Friday, December 18, 2009

Pollution Probe announces support for Federal Government's announcement of Draft Regulation of GHG emissions from new vehicles

News Release, December 8

"Transportation is the source of one quarter of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. The draft regulations announced by Environment Canada mark the first regulatory action taken by the federal government to reduce GHG emissions", says Mr. Oliver.

Pollution Probe has urged the Government in the past to consider the benefits of a vehicle size-based approach to assigning fuel efficiency or GHG emissions targets to industry, consistent with the approach pioneered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A comprehensive backgrounder on this topic is presented in Pollution Probe's Primer on Fuel Efficiency and Emissions, launched in partnership with the Canadian Automobile Association on November 26th, 2009. The primer is available at or

Some good news from Edmonton

At the Transportation & Public Works Committee meeting on Nov. 17th, 2009, the Committee approved both an Active Transportation Policy and an accelerated funding strategy for the Sidewalk Strategy and Bicycle Transportation Plan update. Both still need to be approved by full City Council. This is great news as it will provide enhanced capital funding to complete the work of both plans over a ten year time frame.

Scroll down to 5.7 and 5.8 to see the documents.

Best Regards,

Rosanne Prinsen MSc.
Resource Coordinator
Alberta Centre for Active Living

Cargo Bikes: Go Ahead And Bring The Kitchen Sink

npr, December 7
Author: Deena Prichep

Picture a vehicle that can carry around your kids and groceries efficiently, and doesn't burn any fossil fuels. But there's one drawback: You have to pedal it yourself.

Cargo bicycles are specially designed bikes that can haul several hundred pounds. Long popular in Europe, they're starting to make their way into the United States.

Rumble at the Tim's drive-thru

Canadian Business, December 7
Author: Laura Cameron

Facing a tide of municipal anti-drive-thru ordinances, TDL [parent company of Tim Hortons] commissioned a study last year from RWDI consultants, based in Guelph, Ont., comparing total emissions given off by customers' cars that use drive-thrus and those that use parking lots.

The controversial result — that cars using drive-thrus produce lower emissions than those using parking lots — is now part of the company's arsenal when it takes on councils planning drive-thru bans. Such bans are a challenge for every drive-thru-based business, but the stakes are especially high for Tim Hortons — last year, 50% of its $2 billion revenue came in via the drive-thru.

Councillor: City should clear some snowy trails

Chronicle-Herald, December 8
Author: Sherri Borden Colley

"Right now, . . . we don’t normally clear trails and parks during the winter, but there are some in the urban area, in particular, that are strategic transportation routes that residents use by walking or bicycling, that tend to be closed up in the wintertime because we don’t provide any clearing of the walkways," Coun. Jim Smith (Albro Lake-Harbourview) said Monday.

Making walking a priority for our kids and ourselves, December 6
Author: Mike Klassen

Wanting to walk to school rather than drive is not just nostalgia for my own youth, although that's part of what attracts me to the subject. Walking to school in the morning is so integral to what makes communities work, it surprises me that this has slipped so far off our collective radar.

Five steps to a greener Montreal

The Gazette, December 7
Author: Michelle Lalonde

The city of Montreal has added 104 kilometres to its already impressive network of bike paths, routes and lanes over the past two years, bringing the total to just over 500 kilometres. A new east-west bike path through the downtown core, painted lanes with signage, and the completion of numerous missing links in the network have enticed many Montrealers to give cycling a try.

Commute changes work, life perspectives on getting to and fro

Kings County Register, December 10
Author: Wendy Elliott

Harrison Wright has been using his bike to get to work at the agricultural centre in Kentville for a few years now. With trips to his parents' place in Pereau, he estimates he averages close to 200 kilometres a week on his bike, eight months of the year. In winter, he tends to rely on his trusty, old car.

Orléans looks at roundabout solution

Ottawa Citizen, December 11
Author: Amy Kingdon

The Heart of Orléans Business Improvement Area plans to use the bulk of the federal and provincial grant to develop a roundabout at St-Joseph Boulevard and Jeanne d'Arc Boulevard. The hope is to make St-Joseph more walkable and pleasant.

[All it takes is a little economic crisis for businesses to call for more "walkable and pleasant" streets. -MH]

Youth get a voice in Belleville

The Intelligencer, December 12
Author: W. BriceE McVicar

One of the older attendees, 24-year-old Riley Andrews said Belleville's youth need more programs focusing on a popular youth pastime, skateboarding.

"I see all these local towns and cities spending millions of dollars on concrete skateboard parks but none of them feature any skateboard programs," he said. "I'd like to have something where there's training and lessons and maybe even expand that into a skateboard summer camp program."

Bike lanes in store for Ashman, Rodd in Midland, December 9
Author: Tony Lascari

A proposal to make Ashman and Rodd streets two lanes while adding a bicycle lane will move forward for further review by City of Midland staff.

Suggestions from the city's Non Motorized Transportation Committee also include adding a bike lane on Swede Avenue and installing signs for designated routes in the downtown, east and west regions of the city. The total cost of the suggested changes for 2010 would be $128,000.

TriTAG Urges Region of Waterloo to Cut the Budget for Sprawl

Daily Excahnge, December 9

Investigation by the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG) reveals that the planned 2010 budget for the Region of Waterloo is heavily skewed towards road expansion and makes minimal investments in transit, cycling, and pedestrian infrastructure.

Of the Region's proposed $100 million transportation budget, less than $1 million is planned for sidewalks, and out of a total expenditure of $2.2 million for sidewalks and bike lanes, only $300,000 is not part of an existing road project."

[Imagine what would happen if communities spent the same amount on walking and cycling infrastrucutre based on the 7.7% mode share of Active Transportation. -MH]

Comment sought on active transportation network

Gravenhurst Banner, December 9
Author: Allyson Snelling

Representatives from the District of Muskoka’s active transportation committee have been visiting area municipalities seeking input on their proposed active transportation network.

Paris bike rental scheme shifts gears after vandalism

The Independent, November 24

Paris signed a new deal with the firm running its bike rental scheme Monday after thieves and vandals forced the city to replace the entire 20,000-strong fleet within just two years.

[A]dvertising giant JCDecaux, which runs the hugely successful city-wide scheme, was forced to replace 16,000 bicycles after they were returned to rental stations with twisted handlebars, torn baskets and crushed wheels. Some were covered in rust after being fished out of the Seine.

Another 8,000 have disappeared, with some of the easily recognizable grey bicycles spotted on the streets of eastern European cities.

Review criticizes road plan

Packet & Times, December 11
Author: Colin McKim

Orilla ON - "It is our opinion that the introduction of connections will reduce the safety of pedestrians on Amigo Drive, Wood Avenue and Thomson Crescent due to increased vehicle volumes and the lack of pedestrian facilities," writes Alex Flemming with C. F. Crozier and Associates.

Denmark cycles into future, while Toronto `lags behind', December 12
Author: Tess Kalinowski

Toronto cyclists are casting an envious eye on the host city of the international climate change summit.

In Copenhagen, 36 per cent of commuters travel on bikes, half of all trips are made on two wheels and 70 per cent of cyclists pedal through a winter similar to ours.

"As places like Copenhagen move forward, Toronto continues to lag behind," said cycling activist Albert Koehl.

Boulder County releases final plans for defraying bike-car tensions, December 11
Author: Laura Snider

But next spring, when roads are dry and the skies are blue, bikers will likely be back in droves, ready to ride up Boulder County's spectacular canyons.

And when they do, the county hopes to have already implemented a host of recommendations for increasing the safety of the roads for both bike riders and drivers -- and decreasing the tension that's grown between the two.

[As the number of bicycles on the road grows, there will be increasing tension between cyclists and motorists. This is already being addressed near Boulder Colorado, and is good for all AT people to be familiar with. -MH]

Drivers face speed-camera blitz as more road limits are reduced to 20mph

Daily Mail, December 16
Author: Ray Massey

Motorists face a new speed-camera blitz under Government plans to widen the use of 20mph limits. Whole neighbourhoods will be given the limits in a plan intended to reduce casualties among pedestrians and cyclists.

The Government wants to encourage councils to introduce the 20mph schemes into areas where cycle and pedestrian traffic is high, such as around schools, shops and parks.

[If governments are serious about pedestrian safety, speed limits will need to be reduced, as they are increasingly widely in the UK. -MH]

Cycling Stars at Copenhagen Climate Conference

At the start of the Copenhagen Climate Conference ECF president Manfred Neun sent a letter to all the members of European Parliament's delegation attending the conference. In this letter the ECF stated that urban traffic is responsible for 40% of all CO2 emissions.

“Transport is part of the problem. However, cycling is part of the solution. A tripling of cycling (*) in Europe at the expense of individual motorized trips, would save 49.1 million tons of CO2 or 5% of CO2 transport emissions.” (*)

Clearing a Path for Bikes in City Office Buildings

New York Times, December 8
Author: Susan Stellin

Bikes will soon become a more familiar sight around office cubicles in New York City. On Friday, a new bike access law takes effect in the city, stipulating that buildings with freight elevators must allow employees to use those elevators to take their bikes upstairs. Passed in July, the law aims to encourage bicycle commuting by eliminating worries about the security of street parking.

[More secure bike parking will encourage use for commuting in cities. -MH]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

East Germany's little green man makes a name for himself in the West

The Times, December 4
Author: Michael Binyon

For almost 50 years the Ampelmännchen, East Germany’s traffic light symbol, has been telling pedestrians when to cross the road. More human, more chirpy than the green man on Western pedestrian lights, he is East Germany’s most popular and enduring survivor, one of the few symbols of the old communist state to resist the tide of German unification and to make a name for himself in the West.

[Something a little fun, for a change; there is a picture with the full article. -MH]

Time to 'claim the lane' on bike safety

With the momentum of new legislation in Oregon and a new bicycling mayor in Seattle, Washington needs a bold new "vulnerable user" law for cyclists.

Bridging the Terminology Gap in Support of Active Communities

This report provides an overview of the:

• need for land-use planners and public health professionals to work together to
design, support and promote active communities;

• Planning Active Communities across Ontario Committee; and

• development of a joint glossary of terms for land-use planners and public health
professionals based on provincial terms.

[Worthwhile and valuable reading. -MH]

Canadian TDM Summit 2009 - Presentations

Available at the posted link.

Job Posting: Executive Director, Bike to Work BC

You are a highly motivated manager with fund-raising skills and a strong commitment to cycling, and Bike to Work British Columbia wants you as their executive director. BTWBC is the umbrella organization for all the Bike to Work events occurring in British Columbia, and functions as a not for profit society. The Bike to Work program has been funded by the provincial government for 14 years, and now distributes training, funding, and common elements of the Bike to Work program to all participating communities in BC.

You will be working with a group of aggressive fundraisers from the business community to establish stable year-round funding from business and the communities. You will be working with many BC communities to tailor BTW resources to their local needs, and keeping them communicating their programs and ideas.

You will be developing new programs in new communities to get more people commuting by bicycle. You will be comfortable liaising with a diversity of project partners from health, education, environment, municipalities, traffic management, and other stakeholders across the province. You will have experience in public speaking and group facilitation. You will have excellent communication skills, computer literacy, knowledge and experience in many aspects of urban planning, environmental studies, public health, community planning and development.

Tell us how you will take this organization further and submit your resume and references to Richard Backus, President BTWBC, at, by December 15, 2009.

Official Community Plans

Canadian authorities have shifted gears and decided to waive import duties on some of the bikes from Amsterdam that the Dutch government planned to leave in Canada after the 2010 Winter Olympics, an official with the Netherlands consulate in Vancouver said Wednesday.

Kelowna in tough as it tries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, November 30
Author: Adrian Nieoczym

[C]hanges [to Kelowna's Official Community Plans] would commit the City of Kelowna, in partnership with senior levels of government, local residents and businesses, external agencies, non-governmental organizations and utility providers, to to work towards cutting the community’s GHG emissions by 33 per cent by 2020.

Under the OCP amendment, Kelowna would try to achieve this target by creating more mixed-use neighbourhoods where residents can “conveniently and safely travel by bus or by foot, bicycle and other forms of active transportation to get to major community destinations while ensuring the efficient movement of goods and services.”

Cars a hard habit to break: City's active transport efforts are too little for some

[Edmonton AB] Vue Weekly, November 19
Author: David Berry

City Council laid out some ambitious plans for turning drivers into walkers and cyclists in its recent Transportation Master Plan, but the recommendations of the Active Transportation Funding Strategy has some questioning just how serious the city is about breaking Edmonton's car habits.

Currently, active transport—cycling, walking and other self-propelled modes of transportation—accounts for 11 – 12 percent of travel in the city, and City Council has made it a goal to increase those numbers in the coming years. As it stands, the budget for active transport would make those goals rather difficult: active transport infrastructure funding accounts for just one percent of the transportation budget, compared to 73 percent for cars (though those numbers don't include LRT spending).

Council hears about green power

[Saint John NB] Telegraph-Journal, December 2

The town often speaks about its green initiatives and during Tuesday's town council meeting a presentation showed how it could go further.

Michael Haynes, director of Ottawa-based TransActive Solutions, gave a presentation on active transportation, which is defined as any mode of transportation completed by human power.

Group aims to cut number of lone commuters

[Saint John NB] Telegraph-Journal, December 4
Author: Sandra Davis

A former city planner has been making his way around the city promoting alternative ways of commuting to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles that travel to and from work daily in Saint John's census metropolitan area.

"I've always been into active and alternative transportation," said Craig Campbell, who was with the city for about three decades.

Cycling infrastructure vital to city's future

Edmonton Journal, November 20

Over the past few weeks, city council has been looking at committing $100 million over 10 years to cycling infrastructure as part of its Active Transportation Funding Strategy.

Tuesday, their commitment wavered, and the transportation and public works committee proposed spending much less on cycling than the original $100 million.

Walking, biking good for you and the planet, November 25
Author: Margaret Munro

Pedestrians and cyclists should be made king of the urban jungle, according to an international study showing the big benefits of ``mass active travel.''

It suggests money should be diverted way from roads to make walking and cycling ``the most direct, convenient, and pleasant options for most urban trips.'' Pedestrians and bikers should also get ``priority'' over cars and trucks at intersections.

The study is one of six reports on the ``health dividend'' of combating climate change published in the medical journal Lancet Wednesday.

Huge Rise in e-Bike Sales Amazes Again

What almost everybody expected due to the economic turmoil and because of the big increases in sales in 2007 and 2008, didn’t happen. Instead of diminishing, the leading market for electric bikes in Europe, the Netherlands, keeps growing this year. And in an amazing pace.

Subdivisions: Perimeter

Collingwood Urban Design Standards, December 3
Author: Robert Voight

The way new subdivisions are connected to the existing fabric of the community is an important, since it can impact connectivity associated with active transportation, create incompatibility issues with neighbouring uses, community sense of place, and aesthetics for example.

[T]his Project will focus on creating URBAN DESIGN STANDARDS that are easily used and understood by various stakeholders, specifically: Town Council, Town Staff, community members, and development applicants.

Best yet to come for Guelph cyclists

Guelph, November 30
Author: Rick Goodfellow

Last week I attended a public information session regarding projects for Stone Road and Gordon Street. It is one of the latest pieces in the puzzle toward making Guelph a bicycle-friendly city. Enhancing cycling in Guelph helps meet the city’s goals of an attractive, well functioning and sustainable city; and a healthy and safe community where life can be lived to the fullest. Amen! Wonderful music to these jaundiced ears.

Cyclists call for on-street bike lanes connected to off-street trails needed

The, November 23
Author: Terry Pender

More on-road bike lanes, more off-road trails and better signs to help cyclists navigate the current patchwork of routes are needed across the city.

That’s what dozens of riders said Saturday during public input sessions at the farmers’ market and the ACTIVA Sportsplex for a new Cycling Master Plan.

Time for Kingstonians to get active

Kingston Whig-Standard, November 22
Authors: Jamie Linton, Carolyn Bonta, Spencer Moore

On Nov. 17, city council endorsed an Active Living Charter for the City of Kingston. This marks a pivotal moment, and opportunity, for our city.

The charter signifies a commitment to promoting "active transportation," which means any form of self-propelled travel (such as walking or cycling), either on its own or in combination with public transit. It also means a commitment to promote recreational walking and cycling, as well as other forms of physical recreation.

Port Hope street closing two hours for ceremony

Northumberland Today, November 28
Author: Joyce Cassin

A ribbon-cutting ceremony has been set for December 4 to officially open the new accessible transportation link on Peter St. at Hope St.

The municipality is working toward a well-connected, safe and functional active transportation network for all modes of transportation, she says. In order to have a new sidewalk, they had to reconfigure the four lanes on Peter St. to only three[.]

Public meetings to be held on county trails plan

The Orangeville Banner, November 19
Author: Adam Martin-Robbins

The first draft of Dufferin’s Active Transportation and Trails (DCATT) Master Plan focuses primarily on non-motorized routes on county-owned lands and roads.

It builds upon work done by Headwater’s Communities In Action Trails Working Group and the existing trails plans in Dufferin’s local municipalities.

Students learn about safety at rail crossings

Fort Frances Times, November 4
Author: Heather Latter

In conjunction with “Safe Crossing Week” (Nov. 1-7), students at J.W. Walker and St. Francis here are learning about how to be safe around trains, tracks, and at railway crossings as Safe Kids Canada and CN team up to get the message out.

“With the ‘Safe Routes’ and active transportation project that’s been going on, and also with the safety initiatives around King’s Highway and Keating Avenue with the OPP, we just thought it was a good opportunity to roll in the railway safety aspects of it all,” noted local CN Police Cst. Pete LeDrew.

Bringing Health Information to the Community (BHIC)

New Research Connects Transportation Options to Physical Activity and Health

Two new resources released by Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examine the relationship between investments in active transportation, physical activity and obesity rates, and the extent to which regions across the country are making such investments.

•Making the Link from Transportation to Physical Activity and Obesity summarizes the most up-to-date research showing that transportation investments encourage healthful activity

•The Regional Response to Federal Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects examines how and to what extent regions across the country have used federal transportation funding to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure

Confirmed: New Yorkers Reap Health Benefits From Walking and Biking, December 3
Author: Ben Fried

The NYC Department of Health announced the results of a citywide survey today assessing the health benefits of regular walking and biking. Based on telephone interviews with more than 10,000 New Yorkers, the health department reveals that people who incorporate walking and biking into their daily routine are significantly more likely to report good physical and mental health than those who don't.

The report concludes with recommendations to encourage walking and biking, including steps like building safer infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.

[Report available to download with article. -MH]

New Study Quantifies High Personal Costs of Building CA Cities for Cars, November 19
Author: Matthew Roth

California residents living in sprawling suburban developments could save billions of dollars every year if they lived in denser, urban zones and along transit corridors, according to a study released [November 19] by smart growth and transit advocates TransForm.

Analyzing four metropolitan areas--Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and Sacramento--Windfall for All found that shifting populations in those regions to denser development along transit corridors would save save $31 billion per year, or $3,850 on average per household.

[Report may be downloaded from link with full article. -MH]

Toll Cycle / Pedestrian Pathway Plan For Harbour Bridge

An innovative proposal is being presented to the [Aukland New Zealand] transport agency for a shared pathway on the city-side clip-on of the Bridge so pedestrians and cyclists can cross the bridge.

The proposed Pathway would be attached under the deck cantilever of the eastern clipon.

[You must view the video at the end of the article. It is terrible, but cute and fun, much more enjoyable than being shrill and angry. - MH]

Bike rental scheme expands despite staggering vandalism rates

The [Paris] vélib project came as a gift not just to the Parisian bourgeois-bohème and the free-riding foreigner, but to another well-represented demographic: those with a penchant for smashing bikes against walls, slashing their tyres, chipping lumps out of their frames and tossing the sorry heaps into the Seine. The operators have spent the past 2½ years puzzling over the problem.