Friday, May 22, 2009

Event - NS: Colchester Bike Week

Colchester Bike Week is about getting more people cycling more often, and having fun!

During Bike Week, record the number of kilometers you cycle to work, school, or for errands instead of driving a car. E-mail your name and total kilometers cycled to: by Sunday, June 7 for a chance to win prizes.

Challenge yourself, friends and co-workers. Happy, safe cycling!

Press Release - Manitoba appoints Active Transportation Advisory Group

Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau today appointed 11 people to the Active Transportation Advisory Group which will make recommendations for improving Manitoba’s active transportation policy and infrastructure.

Article - Montreal's Bixi rental bikes are rolling

CBC News, May 12

Montreal's new self-service bicycle sharing program is open for business. The $15-million Bixi program was officially launched Tuesday at city hall, where Mayor Gérald Tremblay took the first ride. "It was conceived and fabricated in Montreal, in Quebec," he told a crowd of onlookers gathered for the Bixi launch. "It's a unique product that should make us proud."
Three-thousand bikes are available for short-term rental around Montreal's downtown core. The bikes, which cost $2,000 apiece, are made of aluminum and are theft-proof, according to their designers. The bikes contain a GPS chip, and if rented and not returned will "slow down, and the brakes will lock automatically," explained Julian Joseph, a Montreal high school student who's part of a team hired by the city to repair the bike fleet. Some 300 stations have been set up to store and pick up bikes.

Cyclists can subscribe to the service at a cost of $78 for a year, $28 for a month or $5 for a day. The first 30 minutes of each rental are free. Bixi, a term coined from "bike" and "taxi," is modelled on bike sharing programs in Europe, most notably the Vélib network in Paris. The city of Montreal has patented its model and hopes to sell it to other cities, Tremblay said. The mayor said he first hopes the program will be so successful in Montreal that more bikes will be needed.

[Entire CBC article copied above. Weblink directs you to bixi Montreal homepage. -MH]

Article - War of the wheels looms with cross-city bike lane plan

Globe & Mail, May 21
Author: Jeff Gray

In a move certain to be seized on by critics who claim the city is waging a war on cars, a study of an Etobicoke-to-Scarborough bike lane right across Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue will soon be unveiled by Toronto officials.

Newsletter - Regina: The Green Report

Prepared by the City of Regina's Emissions Reduction Coordinator, The Green Report is a periodic e-mail that highlights recent greenhouse gas emission reduction projects and programs being initiated in Saskatchewan's capital city.

Active Transportation is an important component of their emission reduction strategy, and a recent Green Report included items on Bike2 Work Week, March for Alternative Transportation, Bikes on Buses, and Cycling Weblinks.

The Green Report is an e-mail, not a Website. To subscribe, contact:

[I have provided a link to the City of Regina's emissons control page. -MH]

Newsletter - Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation, May 12

Find out the AT news from Canada's largest city.

Reminder: Bike Summit 2009 will be held on May 28, 2009 at the Novotel Toronto Centre. Register soon!

Newsletter - Bike Walk News Vancouver Island May 2009

Available online now! Get the latest bike news from Vancouver Island from long-time activist and recently elected city councillor John Luton.

Seattle - Draft Pedestrian Master Plan

[May 7] the City of Seattle and SDOT released a Draft Pedestrian Master Plan. The plan, which has been in the works for 20 months, is designed to guide city investments in pedestrian facilities in a purposeful and efficient manner. The plan has four major goals.

Safety - Reduce the number and severity of crashes involving pedestrians

Equity - Make Seattle a more walkable city for all through equity in public engagement, service delivery, accessibility, and capital investments

Vibrancy - Develop a pedestrian environment that sustains healthy communities and supports a vibrant economy

Health - Raise awareness of the important role of walking in promoting health and preventing disease

[Go to this page to find links to both the plan and the cities Webpage. -MH]

Article - In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars

NY Times, May 11
Author: Elisabeth Rosenthal

Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

[Now this is exciting. I do not expect this in Canada, but it shows how far behind we are in our thinking about community design. -MH]

Article - 2009: A Defining Year For Transportation in U.S.

The Infrastructuralist, May 11
Author: Deron Lovaas

[A broad-based look at the US transportation funding system, this article is worth a review. It also points out that, unlike Canada, AT is a recognized and funded component of transportation infrastructure planning. -MH]

"2) The New Structure: A set of multimodal (highway, rail, bus, bike/ped, etc.) access programs targeted at the state, metropolitan and local levels; programs which will complete the national system (i.e., bring other modes up to the highway level) including intercity rail, green freight and ports, major transit projects and projects of national significance; priority programs including planning and research, system preservation and renewal, access-independence-and-mobility-management, safety, energy security; and last but not least innovation incentive programs including sustainability challenge grants, a smart communities program, and an active transportation program."

Article - Skateboard lobby wants smooth ride for school skaters

Vancouver Courier, May 13
Author: Cheryl Rossi

[Travis Cutler] would like to see the school board's planning and facilities staff consider the needs of skateboarders when they're redeveloping and building schools. He believes if skateboarders feel included in their school environment, they'll be less likely to rebel.

"At that time it's easier to get them to wear safety equipment and to foster that sense of community in themselves," Cutler said. "If we don't allow them in, then we're telling them that they're not welcome and they should do it by themselves somewhere else."

Article - New riders gain some skateboard skills

North Shore News, May 10
Author: Fram Dinshaw

Parkgate Community Centre is offering a day camp for grade-school kids to pick up the art of skateboarding.

Article - Edmonton mayor favours downtown skateboard park

Edmonton Journal, May 13
Author: Gordon Kent

“One of the things we have to recognize with downtown is that if we want people to live here, we have to make it a family-friendly space,” [Coun. Ben Henderson] said. “You should be able to be a teenager in the heart of the city. You should be able to be a kid in the heart of the city.”

Article - Kids’-eye view of pedestrian safety underway

Fort Frances Times, May 20

Organized by community partners and Safe Kids Canada, the project will see a group of roughly three dozen Grade 5 and 6 students from J.W. Walker use cameras to document safety issues they encounter on the paths and routes they use in the community.

Article - Seoul Revises Bike Path Plans

The Chosun Ilbo, May 16

The city government on Thursday said it will build 88 km of bike paths linking the downtown area and outskirts with the Han River and Mt. Nam.

The city now projects the bicycle paths will save W150 billion (US$1=W1,265) per year of transport costs, and that the bicycles' share of passenger transport will increase from the current 1.2 percent to 6 percent by 2014.

[You must see the artist's rendition of the proposed bicycle elevator. Fantastic! - MH]

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Resource - New Active Transportation Fact Sheets

In celebration of Earth Month, CFLRI is excited to announce its newest resource: Making the Case for Active Transportation. This series of eight bulletins is intended for policy makers, health promoters, transportation planners, municipal decision-makers, NGOs, and the public. Check out the following to see how these bulletins can help you make the case in your community:

• Bulletin #1 – Health Benefits (available now)
• Bulletin #2 – Barriers (available now)
• Bulletin #3 – Economic Benefits (coming soon)
• Bulletin #4 – Environmental Benefits (coming soon)
• Bulletin #5 – Built Infrastructure (coming soon)
• Bulletin #6 – Safety (coming soon)
• Bulletin #7 – Increasing Social Capital(available now)
• Bulletin #8 – A Role for Municipal Decision Makers (available now)

Be sure to check back soon for the remaining four documents, due to be released over the coming weeks.

Event - Car-Free Vancouver Day 2009

In 2005, the Commercial Drive Festival launched the first community-driven Car-Free Festival in Vancouver. The Festival was wholly volunteer-organized and presented, involving over 30 core organizers and 300 volunteers. It was an enormous success, bringing over 25,000 people out to celebrate the community and party in the street.

After that, the Festival happened in 2006 and twice in the summer of 2007, snowballing in popularity and attracting up to 40,000 people per day. The first annual Car-Free Vancouver Day, on Sunday June 15, 2008 ushered in the next phase as it took the car-free theme to the whole city, and represented the next level in our evolution toward healthy communities, authentic cultural celebrations, and car-free streets. On that day, FOUR communities presented their own Car-Free Festivals: Kitsilano, West End, Main Street, and Commercial Drive. Each Festival was envisioned and organized by the local core organizers, and each had a unique flavour.

Car-Free Vancouver Day 2009, Sunday June 14, is expected to be even larger. Will you be there?

Article - Cyclists sought for project on improving Winnipeg pathways

CBC, April 30

The City of Winnipeg is looking for volunteers to strap a GPS device to their bicycle and let officials track their course. The project co-ordinators want more than 900 cyclists to participate. The volunteers — people who cycle more than once a week — will be asked to attach a GPS unit, called the Otto Driving Companion, to their bikes.

The project, being done with the Centre for Sustainable Transportation, is intended to generate information that will help the city expand its active transportation network. The network offers routes for cycling and walking that are convenient alternatives to busy city streets.

Article - Municipalities get moving on sustainable transportation, April 27
Author: Gordon Delaney

Developing new trails, boardwalks, sidewalks and bicycle lanes — they’re all up for discussion as Annapolis Royal considers its sustainable transportation options. It’s just part of the town’s effort to establish an integrated, sustainable, community plan that will shape future development in Annapolis Royal for the next 20 or more years.

Article - Montreal pedals past us, May 5
Author: Andrew Chung

Through a combination of recent efforts, Montreal is dramatically prioritizing bicycles. Not only has it embarked on a huge expansion of its bike paths – it already has more than Toronto – but on May 12 it will officially launch the first full-fledged public bike rental service in North America, called Bixi, a combination of bike and taxi.

[An interpretation of Montreal as a city far more progressive on cycling issues than Toronto written by a Toronto journalist. - MH]

Article - Toronto: Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Bad

torontoist, May 6
Author: Hamutal Dotan

Score one for the cycling community. After an intense and late-breaking campaign, and with a crucial assist from Councillor Kyle Rae, bicycle advocates have successfully introduced bike lanes into a major redevelopment plan for Jarvis Street. Yesterday afternoon the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) voted to remove the centre, reversible-direction lane of traffic, and use the freed-up space to install bicycle lanes in both directions from Bloor to Queen.

[For those who do not know Toronto well, this means bike lanes on one of the busiest streets in the heart of the downtown. - MH]

Brochure - The Myths and Facts about “Shared Use” Trails in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotians Promoting Active-transportation on Community Trails group believes that motorized and non-motorized uses on trails are incompatible. They have recently produced this brochure to outline their argument.

Report - I Walk in My Street

A Guide to Planning Successful Pedestrian Streets in New York City: New York has become recognized as a leader in Carfree street events in North America. This report from Transportation Alternatives details the results of several of these events and also includes some detailed advice of what helps make these events work.

Article - Italian Government Spurs Bike Sales with Incentives

Bike Europe, April 28
Author: German Eslava

Last week on April 22, the Italian government by means of its Ministry for the Environment started an incentive scheme which contributes to a maximum of 30% of the retail price of a bicycle or e-Bike. The maximum amount is € 700 which is for a bike that retails for € 2,330. This is on average the retail price of a high-end electric bicycle.

[Canada offer cash incentives to purchase more fule-efficient cars. Is it time to consider cash incentives for the most fuel-efficient forms of transportation? -MH]

Article - Seoul spends on bicycles

JoongAng Daily, May 4
Author: Kwon Hyuk-joo

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said yesterday that it will be establishing a high-tech bicycle research and development network in Daedeok, South Chungcheong. President Lee Myung-bak, participating in Korea’s first bicycle festival in Changwon, was confident that Korea would become one of the world’s bicycle leaders in the next five years.

[Some countries believe cycling can be a business opportunity. -MH]

Article - Calgary: School bans skateboards, April 27

Many students at Calgary's largest catholic high school are upset over a skateboard ban.

"I'm upset," says John Maitland, a Grade 12 student at the school. "All I want is to go inside the school and put my longboard, or skateboard, in my locker and come out with it so I can go to school faster."

St. Francis Senior High School implemented the ban because of worries the skateboards could be used as weapons.

Report - Planning for Cycling: Report to Cycling England

The aim [of this report] is to encourage local authorities to treat cycling investments alongside mainstream transport projects, balancing the full costs and benefits for each case before making rational decisions. The report finds that despite good intentions, the challenges of understanding and applying the full benefits, and a lack of evidence on the performance of cycling investments, remain obstacles to achieving this aim.

[Written for community councils who, despite adopting bicycle and pedestrian plans, often balk at budget time to spend as planned.]

Article - Ireland: The tricky transition to two wheels, April 22
Author: Fiona McCann

The [Irish] Government on Monday launched the National Cycle Policy Framework, with the aim of increasing the number of people in Ireland who cycle every day from 35,000 now to 160,000 in 2020. Recent figures released by Dublin City Council reveal the number of cyclists is steadily climbing, with 8 per cent more on the road last year compared to 2007, and a total increase of 30 per cent between 2003 and 2008.

[Excellent article that blends policy discussion with personal experience. MH]

Article - Scotland: More children walking to school

BBC News, April 30

The study of 400,000 pupils by sustainable transport charity Sustrans found 51.8% of them used active travel methods such as walking or cycling. The charity said its research showed the number of children travelling to school by bicycle or on foot rises sharply where money was invested in promoting active travel to school.

Article - UK: Speed limit to be cut on A-roads in bid to save 1,000 lives

The Times, April 21
Author: Ben Webster

Drivers also face limits of 20mph in residential zones, random breath tests and tougher fixed penalties for offences such as passing too close to a cyclist. The proposals for ten-year safety targets are to be published today. It will be the first time that the Government has set a specific target for cutting road deaths – by at least 1,000 from the current 3,000 a year.