Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Report - Dangerous By Design

Researchers at the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership in the 1990s developed the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) in order to establish a level playing field for comparing metropolitan areas based on the danger to pedestrians. The PDI corrects for the fact that the cities where more people walk on a daily basis are likely to have a greater number of pedestrian fatalities, by computing the rate of pedestrian deaths relative to the amount of walking residents do on average.

The PDI shows that the most dangerous places to walk are those that fail to make smart infrastructure investments that make roads safer for everyone.

City Streets a Mortal Threat to Pedestrians

A report finds more than 43,000 pedestrians nationwide have died this decade on roads the authors complain don’t provide adequate crosswalks and other safety features.

The report, by Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, says states simply aren’t spending enough to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility. Less than 1.5 percent of total transportation funds are spent on such measures, even though pedestrians comprise 11.8 percent of all traffic deaths.

The authors complain that states aren’t spending enough to make roads safer for people who are on foot, on a bike or in a wheelchair. The report finds wide disparities in the amount each state spends. For example, Providence, Rhode Island, spends $4.01 per person to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety, while Orlando spends 87 cents.

“Too many transportation agencies have focused their investments on serving vehicles that result in unsafe, unhealthy environments for walking and bicycling,” said Anne Canby, president of the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. “It’s time recipients of federal taxpayers’ money were held accountable for addressing this epidemic of preventable deaths.”

Councillors back $22M active transportation plan

Edmonton Sun, November 18
Author: Frank Landry

The wheels are moving on a plan to make Edmonton a more bicycle-friendly city. A committee of council yesterday endorsed a plan to spend $22 million over the next three years on projects that encourage "active transportation."

That includes things like building more multi-use trails and dedicated bike lanes, as well as installing more bike racks.

The $22 million works out to about 1.5% of the transportation department's capital budget, up from the 1% that was initially earmarked.

Pedestrian link urged west of 14th Street S.W.

Calgary Herald, November 4
Author: Jason Markusoff

The concept map for the West Village features what is becoming a mainstay in urban renewal plans for Calgary: an architecturally striking pedestrian bridge. The ultramodern blueprint suggests a twin-arch Bow River crossing between 14th Street and Crowchild Trail S.W.

And outside the core, there are long-range plans for a pedestrian link as part of Bowness Park's renovation, which would span the Bow to Baker Park.

There's at least one other pedestrian bridge proposed, spanning the Elbow River between Fort Calgary and the Deane House.

Winnipeg unveils $430M capital budget

The City of Winnipeg unveiled its preliminary $430-million capital budget on Monday with funding for several new projects, including upgrades at Assiniboine Park. The document was tabled by the executive policy committee, also known as the mayor's cabinet. It includes:

* $20 million for hiking, biking and other non-vehicle trails, bringing the city's total active transportation investment to $22.2 million in 2010.

* $54.7 million over the next two years for a network of roads in the developing Waverley West neighbourhood.

* $8 million for Assiniboine Park redevelopment.

Burrard Bridge bike lane trial a success so far, survey finds

The Vancouver Sun, November 1
Author: Mary Frances Hill

The Burrard Bridge bicycle lane trial has been a success with cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, according to a survey conducted this fall.

“We’re thrilled with this,” Vancouver city Coun. Heather Deal said of the survey results, adding the issue will be revisited after the Olympics.

“Nobody knew how it would go. The survey shows tremendous success in terms of car numbers, safety and public acceptance, and people have adapted their travel plans accordingly.”

Active-living co-ordinator hired, November 15
Author: Adam Jacobs

Chester's new active-living, active-transportation co-ordinator is Gordon Tate. Mr. Tate will work to implement the recommendations established in the active-living strategy and craft a new plan for active transportation.

Sidewalk snow shovelling to be enforced in Pelham

The Tribune, November 4
Author: Wayne Campbell

"The proposed bylaw is needed as there is a great deal of evidence that sidewalks throughout the town are not cleared following events, leading to greater legal liability against the town in the event of a fall leading to injury," said Kelly Walsh, director of community and infrastructure services.

"The creation of a sidewalk snow-clearing bylaw will lead to safer, more pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods throughout the town and should encourage active transportation in the winter months, when people are typically less active."

Open house will give people chance to decide details of heritage trail

Cape Breton Post, November 17
Author: Nancy King

CBRM planner Rick McCready said the trail would also serve another purpose. He noted there is also a tunnel underneath the railway track that will be linked to the trail and that creates an opportunity for a continuous pathway from Whitney Pier into downtown Sydney, which would be complete once the new Ferry Street bridge is finished.

Creating a pedestrian and cycling link to downtown supports the region’s active transportation strategy, he added.

Driving the Lane: Toronto Prepares for Public Bicycling

The Walrus, November 18
Author: Ema Testa

Toronto’s updated plan, modeled after Montreal’s two-year old BIXI and the 20,000–strong Vélib “shared bicycle” program in Paris, proposes a start-up service area bounded by High Park in the west, Broadview Avenue in the east, Bloor Street in the north and Lake Ontario to the south. The projected system — roughly 300 rental stations with an initial capacity of 1,000 bicycles, to be increased to 10,000 over the next decade.

Longboarding Reaches East Coast

The Cornell Daily Sun, November 18
Author: Juan Forrer

[T]he Cornell Longboarding Club has become officially recognized by the University. These students see longboarding not only as a form of recreation, but also as the best form of transportation on campus. “You can’t really bring your bike into your classroom,” Saslafsky said.

The sight of students cruising down roads, across quads and concrete paths on longboards has become commonplace on Cornell’s campus as longboarding becomes an emerging trend on the East Coast.

Miami's Visionary Zoning Plan

Ardently promoted by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz but drafted in large part by architect Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a new zoning code, known as Miami 21, seeks to encourage street-level pedestrian activity and reduce automobile dependence.

The intent is to develop neighborhoods that will fit to a comfortable scale, with plenty of shops out front and buildings that conform to fixed height limits with upper-story setbacks from the street. At the same time, the goal is to create corridors with enough density that public transit will be viable.

But the most important idea may be the decision to focus on entire neighborhoods, rather than individual projects.

Portsmouth [UK] – changing the way we share our streets

Yesterday Portsmouth City Council and the Department for Transport reported on the results from the completely different approach taken by Portsmouth when in March 2008 they completed their setting of all residential roads, bar arterial routes, with a speed limit of 20 mph. No bumps or humps, but most importantly a decision not just made by Traffic Officers but the whole community as they sought a way to deliver lower speeds and a better quality of life for their residents. Quite simply, Portsmouth people decided to slow down wherever people live!

City council to increase capacity of bike stations, October 24

Council is to increase the capacity of its Dublinbikes rental stations in the coming weeks because of the huge popularity of the scheme.

More than 16,000 people have subscribed to the scheme since it was introduced just six weeks ago, making it the most popular city bike scheme to date in Europe, according to the council.

“More than 11,500 people have registered for annual passes and around 4,000 for day or three-day tickets, so we’re absolutely chuffed with it,” council communications manager Michael Sands said.

Has Japan designed the world's best bike shed?

The 'bike tree', an automatic storage system for cycles, can hold up to 6,000 bikes - watch video.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Report: Bringing Health to the Planning Table

This report profiles case studies of 13 Canadian communities where collaborative approaches to improve health outcomes have been a key consideration in planning decisions related to the built environment. This focus was chosen so that the successes (and lessons learned) of a variety of different projects could be shared with other communities.

With one case study from each province and territory, it provides a pan-Canadian perspective.Two international examples highlight similar work happening abroad.

The case studies profiled in this report include:

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Provincial Health Services Authority
ALBERTA: Alberta Health Services
SASKATCHEWAN: Yorkton Active Transportation Collaboration
MANITOBA: WHO Age-Friendly Cities Pilot Project
ONTARIO: Peel Public Health
QUÉBEC: On the Move to School!
NEW BRUNSWICK: Fredericton Active Transportation Committee
NOVA SCOTIA: Healthy Housing, Healthy Community Project
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: Charlottetown Active Transportation Initiative
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: St. Francis School Greenhouse
YUKON: Millennium Trail
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES: Inuvik Community Greenhouse
INTERNATIONAL: Children’s Tracks Program, Norway
INTERNATIONAL: Go for Health! Collaborative, California (USA)

Waiting period is over

Montreal Gazette, November 2

The election is done, but the need to have our voices heard is as important as ever. Here's a list of things Montrealers should demand of our newly elected officials.

Start treating pedestrians with respect instead of contempt. Routinely in this city, sidewalks on both sides of a busy street are blocked, forcing pedestrians to walk in traffic without protection. Any commercial interest, be it a beer delivery truck, a construction crew, or moving van, is allowed to block a sidewalk for as long as it likes. This has to stop. Also, proper snow clearing of sidewalks is not too much to ask. Public awareness programs about "active transportation" are wonderful, but if it is unsafe and unpleasant to walk in this city, we simply won't do it.

A bridge without direction

Winnipeg Free Press, November 2

It’s not often that the city and province both manage to damage a golden opportunity. Their joint bungling of the abandoned CN Rail right of way through central River Heights and over the Assiniboine River, however, is one such example.

When CN tore up the Oakpoint Subdivision about 10 years ago, the city had an opportunity to convert the land into a transportation corridor, either for rapid transit, or for pedestrians and cyclists.

Travelling an active route to education

Guelph Mercury, November 2
Author: Rick Goodfellow

In 1972 about 80 per cent of those children would have left their neighbourhood school under their own power. They would have walked or biked home. We now label these increasingly underutilized means of locomotion as major components of ‘Active Transportation.’ Chances are that today, not two generations later, students about to embrace summer would leave the school in a private motor vehicle. Significantly less than 30 per cent walk or cycle to or from schools today.

City to improve routes

Nelson Star, October 28
Author: Sam Van Schie

Nobody knows the best routes through Nelson like the people who walk and or bike it every day. That’s why the city planners went to the public with an open house to gain input on their active transportation plan on Oct. 27.

Acceptance of skateboarding is growing

Montereay County: The Herald, November 3
Author: Kristin Leal

Skateboarding also is a mode of transportation. At CSU-Monterey Bay, students can hop on their boards and skate from class to class. The campus does not allow tricks or offer a park, so students are opting to grab their long boards, to arrive on time. "I like long-boarding around the school," said CSUMB student Adam Pinterits. "There are so many hills and curves to ride around on."

Joy, pain of bike commute

Chicago Sun Times, November 2

Sometimes the ride is the best part of the day. It provides exercise, and saves money. It also can make me crazy with aggravation from idiot drivers who don't pay attention, and idiot cyclists who think Milwaukee Avenue is the Tour de France.

[Short item from a reported who wants to continue to cycle occasionally all winter. -MH]

Bike Master Plan: Great! Now Where's the $$$?

Here’s how the authors of the new Bicycle Master Plan imagine Portland in 2030: Portlanders make twenty-five percent of trips in the city by bike, riding along 600 new or improved miles of bikeways, many of them comfy bike boulevards. Gateway and the Lloyd District are transformed into “Bicycle Districts” and NE Going and will look like present-day SE Clinton. Portland east of I-205 will have more bike lanes than the entire city currently has.

Unusual Traffic Lights

Some will enjoy this cute, short video:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Transport Futures 2009: Road Pricing & Public Acceptance Workshops

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009 - 8:30am to 5:30pm (Workshop primarily for government, business, academics, NGOs)

Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 - 1:00pm to 5:30pm (Workshop primarily for community groups, activists, students)

Metropolitan Hotel, Toronto, Ontario

Can changing the way we pay for our roads encourage multi-modal transportation choices, decrease traffic congestion, improve air quality and generate dedicated revenues for renewing aging infrastructure? International research and experience has shown that putting a visual price tag on roads, like we do with other public utilities, can motivate sustainable transport choices while ensuring that road users pay more directly for multi-billion-dollar transportation plans and infrastructure – including transit, cycling and pedestrian facilities. But how do governments charge a user fee for roads when mentioning the words “toll” or “congestion charge” or “tax” raises a multitude of public concerns and opinions?

Don’t miss Transport Futures 2009 where, with the help of European and North American experts, we will delve deeper into public acceptance issues and provide recommendations for and against road pricing in Ontario. Speakers include:

· Gunnar Söderholm, City of Stockholm, Sweden
· Andrew Price, Halcrow Consulting, UK
· Ferry Smith, Royal Dutch (Automobile) Touring Club, NE
· Patrick DeCorla-Souza, Federal Highway Administration, US
· Ken Buckeye, Minnesota Department of Transportation, US
· Robin Lindsey, University of Alberta, Canada
· Imad Nassereddine, 407 ETR, Canada

Questions? Email or call Rose at 905-760-7777 x.101 or 1-866-531-1608.

We look forward to seeing you on November 12th and/or 13th!!