Saturday, March 21, 2009

Press Release - US: 'Complete Streets' Bill Introduced to Help Americans Save on Transportation Costs, Cut Congestion

[Contrast this with what legislators in Canada are doing. - MH]

Americans nationwide could face less traffic congestion and cut their transportation costs if Congress passes legislation introduced today by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), "The Complete Streets Act of 2009." U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the bill last night in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A complete street takes into account all users of the street -- not just those in cars -- and is a safe corridor for people traveling by foot, bicycle, transit, and car. More than 80 jurisdictions nationwide already have adopted complete streets policies though legislation, internal agency policies and design manuals, including Salt Lake City, Seattle, Charlotte, N.C., and Bloomington/Monroe County, Indiana. They have been shown to improve safety and encourage healthy and active lifestyles.

"The Complete Streets Act of 2009" directs state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to adopt complete streets policies on future federally funded transportation projects within two years.

Video - Bicycle Counters in Vancouver

How many cyclists use our roads? Maybe now, in Vancouver, at least, we will know better.

Report - Creating Walkable and Transit-Supportive Communities in Halton

Creating Walkable and Transit-Supportive Communities in Halton: This discussion paper identifies the parameters or criteria that could/should be captured in the long-term land use planning process to encourage walkable and transit-supportive communities.

The hope is that many of the parameters in this paper will be captured as policies to the Halton Region's Official Plan and/or in Guidelines referenced by Official Plan.

Link to Staff Report:

Link to Discussion Paper:

Ontarians Walking NOW: Pickpockets, Placemakers, and Planning

Registrations are underway for Ontarian's Walking Now, a project to support the creation of walkable communities and encourage everyday walking. Read about our keynote speakers and how you can register your community.

Article - The secret Canadian exercise weapon: Walking

Canwest News Service, March 10
Author: Jill Barker

Why walk? It’s affordable, accessible and simple to master. There’s no learning curve, no need to wear Lycra and no better way to improve your health and well-being. Going for a daily walk burns unwanted calories, improves heart health, builds stronger bones and reduces the risk of some forms of cancer. It can be done solo, with a buddy or with a pair of earbuds pumping in some solid tunes.

Think of it as exercise’s Canadian option; understated, underrated and totally forgiving. If there’s a downside to walking, I haven’t found it.

Article - Edmonton cyclists to lobby for $100M bike plan, March 1
Author: Andrea Sands

Cyclists are gearing up for action this week on a $100-million plan to make Edmonton more bicycle friendly.

Article - Bike, sidewalk plans get support

Edmonton Journal, March 4
Author: Gordon Kent

Two multimillion-dollar plans to improve cycling and walking routes were supported Tuesday by some councillors, but ran into concerns about costs.

Article - Active Transportation Plan Being Developed

Opinion 250, March 4

The City of Prince George is looking for your input on how to develop what they call an “active transportation plan”. This is a plan that encourages the use of “all human-powered forms of travel such as walking, cycling, jogging/running, roller-, in-line and ice-skating, skateboarding, use of a wheelchair or scooter, cross-country skiing, canoeing and kayaking. The most popular forms are walking and cycling, and active transportation can be combined with other modes such as public transit”.

Article - City plans to get active at last

Winnipeg Free Press, March 10
Author: Bartley Kives

Winnipeg's 2009 active-transportation plan, which comes before city council's public works committee this morning, calls for the city to spend $405,000 on the North Winnipeg Parkway, a recreational bike and walking path on the west side of the Red River.

Article - Plateau unveils plan to ease congestion

Montreal Gazette, March 3
Author: Anne Sutherland

Plateau Mont Royal borough will be implementing dozens of measures in the years to come to cut down on vehicular traffic and to make automobile-pedestrian coexistence friendlier.

Article - US: Traffic, safety committee scrutinizes Portsmouth's skateboard ordinance, March 12
Author: Adam Leech

The traffic and safety committee recommended changes to the ordinance aimed at lifting the city’s ban on skateboard use on Thursday that will ease up on the safety regulations.

[Interesting discussion about permitting skateboarding on sidewalks and streets while balancing safety and non-skateboarder comfort issues - MH.]

Article - In Markham, the dream of an urban village that never was

National Post, March 13
Author: Barry Hertz

More than 10 years ago, a charismatic Cuban American architect embarked on a bold plan to transform a plot of Ontario farmland into a bustling urban utopia, a place where dwellers would swap cars for walking shoes and enjoy a sense of urbanity in what would have otherwise been just another suburb.
Or so that was Andres Duany’s plan.

Study - Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise

US News & World Report, March 18
Author: Randy Dotinga

A new study provides the answer [to what "moderate physical activity" is]: It's equivalent to a brisk walk, or about 1,000 steps every 10 minutes. The findings of the study, which was funded by the federal government, appear in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The researchers found that moderate exercise amounted to 92 to 102 steps a minute for men and 91 to 115 steps a minute for women.

Article - The benefits of walking around your neighborhood

Author: Nanci Helmich

“Walkable neighborhoods seem to be healthier for both lower-income and higher-income people,” says lead researcher Jim Sallis, director of the Active Living Research Program at San Diego State University.

Researchers looked at 32 neighborhoods in Seattle and Baltimore, based on income and walkability factors. About 2,200 people, ages 20 to 65, wore accelerometers to track moderate to vigorous physical activity. They also filled out assessments to measure their mental and physical quality of life. Findings were reported in the March issue of Social Science & Medicine.

Article - US: Salt Lake City plans for bicycle transit station

BYU NewsNet, March 9
Author: Candace Mercer

The Utah Transit Authority in association with the City of Salt Lake, the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Utah Department of Transportation, is planning a bicycle transit center in downtown Salt Lake City.

The bike station is expected to be completed by Jan. 2010.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Press Release - US: Trails, Walking and Biking Earn $800 Million in Stimulus

President Obama signed into law an economic recovery package that contains $800 million* in funding for Transportation Enhancements.

Transportation Enhancements (TE) is the nation's largest federal funding source for trails, walking and bicycling and a long-standing program that has historically enjoyed bi-partisan support.

Its place within the stimulus package, however, heralds a transition in thinking among elected leaders who once viewed active transportation projects as niceties and now know them to be necessities for a balanced transportation system and a robust economy.

Article - Korea: Commission lays out detailed plan for green growth

JoongAng Daily, February 17
Author: Ser Myo-ja

A presidential commission on green growth held its first meeting yesterday and finalized a plan to encourage greater bicycle use, lower carbon emissions and adopt daylight saving time.

In order to build the bike paths, the government will invest more than 1.25 trillion won ($875 million) by 2018, the presidential office said. To protect the safety of bicyclists, more roads will have the speed limit set lower than 30 kilometers per hour. The administration also said special insurance policies will be developed for bike riders.

Article - Australia: Melbourne to get more bike lanes

Western Australia Today, February 22
Author: Clay Lucas

New bicycle commuter routes and the inclusion of special lanes in all large-scale road projects are expected to be part of the first major bicycle plan for Melbourne since the early 1980s.

In the strategy, now to be launched next month, $18 million a year will be spent over the next six years, with a renewed focus on priority routes into the city centre.

[Compare this ambitious bike strategy in a National Capital to what is being done in Ottawa. - MH]

Article - US: Is 1-mile bike path worth $9.2 million?

Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, February 21
Author: Pam Louwagie

Supporters call the Cedar Lake Trail extension a final piece of Minneapolis' vision. Critics say it's way too expensive.

[As Canadian cities begin to attempt to connect the isolated bicycle lane segments that have been constructed precisely because they have been easier, or less expensive, expect this debate to occur here. - MH]

Report - Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity: A Global Report

The recommendations themselves were rather straightforward: stay lean throughout adult life, limit foods and drinks that promote weight gain, be physically active, limit red meat consumption, avoid processed meat, eat non-starchy vegetables and fruit, limit alcohol consumption, limit salt intake, and breastfeed children.

Straightforward they may have been but, if acted on, these recommendations could make a dramatic difference to cancer globally.

Two of its recommendations for governments and businesses:

→Require widespread dedicated walking and cycling facilities throughout built and external environments

→Use price and other incentives to encourage healthy eating and active commuting, and to discourage motorized transport

More details:

Modern cities and other physical environments have been designed to facilitate motorized travel. The effect has been to impede walking and cycling....More dedicated space therefore needs to be made available for pedestrians and cyclists. This will involve wider pavements (sidewalks) and more cycle paths. As well as stricter enforcement of speed limits especially within cities, more use needs to be made of traffic management systems that encourage pedestrians and cyclists, and also of restrictions on the use of private motorized transport within cities, such as congestion charges.

Article - Federal government missing the boat on green opportunities, Halifax, February 27
Author: Rochelle Owen

Creating sustainable solutions is like getting a triple-letter score in Scrabble. You are strategically making choices that give you triple benefits in the environment, economy, and health. When I went cruising through all 343 pages of the 2009 federal budget, I was thinking there are some of those 60 pointer ideas missing.

Active transportation infrastructure in urban and rural areas was not highlighted. Active transportation when you walk or bicycle to work, for example —- is a clear triple benefit: it cuts air pollutants, saves you money, and gets you fit. With the government investing wads of money to help the economy, now is the perfect time to strengthen government procurement policies to maximize sustainability outcomes.

Article - Elite sports facility ridiculous waste of public money

Chronicle Herald (Halifax), February 26
Author: Chris Milburn

I am completely against seeing this money being flushed down the toilet in a project that will benefit a tiny percentage of the population who are already physically active, will discriminate against those without time and resources to get there, and will contribute to our already problematic urban sprawl and overuse of the automobile.

If we really have $10 million to spend, there are lots of great things to spend it on. There are many fields, parks and trails here in Cape Breton that are poorly maintained due to lack of funds. There are amazing possibilities in promoting active transportation (read about Quebec’s Route Verte and its impact on physical activity levels in that province) that are not pursued due to lack of funds.

Article - Calgary plans two bridges - but not for cars

Calgary Herald, February 23
Author: Jason Markusoff

The draft version of Plan It Calgary, to be released next month, envisions [two new] bridges to allow only mass transit, pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles. It’s one of many recommendations the city’s new master plan and transportation plan will include to give preference to transit over the automobile.

Article - Long-awaited bicycle transportation plan finally goes to city council

Vue Weekly (Edmonton), February 26
Author: Scott Harris

Cycle Edmonton: The Bicycle Transportation Plan, which will be presented to council’s transportation and public works committee on March 3, is the first major update addressing cycling in the city since 1992.

The plan proposes spending $100 million over the next decade to create a comprehensive city-wide network of multiuse trails and bike lanes linked by neighbourhood connector systems. The plan envisions adding 489 kilometres of bikeways to the existing network and calls for an expansion of end-of-trip facilities for cycling, increased integration with transit and improved signage along bike routes.

Article - Bike Racks to be Installed on Four City Bus Routes

The London [ON] Free Press, February 26
Author: Joe Matkyas

Stainless steel bike racks will be mounted on the front of 40 buses serving four major routes in London, transit commissioners decided yesterday. They approved the $25,000 pilot project after leaving their board room and inspecting two racks mounted on buses in the commission's garage.

Blog - The impact of unsupportive parents in skateboarding

[T]o the skaters out there with supportive parents who help you out, you are very lucky. Don't take it for granted because there are others who would die to be in your position.

Article - US: City aims to build center for bike commuters, Louisville Kentucky, February 12
Author: Sheldon Shafer

The city is seeking federal money to develop a large bike station intended to encourage more bicycle commuting into downtown. The intent is to have secure parking for bicycles, as well as lockers and showers to accommodate commuters who need to change into good clothes for the work day. A bike shop with rudimentary sales and repair services could also be part of the station, which would be close to bus lines.

Article - London 2012 aims for step change in walking and cycling habits with publication of new plans

The Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) new Walking and Cycling plans published today give details on how £11.5m of investment will enable 385,000 spectators to “ride or stride” to the Games in 2012. The plans will also leave behind a legacy of permanent improvements to key routes between sporting hubs, thereby encouraging more people to walk and cycle to events in the future.

Article - UK: Full extent of school 20mph zones revealed today

Grimsby Telegraph, February 16

Dave Poucher, NELC's principal traffic engineer, said: "The order will allow the establishment of a number of 20mph zones around our schools. According to national statistics, the survival rate of a pedestrian hit by a car at 20mph is 95 per cent, compared to 80 per cent at 30mph.

Article - Bluesky computer modelling maps easier walking routes around Britain’s cities

Directions Magazine, February 16

Hi-tech computer modelling is being employed to map walking routes around Britain’s cities for award-winning website Using accurate terrain data captured from the air, the height models from aerial mapping company Bluesky are being used to produce walking routes that avoid the steepest hills and alert walkers to inclines on their selected journey, information that is especially useful for those carrying loads, pushing buggies and those with certain health conditions.