Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't feel safe walking at night? Exercise more

Feel afraid walking in your neighbourhood at night? Well, somewhat ironically, exercising will apparently make you feel safer. New Australian Bureau of Statistics research shows those who participate in sport and recreational activities have significantly greater levels of trust in the community and are far more likely to feel safe walking the streets after dark.

Study: Health benefits outweigh costs of ciclovia events

Ciclovias, the global term for what we call Sunday Parkways here in Portland, are nothing short of a revolution. Started in Latin America in the 1960s and made widely known by Bogota, Colombia, the events have spread like wildfire across North America in the last decade.

But with city budgets being very tight these days, programs like Sunday Parkways aren't likely to survive the axe. Now, a new study, Do Health Benefits Outweigh the Costs of Mass Recreational Programs? An Economic Analysis of Four Ciclovía Programs, published in the Journal of Urban Health will help make the case that they're worth the investment.

Owen Sound - Teen tracker study illustrates ‘unhealthy reliance on cars’

Sixteen local teens were tracked by GPS devices for a public health study of where they go and how they get there. The week-long study's results reflected provincial findings that fewer students walk to school, which is part of an unhealthy reliance on cars, its authors said.

Toronto - King-Spadina towers set precedent for new applications

Pedestrian bridge will be critical link in Grand River Trail

Kitchener ON: A critical link in the Walter Bean Grand River Trail — the pedestrian bridge near the Doon Valley Golf Course — should be open and ready to use by next April.

Three schools in Centre Wellington getting kids active

Just as our communities at large have recognized the need to include active transportation in any future planning, so has the school community. As with any initiative, chances of a long-term change in behaviour is best assured when introduced at an early age.

Trent Hills supports master cycling plan for the county

Council endorsed the proposal Dec. 20 after hearing from a presentation by County project engineer Christine Harvey, who helped create the plan. One of its objectives is to make Northumberland "a unique cycling destination" by establishing "on- and off-road paths" that link the seven municipalities as well as connect the county to neighbouring counties, she said

Free-wheelin' town offers a model of bike-friendliness

Making Sarnia a better place for cyclists can be done cheaply, easily and effectively, says an official from one of North America's top bicycle-friendly cities. Robb Davis, a member of the Davis, California's bicycle advisory commission, said improving Sarnia's cycling infrastructure isn't as difficult as it seems.

Charge admission fees to pay for new skateboard parks, alderman urges

The Calgary Association of Skateboard Enthusiasts has offered to fundraise to help pay for dozens of new skate parks, and aldermen seem fine with the $11-million construction price tag, spread over a decade. Still, Ald. Shane Keating said Wednesday the city should contemplate charging fees to use some of the more sizable facilities when they come on line.

Is Calgary ready for bike sharing?

Bike sharing is, unsurprisingly, lauded by cycling advocates. But this week in Calgary, the very idea of setting up short-term bike rentals throughout the core has received harsh criticism courtesy the Calgary Sun. In his column yesterday, Sun columnist Michael Platt argues the cost of implementing and maintaining the bike share program and the impact of more bike lanes on downtown roads will result in "chaos."

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has its first-ever physical activity strategy

Carey said approximately 61 per cent of CBRM residents aren’t physically active enough to gain any benefit from physical exercise. That’s above both the provincial and national averages, she said.

India - Cyclists, walkers a neglected lot

Every day, about 37% people walk to their destinations and 18% use cycles in Pune city. But ironically this 55% of population on foot/cycle needs to follow rules of the road designed for the remaining 45% of people that uses vehicles. Their problems are compounded by the fact that our wily politicians consider footpaths and cycles tracks as problems and not as a solution to city's traffic mess.

Active Safe Routes to School Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2011

Sample Article: Momentum around School Travel Planning (STP) is growing, and we recently completed development of our STP Facilitator Training Program. The STP Facilitator is the person who brings all community stakeholders together and guides the STP process.

Study - Walking doesn't build muscle

Women who walk at least 10,000 steps a day have no greater muscle strength and perform no better on tests of balance and agility than women who walk fewer than 7500 steps, according to a new study.

Toronto mulls plan to expand world's longest underground shopping complex

More than a century after Toronto’s first underground pedestrian walkways were built, the city is finishing off a master plan that calls for the PATH system – the world’s longest underground shopping complex – to extend south toward the waterfront.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Toronto - 2012 Complete Streets Forum

The 2012 Complete Streets Forum will be the fifth annual active transportation conference hosted by TCAT. The Complete Streets Forum represents a holistic approach to active transportation policy and planning with a focus on cycling and walking while maintaining the interests of other road users.

The themes and program for the upcoming conference have incorporated feedback from 2010 attendees and is focusing on providing direct experience with implementing Complete Streets, including policy, tools, and examples. The conference will provide numerous opportunities to learn from, consult with, and network with professionals with Complete Streets experience across North America.

European Parliament Agrees that E-Bike Safety Depends on Speed, Not Power

It’s not finalized yet, but there may be a breakthrough in the European discussion on the technical rules for electric bicycles. It could mean among other things that pedelecs with assistance up to 25 km/h will be excluded from the type-approval for mopeds and motorcycles irrespective of their power output. As a result, they would be classified as bicycles, whereas today above 250 W they are considered mopeds.

The politics of cycling

Cyclists. They’re nothing but a bunch of Green-voting, latte-sipping, inner-city trendoids with an over-developed sense of entitlement. That’s what you’d think if you believed much of the media coverage given to cycling in the past few years. From shock jocks to tabloid TV shows to newspaper columnists, there's always someone ready to have a go at cyclists. Especially media organisations that favour the conservative side of politics.

[Published in a Sydney AU newspaper; the perspectives do not look that different, do they? -MH]

Waterloo - Students present visions for area near Kitchener transit hub

Urban-planning students at the University of Waterloo unveiled seven different plans Wednesday for transforming an area now dominated by surface parking lots into an attractive, walkable, mixed-use district.

Bixi to roll into Longueuil

Montreal's innovative Bixi bike-rental program will extend to the city's South Shore next year. The rental company confirms that it plans to set up stands in Longueuil, as long as the South Shore city's council approves the program. The proposed expansion would reportedly include six stations and seventy bikes, at the cost of $1-million over seven years.

Carfree Times - Issue #64

An interesting online newsletter that has been in existence for 15 years. It contains many links to relevant videos.

Victoria - Increased patrols, new signage, clearing brush among hike-and-bike trail safety improvements under way

Craig recommended new signage to include mile markers along the trail close enough to be seen from one to the other, signs indicating road intersections, signs recommending use of cell phones on the trail, and signs encouraging the buddy system.

"I've been on this trail a lot the last couple of months, and at times I didn't know exactly where I was," Craig said. "We encourage people to exercise at times when there are other people using the trail. Those types of environments dissuade people from committing crimes."

Cities move independently to put safety barriers on trucks

This winter in Westmount, the wealthy enclave within Montreal, one-third of the contracted snow-removal trucks will be outfitted with safety rails in an effort to prevent pedestrians and cyclists from tumbling beneath and getting crushed under their wheels when struck.

Active Voice: Electric Bikes as a New Active Transportation Modality to Promote Health

These new e-bikes are gaining popular acceptance and even avid cyclists turn to them for comfort and practical considerations. They may encourage otherwise inactive persons to start exercising, while also gaining time on their commutes and helping the environment.

Charlottetown - Walkers, cyclists want safety in capital area, consultants told

People in the greater Charlottetown area want to feel safer whether they're out walking or riding a bike. That's what international active transportation experts are going to tell councils in Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall as well as the provincial government.

Calgary - Pathway communities attract bike commuters

Margeaux Myers says there are a number of reasons she rides her bike to work downtown every day. It's fun, it's inexpensive and it keeps her in shape. And for her, it's easy. Two blocks from her Parkdale house is the Bow River path that takes her straight downtown in minutes. Sure beats the daily traffic battles, she says.

Ottawa - Transportation committee approves bridge over Rideau

Plans for a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge across the Rideau River received easy approval from city council's transportation committee Wednesday, indicating a big change in councillors' attitude toward such projects over the past few years.

New York - Number of Bicyclists Keeps Climbing, City Says

On Thursday [Dec. 8], the city said that the number of regular city bicycle riders increased by 8 percent this year, extending a decade-long trend that has nearly quadrupled the number of regular cyclists since 2001, according to the city’s Department of Transportation.

UK - Campaign For Better Transport: how to reduce the need to travel

The National Planning Policy Framework will sideline smart growth in favour of out-of-town sprawl - rolling back decades of town centred development. Now campaigners have launched a toolkit to reduce travel demand within local transport plans: Campaigners' guide to reducing the need to travel

London: One of the world's best cities for walking

London even wants you to walk. was established by several governmental agencies with a purpose of getting people off the often-crowded trains and buses and onto the streets. Its website ( outlines seven walks. Some cut through the heart of the city; one takes participants along the banks of the Thames; another circles the city. At 78 miles, it clearly isn't meant to be done at once, but in stages, which, after all, is the best way to see London.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Video - Chicago's First Segregated Bike Lane

Have a look at this four-minute video, which shows the lane and includes some background from community leaders, staff, and users.

[I particularly enjoy one alderman, speaking near the end of the video, who says that his district will get the next bike lane because "[he] wants to make sure [his] ward receives its fair share" -MH]

Demographic changes spark challenges to keep teens engaged

One of those interests that has burgeoned throughout the city is skateboarding and it is one pastime that the Edgemont Community Association, for one, has zeroed in on. "At our next board meeting, a group is coming from Skateboard Calgary to talk about what we can do in our community to support the skateboarders,'' explained Scobie. "As annoying as they can be from time to time, they wouldn't be destroying our benches if maybe we put up a bar for them.''

[Skateboarding is only one element in this article which discusses the need for youth engagement in activities. A related article is found at: City urged to get on board with skateboards -MH]

Drive Less, Live Longer

[A] recent study by a Canadian research team has determined that driving decreases life expectancy. According to the study, every hour you spend behind the wheel in North America leads to a 20-minute loss of life expectancy due to the risks of a fatal car crash. Further, the study concluded that by slowing down just two miles per hour, the average driver would increase their life expectancy by three hours per year.

Coquitlam - Take a hike, take a bike in future?

Walking, cycling and public transit are emphasized in an update to Coquitlam’s strategic transportation plan, a document that seeks to increase alternate modes of commuter travel in the municipality. Currently, 82% of trips in the city are made by automobile, a number engineering staff said they hope will drop to 70% by the end of the plan’s 20-year horizon.

Should bikes be banned from major arterials or at least rapid-bus streets?

And all she had to do was go one block over to 10th Avenue, where she could have been on far quieter and safer street that is so dominated by cyclists that cars now avoid it. But no, there she was, causing cars to swerve around her on a busy arterial. The question: Should she be banned? Or simply encouraged to move to a proper bike route?

[From Oregon US, and a story that generated many, but the usual, comments. Of interest is this related story from Denmark: Want to be like Copenhagen? -MH]

Calgary - Winter Maintenance Gets Green Light

Although it is only minutes from its home base it took over two years to travel those few blocks. This street sweeper was not far from its Transportation Department yard when it was spotted cleaning the winter debris off the celebrated 26th Ave SW on-street bike route November 21, 2011.

Penang wants to become a bicycle state

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told reporters today that his administration wanted to turn Penang into a "bicycle state'. As part of the bicycle state programme, the state government has also mandated that new housing projects be equipped with bicycle lanes. According to Lim, the regulations on the bicycles lanes became law recently. Under the regulations, developers must set aside land for the bicycle lanes.

Calgary - Council dips into reserves for budget: Snow plowing, bike paths and transit benefit

Council added crowdpleasing measures into the city budget that should improve commutes for bus users, cyclists, and residents used to plows rarely clearing their streets.

Winnipeg - Helping more drivers park it

The city's [Winnipeg] long-awaited downtown parking strategy, released Thursday, outlines a broad plan to get rid of reserved parking stalls and parking subsidies that help eat up some of the 39,283 available stalls downtown. The plan recommends Winnipeg enact new policies to free up spots on the street, get rid of some surface parking lots, and encourage people to carpool or use transit or active transportation to get downtown.

Planning expert praises Collingwood

Renowned active transportation expert Dan Burden had kind things to say about Collingwood on Monday. He praised the town's Urban Design Manual, calling it "one of the best I've seen in all of North America.