Monday, September 21, 2009

Vicious cycle won't last long

Winnipeg Free Press, September 21
Author: Bartley Kives

Two Fridays ago, as part of a federal infrastructure-funding announcement, the city, province and Ottawa agreed to spend $20 million on 37 different active-transportation projects within Winnipeg.

The cash will add 102 kilometres of bike-and-pedestrian routes to an existing 274-kilometre city network comprised of multi-use paths, bike lanes on streets and extra-wide curb lanes called sharrows.

$83.2M for Manitoba wish list

Winnipeg Free Press, September 12
Author: Bartley Kives

Winnipeg cyclists and pedestrians are the biggest winners in Ottawa's rush to dole out federal stimulus funds in Manitoba before the Liberals in Ottawa can defeat the Conservative minority government.

The biggest component was $20 million worth of dedicated bikeways, bike-and-pedestrian paths and bike lanes on streets in 37 different Winnipeg locations.

They say the bikes are out in droves on Broadway...

Winnipeg Free Press, September 10
Author: Lindsey Wiebe

In Spanish, the word is used to describe a bike path, whether it's a permanent route or a street where gas guzzlers are temporarily turfed in favour of people-powered transportation.

By that definition, Winnipeg already hosts a few small ciclovias during the scant summer months. But this Sunday the term gets a capital C, and the city gets a bike path stretching from Assiniboine Park to The Forks, not to mention a slew of activities on the Broadway-centred route.

Few options for victim of bicycle hit-'n'-run

The [Montreal] Gazette, August 23
Author: Max Herrold

In a city where cyclists and pedestrians are crossing paths more and more, Chabot was shocked to discover she couldn’t even ask police to look for the cyclist as a hit-and-run offender as they would had a motorist hit her.

That’s because while those helming cars, motorcycles mopeds, boats and planes are covered in the federal Criminal Code section dealing with hit-and-runs, cyclists are not.

Walnuts and walking: Substitutes for Prozac?, September 7
Author: Suzanne Leavitt

Walking fits into the better brain chemistry picture because it also increases serotonin, leaving you with a relaxed and content mood. Exercise in general helps regulate serotonin, but keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be bad. Over exercising can deplete adrenaline, causing stress on the thyroid gland.

Safe routes, crossing guard among budget requests

Fort Frances Times, September 16
Author: Duane Hicks

Fort Frances council has been asked to make traffic safety and active transportation, including the hiring a crossing guard for the intersection of Keating Avenue and King’s Highway, a high priority in its 2010 budget.

Saskatchewan kids need to get moving to avoid health problems

[Regina] Leader-Post, September 15
Author: Pamela Cowan

To get kids moving, Saskatchewan in motion suggests the formula of 30, 30, 30. The formula means every child should get 30 minutes of daily physical activity at school, 30 minutes in the community and 30 minutes at home. Humbert is concerned that parents feel they have to be excel at a sport or pay a lot of money to participate.

“Many, many children just want to hang out with their parents, they want to go for walks and be an active family and it doesn’t have to take a lot of money, but it takes a focus and an attitude change to fit it into those very busy schedules,” she said.

Council passes transportation plan for 'walkable' city

Edmonton Journal, September 16
Author: Gordon Kent

City council has approved a transportation master plan that over the next 30 years aims to shift more people out of their cars and onto public transit, bicycles or their feet.

"We're no longer looking at just balancing (vehicle) needs, but how we can look into the future...and change the way we move around Edmonton so we can become that compact, efficient city that's outlined in the city vision," said Rhonda Toohey, general supervisor of strategic transportation planning.

'Car-free' condo: 42 storeys, no parking, September 16
Author: Donovan Vincent

A controversial 42-storey condo building that will be built without permanent parking spots cleared a key hurdle yesterday.

The Toronto-East York community council overruled city staff skeptical about the dearth of parking to allow a plan that provides for only nine car-share rental spots, plus 315 spaces for bicycles.

Bicycle TV Documentary

Pedal Power, formerly known as Bike Culture, a documentary about the bicycle revolution on city streets, is to be aired on Thursday, September 24 on the CBC (main channel).

The CBC series is called "Doc Zone". Here's the details: Thursday September 24, 2009 at 8 pm on CBC-TV.

The progam will repeat on Friday September 25, 2009 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld.

Capital Bike & Walk Newsletter

Vancouver Island's Active Transportation Newsletter, September 2009.

Car vs. cycle: Road war shifts to higher gear, September 3
Author: Nicole Baute

Cycling has become a highly politicized mode of transportation in recent years, growing alongside increased public awareness of greenhouse gas emissions and health issues and accompanying a push for cycling infrastructure from city hall.

But sharing the street is fraught with debate, road rage and sometimes tragedy.

Burrard bridge sees more bikes but slower traffic

Bike traffic is rising on the Burrard Bridge as riders take advantage of the new bike lanes installed this summer, but southbound vehicles are facing delays of up to six minutes each morning.

What Would Get Americans Biking to Work?

Slate, August 17
Author: Tom Vanderbilt

A number of American cities are now waking up to the fact that providing bicycle parking makes sense. Philadelphia, for example, recently amended its zoning requirements to mandate that certain new developments provide bicycle parking; Pittsburgh's planning department is weighing requiring one bicycle parking space for every 20,000 square feet of development* (admittedly modest compared with the not-uncommon car equation of one parking space per 250 square feet); even the car-centric enclave of Orange County, Calif., is getting in on the act, with Santa Ana's City Council unanimously passing a bill requiring proportional bicycle parking when car parking is provided. In Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities, pilot projects are investigating turning car-parking meters—once semireliable bike-parking spots, now rendered obsolete by "smart meter" payment systems—into bike parking infrastructure.

[This article is relevent to Canadian cities as well. -MH]

Burgerville officially allows 'cycle-thrus,' hints at dedicated bike lanes

Oregon, August 14
Author: Joseph Rose

Two days after apologizing to a bicycling Portland woman who was refused service at a drive-thru, Burgerville today announced that it will allow customers on bikes to order and pick up food at all to-go lanes currently used by cars.

The Vancouver-based quick-food chain also said it is considering opening dedicated bike lanes at its 39 drive-thrus in the region.

Drivers 'should always be blamed for cycle crashes'

The Mail, September 21
Author: James Chapman

Cycling England, an agency funded by the Transport Department, wants the civil law to be changed so drivers or their insurers would automatically be liable for compensation claims.

The proposal by Cycling England is modelled on regulations in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, which are heavily skewed in favour of cyclists.
Even in cases where a crash results from illegal or dangerous manoeuvres by the cyclist, the motorist is usually blamed.

Read more:

Huge Interest for Meeting on e-Bike Type Approval

This year’s Eurobike will see the launch of lots of e-Bikes with over 250 Watt motors. This raises questions on the legal framework for these vehicles. These questions are to be answered at an open-to-everybody meeting during Eurobike for which the interest is huge.

Carfree Times, Issue 55, September 2009

Carfree Times is published quarterly at - the web site that goes with the book, Carfree Cities, which proposes a delightful solution to the vexing problem of urban automobiles.

'With bell ringing to the shop" : biggest bicycle campaign in Belgium

The aim of this campaign is to convince the broad public to do their daily shoppings by bicycle (in stead of the car) and to choose for a local merchant in their neighbourhood. In this way every cycling client helps to get more oxygen in the community, safer roads and flourishing small businesses.

London trial to allow cyclists to pedal the 'wrong' way on one-way streets

The Guardian, September 17
Author: Peter Walker

Kensington & Chelsea's pilot contra-flow cycling scheme should reduce journey times and make it safer for cyclists — without breaking the law. The pilot contra-flow cycling system will help to reduce journey times for cyclists while allowing them to travel safely and legally on the most convenient routes. If this pilot is successful then councils across the country could be offered the opportunity to use similar measures on their roads.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Report: Better Cycling in Ottawa

Ever wonder how to get started in your community to improve the Active Transportation environment?

On May 30, 2009, one Ottawa Member of Parliament hosted the Ottawa Cycling Summit. Members of the community came together to discuss their ideas for improving cycling in the nation's capital.

The result of their consultations is found in a brief written report, which may be helpful to communities as a model of how and what to do to begin the process.

Putting a price on walkability, August 22
Author: David Futrelle

How much is walkability worth? An intriguing new study suggests that people are willing to pay considerable premiums for houses in neighborhoods that are highly walkable — that is, where you can actually get to nearby stores, schools, and parks without having to hop in the car.

In 13 of the 15 areas studied, homes in highly walkable neighborhoods sold on average for $4000 to $34,000 more than homes in neighborhoods of average walkability. The pattern held in locations as diverse as Chicago, Tucson, and Jacksonville, Florida.

[Similar reseach needs to be conducted in Canada. -MH]

Walkable neighborhoods have higher land values, August 24
Author: David Herron

A recent report published by CEOs for Cities finds, using Walk Score data and techniques, that walkable cities have higher land values than unwalkable cities. The study claims it illustrates "the value that homeowners attach to locations that enable them to easily access a variety of urban destinations by walking and other means."

The intrinsic advantage of city living is the variety of "consumption choices and experiences" easily available. A walkable neighborhood may also appear friendlier and safer, encouraging more people to live in that area.

Huge Interest for Meeting on e-Bike Type Approval

This year’s Eurobike will see the launch of lots of e-Bikes with over 250 Watt motors. This raises questions on the legal framework for these vehicles. These questions are to be answered at an open-to-everybody meeting during Eurobike for which the interest is huge.

[Again, a warning for a future issue on Canadian roads and trails. -MH]

Tax break plan to help people get healthy, September 2
Author: Staff Writers

People could be given tax breaks to walk to work, junk food could be banned from the workplace and cigarettes and alcohol would be dearer under a Government plan to get the nation healthy.

The recommendations were outlined in the Preventative Health Task Force's long-awaited report, released [September 1] after being handed to the Government at the end of June.

Report URL:

[There is much more in the report than just tax incentives. The stated goal is for Australia to become "the healthiest country by 2020". -MH]

Car-free day coming Sept. 22

The [Montreal] Gazette, September 1
Author: Editorial Staff

Pedestrians will take over a section of downtown Montreal that’s usually the domain of cars on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Known as En ville sans ma voiture, it’s the city’s seventh annual car-free day.

The event is part of an effort to encourage Montrealers to leave their cars at home and rely on public transit or active transportation such as walking or cycling.

Councillors pave way for mixed-use trail

Winnipeg Free Press, August 22
Author: Matt Preprost

Construction is underway on the first phase of a seven-kilometre mixed-use trail that will stretch from Sturgeon Creek all the way to Polo Park Shopping Centre.The trail is the brainchild of Couns. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) and Grant Nordman (St. Charles). They say the path will offer their constituents an alternate east-west route through their wards, away from traffic-heavy Portage Avenue.

Halifax Regional Municipality Budget Summary

Bedford Beacon, August 26
Author: Bedford Beacon Editor

-HRM will continue to make improvements to transit.
-There will be a focus on active transportation initiatives.
-Traffic management

For more information on the HRM 2009-2010 Budget, please visit

McGill to make lower campus virtually car-free by end of 2010

The McGill Tribune, September 2
Author: James Gilman

According to the plan, all parking on lower campus will be eliminated, and vehicle access will be gradually reduced, with only service and delivery vehicles allowed access through the Milton Gate, while all vehicular access through the Roddick Gate will be cut off.

This initiative coincides with an August 24 City of Montreal announcement that a new bike path will be built along University Street in order to link up the Parc-Milton and de Maisonneuve paths. Cyclists have long complained that there is no safe link between the two, and many travel the wrong way down the one-way University street in order to meet up with the de Maisonneuve path, or cut through the McGill campus to reach Sherbrooke Street.

Bike plan funding too low, councillor says

Proposed funding for the city's sidewalk and bike plan now before city council means it will take years for Edmonton streets to become safer and easier for bike commuters to use, an Edmonton city councillor said Thursday.

"The plan that's been proposed here as I understand it, will chip away at the problem over decades," said Coun. Don Iverson, an avid cyclist. "I think if we were a little bolder upfront that we could achieve more and see the kind of shifts towards people walking and cycling that the transportation master plan in its draft form calls for," he said.

The Politics of Skateboarding

Weekend, August 6
Author: Leah Wilcox

Ryan Smith, owner of Rise Skateboard Shop in Bloomington has seen his skating world undergo rapid changes, going from a subversive underground culture typically affiliated with “rough kids” to a mainstream cash cow.

Smith said that he’s seen skateboarding increase in popularity with the Bloomington college set as of late, citing transportation as the main reason he thinks IU students are buying skateboards. He said he’s seen an increase in sales of longboards, a type of board made for cruising as opposed to tricks, in the past year.

NCC open to twinning paths

Ottawa Citizen, August 14
Author: Kelly Egan

The National Capital Commission is open to twinning some of its recreational pathways to handle the capital's thriving cycling community, says chief executive Marie Lemay

Car-free Sundays and pedestrian-only streets?

Kingston Whig-Standard, September 3
Authoer: Emily Davies

Imagine this: car-free Sundays on Princess Street; pedestrian-only streets downtown; rest stations with washrooms and drinking fountains every 10 km. These are just some of the findings in a report released by a group composed of members that include representatives from the City of Kingston, KFL&A Public Health and Queen's University.

Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation, which has lobbied for bike lanes, held a series of community workshops on "active transportation," last month.

BTAC Awards Grants to Four Projects that Reach Cyclist from Coast-to-Coast and 15 Different Languages

The Bicycle Trade Association of Canada (BTAC) has announced the recipients of $17,000 in grants. Awarded twice a year and available to cycling focused community groups, BTAC's Grant Program will support projects that put more people on bikes.

An important selection criterion is whether the project will make measurable improvements to the overall cycling landscape in Canada.

Sidewalks are for pedestrians: police

Whyte Avenue beat officers have a message for Edmonton's cyclists, inline skaters and skateboarders: If you roll on the sidewalks, you'd better be ready to pay up.