diego County over the next 40 years.

You read that right: billion.

State of Colorado Bicycle and Pedestrian Program resource order form

This order form shows an impressive list of resources available free of charge to communities or individuals who are attempting to prmote cycling in their neighbourhood. Please notice that all these resources are available through the State of Colorado Department of Transportation.

Can anyone in Canada make a similar claim for their Department of Transportation? (except Quebec, of course).

USDOT Traffic Safety Facts - Bicyclists and Other Cyclists

A five page summary of cycling crash/injury/fatality statistics from 2009 prepared by the US Department of Transportation presented in various forms and keyed to several different factors.

[Why is it that similar information is unavailable in Canada? -MH]

How bicycling will save the economy (if we let it)

There aren't very many economic scenarios in this country where everyone wins. But if you had to choose one single thing that could pull our neighborhoods, towns, and cities out of this murky pit of a recession, you'd do well to bet on the humble bicycle.

Chicago plans safe bike lanes

Chicago's Bike 2015 master plan for bicycling proposes a 500-mile bike way network for Chicago residents. Today, Chicago has more than 100 miles of on-street bike lanes and more than 155 miles of signed bike routes.

The plan calls for increasing bicycle use, so that 5 percent of all trips of less than five miles are by bicycle; reducing the number of bicycle injuries by 50 percent from current levels.

New York - "Floating Parking" & Bike Buffer Zone in Separated Bike Lanes

A short, and interesting, video showing how buffered cycletracks work in practice in various New York locations.

It perhaps indicates how far behind we are falling in Canadian cities. First it was Europe, now it is the US. [-MH]

Los Angeles plans 1600 mile cycle lane network

To some, a Los Angeles bike lane might sound like an oxymoron, but ABC news reports that the City of Angels has plans to build more than 1600 miles of cycling infrastructure. The city authorities have agreed a cycling master plan which will create a cycling and walking network in a metropolis where the car has been the dominant mode of transport for nigh on a hundred years.

New York - Battle of the Bike Lanes

Today, of course, bicycling is almost universally regarded as a serious, eco-friendly mode of transport, and cyclists want it easy. From San Francisco to London, local governments are introducing bike lanes, bike parks, bike-rental schemes, and other policies designed to encourage two-wheel motion. Generally speaking, I don’t have a problem with this movement: indeed, I support it. But the way it has been implemented, particularly in New York, irks me to no end. I view the Bloomberg bike-lane policy as a classic case of regulatory capture by a small faddist minority intent on foisting its bipedalist views on a disinterested or actively reluctant populace.