Saturday, June 21, 2008

TransActive Solutions Overseas

In April 2008, 250 Canadians were personally trained by Al Gore to deliver a presentation similar to the one he presents in the documentary, but specifically tailored towards Canadians and Canadian issues.

I was one of those of those trained, and now make presentations on behalf of the Climate Project - Canada. The Climate Project-Canada is a non-profit organization and registered Canadian charity dedicated to educating the public about climate change through presentations by trained volunteers.

By far the most interesting session I have conducted so far was on June 9, when I presented to UNDP staff in Baku, Azerbaijan. I was in that country attending a UNESCO conference, and took the opportunity to make a Climate Change presentation while I was there.

Climate Change - Canada volunteers may be found in every province. If you are interested in scheduling a presentation, there is a link on their Website to do so.

Resource - Denmark: Bicycle Parking Manual

Cycling as a means of transport is on the increase in towns and cities, and further growth in the number of cyclists is expected in the coming years. At the same time, a lot is being done at many levels to get more people on their bicycles. However, not much thought is going into the question of where all these bicycles should be parked when not in use.

This manual, published in Denmark in 2008, addresses every aspect of bicycle parking issues.

News Release - MOST Program Recipients

The Government of Canada will invest in 16 projects across the country that support environmentally friendly transportation, which will receive a total of over $1 million under the Moving On Sustainable Transportation (MOST) program.

The full list of projects is available through this link.

Article - Push on pedaling: Committee urges council to speed cycling network plans

Ottawa, June 18
Author: Patrick Dare

Ottawa should go ahead with its new cycling plan in five years, rather than 10, city council's transportation committee said Wednesday. The city's $24.6-million plan for cycling includes about $8 million for more bicycle lanes, $9 million for paved shoulders and $6 million for multi-use pathways.

Mr. Doucet welcomed improvements to cycling in Ottawa but said the city is falling behind others, such as Montreal, where many millions of dollars are being spent on cycling facilities. "Other cities seem to be able to do things and not just plan," said Mr. Doucet.

Article - Is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?, June 16
Author: Lara Farrar

"The American dream is absolutely changing," [Christopher Leinberger, an urban planning professor at the University of Michigan] told CNN.

This change can be witnessed in places like Atlanta, Georgia, Detroit, Michigan, and Dallas, Texas, said Leinberger, where once rundown downtowns are being revitalized by well-educated, young professionals who have no desire to live in a detached single family home typical of a suburbia where life is often centered around long commutes and cars.

Instead, they are looking for what Leinberger calls "walkable urbanism" -- both small communities and big cities characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything -- from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters.

Article - Traffic taking a toll on psychic health, experts say

Los Angeles Times, June 8
Author: Chistopher Gifford

In several studies on commuter stress, UC Irvine psychologists Raymond Novaco and Daniel Stokols made a surprising finding. Though they hypothesized that long commutes would be more stressful for hard-charging, Type A personalities than for mellow Type Bs, it turned out that the opposite was true. The reasons: The hard-chargers exercised more control over their lives. They had picked homes they liked and jobs that absorbed them. In traffic, they thought about work. The mellow drivers, on the other hand, thought about being trapped in traffic.

Article - Car-Free Vancouver Day brings out 125,000 revellers

Vancouver Sun, June 15
Author: Denise Ryan

After weeks of rain, more than 125,000 Vancouverites followed the sun on Sunday and took over city streets at four festivals celebrating Car-Free Vancouver Day.

The event that started four years ago on Commercial Drive expanded this year to include three other venues - Denman Street in the West End, Main Street from 12th to 16th, and Kitsilano, where people on 21 blocks closed the streets and threw parties of their own, each capturing the flavour of their neighbourhood.

Article - Fredericton NB: Bike lanes long overdue

Daily Gleaner, June 20

The City of Fredericton wants to help motorists and cyclists co-exist once new bike lanes appear on city streets next month. An information campaign is being launched to make drivers and bikers aware of the changes that will see bike lanes start showing up on several streets in two weeks.

The bike lanes are a first part of a trails and bikeways network called for by the city's trails and bikeways master plan that proposes ways to foster the use of active transportation. Active transportation is defined as any form of human-powered transportation. Bike lane lines and signs will be installed July 2-11.

Article - Bristol named first cycling city

Bristol has become England's first "cycling city" in a £100m government scheme aimed at encouraging cycling. The city intends to double the number of cyclists over the next three years with a series of innovations.

Among the city's innovative proposals are the creation of the UK's first on-street bike rental network and setting up a scheme to repair bikes and provide them free of charge to people in deprived communities.

Article - TV viewing, computer use linked to obesity

Canadian adults who spend hours a day watching television or sitting in front of a computer are more likely to be obese, according to a new Statistics Canada study.

The odds of obesity among men and women who reported watching television 21 or more hours a week were almost twice those for study subjects watching an average of five or fewer hours a week.

Friday, June 6, 2008

News Release - Regional Tolls: Socially Responsible User Fees Earmarked for the Funding of Public Transit

CNW Group, June 5

During a speech today to members of the Association québécoise du transport et des routes (AQTR), André Lavallée, Montréal Executive Committee member responsible for Urban Planning and Public Transit, launched the discussion on funding for public transit by proposing a new approach. It would consist of establishing a regional toll collection system, the revenues of which would be shared among the municipalities to finance their own contributions to the development and to operate local and regional public transit and active transportation projects.

Montréal's bold and ambitious Transportation Plan seeks to make active transportation and public transit the preferred means of personal travel and a crucial tool in the city's development. Public consultation sessions that were held in the fall of 2007 revealed the existence of a strong consensus for deploying our full resources to carry out its various measures.

For further information: François Goneau, Relations avec les médias, (514) 868-5859; Source: Darren Becker, Office of the Mayor and the Executive Committee, (514) 872-6412.

Article - Cycling to Downtown Hamilton just got easier

Exchange Morning Post, June 6

As part of an ongoing commitment to promote sustainable transportation options in Hamilton, the Public Works Department, together with Metrolinx, officially opened Hamilton's first secure bicycle parking facility today.

The 12-foot by 20-foot lot located on the first floor of the York Boulevard parkade downtown can accommodate over 40 bicycles and provides a safe and convenient facility for cycling commuters to store their bikes.

Article - Thunder Bay Active Transportation Plan Consultations

NetNewsledger, May 29
Author: none listed

Following nine months of groundwork, the Active Transportation Advisory Committee is hosting the first phase of an Active Transportation Plan for the City to the public for input. Two public Open Houses will showcase the recommended commuter cycling routes and maps, and gather feedback and information on where people in Thunder Bay like to walk, bike, and wheel. The Open Houses will take place on Tuesday, June 3 at the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre, 700 River St., and on Thursday, June 5 at the Westfort Community Centre, 397 Empire Ave., from 5-8pm.

Residents are encouraged to attend one of the Open House events, view the proposed routes and maps and share your ideas about active transportation with members of the Committee.

Article - Gas price changes commute: survey, May 30
Derek Abma, Canwest News Service

Rising fuel prices are increasingly becoming a factor in how people get to their place of employment and arrange other aspects of their work life, according to a report recently released.

A poll of U. S. workers by staffing firm Robert Half International showed 44% of respondents have changed their commuting habits or work arrangements to ease the financial burden of higher gasoline costs. That was up from 34% when a similar survey was taken two years ago.

Article - Skateboarding As Transportation

SK8Antogonish is the Webpage of the Antigonish (NS) Skateboarding Association, and has links to a wide range of resources for skateboarders.

They have republished an article recently produced by Resource Conservation Manitoba.

Article - Can-do commuting
Author: Jill Barker

Need a little less bulk around the belly and a little more bulk in your wallet? Consider ditching the car and cutting your commuting costs by walking or biking to work.

Before all you suburbanites throw out the idea as preposterous, you don't need to travel the whole way to work on foot or by bike to reap the benefits of eco-commuting. Even transforming part of your commute to self-powered transportation can improve both the environment and your waistline.

Article - UK: Cyclists allowed wrong way up one-way streets, June 4
Author: Andy Bloxham

Cyclists are to be allowed to ride the wrong way up one-way streets - but motorists will face prosecution if a collision occurs. The pilot scheme is to be trialled in London after a recent boom in the popularity of cycling.

“Cycle contraflows” already exist in some parts of the country but they are relatively rare as they require extensive changes to the road markings.

Event - Car-Free Vancouver Day

As urban congestion increases and air quality declines, smart cities around the world are beginning to move away from car-dependency. Because we know that that less cars means more community, and more community means less cars. And less cars means a healthier and happier city.

Car-Free Vancouver Day features four simultaneous Car-Free Community Festivals, each with its own unique flavour and style. This massive event is 100% volunteer produced and organized. It's YOUR party. So get involved! Let's reclaim our city by dancing in the streets.

On Sunday June 15th (Fathers Day), come out and experience the fun of a car-free future with hundreds of thousands of your neighbours on the first-ever Car-Free Vancouver Day.

Active Transportation Vacation


I am the Project Manager for the Celebration of Trails, and I also have a new company that creates unique experience packages including ones that include hiking and cycling. For example, “Peddle Yours Arts” is a tour of art studios on a bicycle. More details are available on the web site

It is still under development but should be completed soon. Please pass it along to anyone you feel might be interested in an "Active Transportation Vacation".

Barrie Martin
1344 Barry line
R.R. #1
Haliburton , ON K0M 1S0
705-754-3436 (telephone/fax)

Request from the Toronto Urban Renewal Network


The Toronto Urban Renewal Network (TURN) is working for safer cycling, pedestrian and transit infrastructure at The South Kingsway and Queensway Interchange (SKQI), a car-oriented area located in the southwest corner of Ward 13. Assuming you are interested in this project, we are taking the liberty of providing you with a very brief synopsis of what has been happening over the last several months and to ask for your help.

The City of Toronto has allocated almost $1 million to address safety and access concerns in the 1950s expressway style interchange so that it could be urbanized and shared by everyone: car drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, transit users and bladers. Unfortunately, Councillor and Pedestrian Committee Co-Chair Bill Saundercook decided to kill the City’s original “Link Road” plan in July 2007. At this time, the Toronto Urban Renewal Network (TURN) was established and, with the support of The Toronto Pedestrian Committee and the Toronto Cycling Advisory Committee, we have been able to reopen the file.

After many months, the City is now ready to present a very watered-down version of the original design. The report outlining this plan will go to Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC) for interim approval on July 7th and subsequently to City Council for final approval. TURN has been told that the new design only incorporates “minor modifications” leaving the intersection as a hostile and dangerous environment for cyclists and pedestrians alike. We find this to be unacceptable. There will not be another chance to make interchange changes for a long, long time. With $1 million in the bank, we must capitalize on the opportunity we have now to improve this intersection for the transportation needs of the 21st century.


** You are cordially invited to take part in the “Ride the South Kingsway Cloverleaf” bike month event on May 27th to raise awareness of the safety issues at this intersection. More info can be found at
** Attend the important EYCC meeting at the Etobicoke Civic Centre on July 7th. The more citizens we have at this community council session the more we can influence the process. Let us know if you can be there and we’ll send you the agenda as soon as it is made public. Alternatively, you can call/email Glenda Jagai, Committee Clerk, at 416-394-2516 or to have the agenda sent to you.
** Make a deputation (stand up and speak) at the meeting. Again, the more people who speak to the issue the more likely the councillors will listen. You must call Glenda Jagai if you would like to make a deputation. If required, TURN can help you with “talking points” – there are many!
** Whether you can attend the June 10th meeting or not, consider writing/emailing your comments to your councilor, EYCC members and the Mayor. See below for a sample letter you can use. Feel free to add anything you feel is pertinent. The list of councillors and city staff who should be "copied" are also provided.
** Get in touch with us and volunteer. We need your help -- and so do future generations of Torontonians!!!

Thank you for considering the opportunity to help out in any way you can. Please email us with any questions, suggestions or concerns.

Regards, Toronto Urban Renewal Network (TURN)