Thursday, December 30, 2010

Contact List Deleted

One of the problems with being an "older adult", is that I am occasionally befuddled by technology that is new to me. Such was the case this week, when I finally acquired a Blackberry. Hesitantly, as "older adults" often do, I played with the various functions, trying to learn how they operated without causing lights to flash, bells to ring, and whatever subsequent disaster this signified.

Well, if only lights had sounded, I might have slowed down before I deleted almost the entire e-mail list for the "Active Transportation-Canada" listserv.

Yes, while going through my e-mail options on my phone I noticed that the address book was packed with almost 1,000 names, both from my personal and my professional account. "How cluttered, " I thought. "I will never be e-mailing all these people from my Blackberry." So I deleted them, one by one, thinking that it was from my handheld device only. As you by now understand, it was not.

So, the AT-Canada list has considerably shrunken - to fewer than 25 addresses from nearly 600. If you are readig this, and wish to receive periodic (once or twice a month) updates on the posting of new articles, please send an e-mail to me at I wish to know your first and last names, your city of residence (and country, if not Canada), and, of course, your e-mail address.

Thank you, and Happy New Year.

The New Class Warfare over Bicycles

In Vancouver the pro-car crowd criticizes the Hornby bike lane by claiming to stand up for small business.

In Toronto, after being sworn in as new mayor, Rob Ford declares an end to the "war on cars." He plans to block a light-rail line and to abolish a $60 vehicle registration fee. Don Cherry congratulates him for rising up against the "elite" and slams "bike-riding pinkos" who supposedly once ran the city.

In Montréal a new political party that won office a year ago in the Plateau Mont-Royal borough begins to widen sidewalks, add bike paths and close some streets to traffic. For doing so, critics accuse them of engaging in class warfare.

[Excellent article, well worth reading in full. If you enjoy this, you might also enjoy: The Social Ideology of the Motorcar -MH]

Don Cherry is nothing but a phoney

There he is in Toronna, old Sour Grapes himself, invited to the inauguration of that Chris Farley reincarnation Rob Ford, decked out in a jacket of Liberace pink, dripping sarcasm and hatred with all his soul. "Put that in your pipe and smoke it, ya left-wing kooks," Don Cherry bellows, among other sweet nothings to issue from the loudest mouth in Canada.

The lingo is a half-century old and mostly American, left over from political battles now in the history books. "Pinkos." "Tree huggers." "Left-wing kooks." But the hatred, and the ugliness it fosters, is very much alive. The problem is not so much what Cherry says (we're accustomed to the bile he spews every time he opens his mouth), it's where he says it.

Like his appearance at the coronation of Ford, whose first act as mayor was to flush down the toilet the $130 million Toronto has already spent to modernize and upgrade its transit system. Public transit, in the eyes of Ford and Cherry, is for bike-riding sissies, like the minimum-wage, blue-collar workers who rely on a transit system to get to work.

[Read more by clicking the title, the link to the full article. -MH]

Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation Year in Review

2010 was a busy and productive year for TCAT. Read all about it in their "year-in-review" article on their Website.

More bicycling means safer streets

In July [the New Urban Network] published an article on a surprising trend in New York City — as bicycle use skyrockets, bicycle accidents are dropping. When many bicyclists are on the road, cycling safety improves substantially. This observation is consistent with data from other countries. Cycling is far safer in countries where bicycles are used more often — such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark (see graph at bottom right).

Now comes data from Portland, Oregon, that suggests encouraging bicycle use leads to greater traffic safety in general. Check out the attached graphs [available with full article: click on title]. The one at top right shows the trend in bicycle use versus crashes in Portland. The bicycle use is counted across four major bridges connecting to downtown (these increases have also been documented in other parts of the city). Bicycle trips have more than tripled since 1991.

Montreal - More people cycling, thanks to bike paths

Bicycle use has increased by as much as 40 per cent since 2008 in areas of Montreal where the city has invested in bike paths or lanes, according to a new McGill University study.

Cycling as transportation option is on a roll in D.C.

Drivers in the District could be sharing the roadways with more cyclists as the city expands its network of dedicated bicycle lanes and increases the number of bikes available in a regional program. Dedicated lanes were designed to protect the riders and to increase the number of people who consider bicycling as a mode of transportation, Sebastian said. "This is not bicycling for the sake of bicycling," he said. "We view bicycling as part of our transportation system, like the Circulator [bus service] and Metrorail. We want to give people an alternative."

Newsletter - European Greenways Info

With news of trail openings and events from across Europe, this newsletter might be of some general interest. -MH

Snowshoes perfect for stomping through snowy woods

Why stay indoors because of a little snow?

Website - Green Exercise

Interesting Website with a newly published research study and book: Nature and Culture: Rebuilding Lost Connections, Edited by Sarah Pilgrim and Jules Pretty. July 2010. Earthscan, London.

Bracebridge ON - Town shuffles committee structure

Last week, council voted to dissolve several existing committees, streamline others and draw up terms of reference for several new ones. Among the new additions, staff was requested to create terms of reference for advisory committees on active transportation, community recognition and the environment. Council also decided to pursue the creation of a facilities working group that will initiate planning on the replacement of the existing arena.

Walking in a city of cars

Although [Winnipeg] has been making strides in accommodating pedestrians and cyclists through traffic-calming barriers, active transportation paths and other measures, those who rely on two legs to get around still face formidable challenges in the age of four wheels. In the last 10 days alone, three people on foot have been killed and three injured in collisions with automobiles.

More than 4,000 Canadian pedestrians, including 166 in Manitoba, were killed crossing a street between 1992 and 2001, according to Transport Canada. Another 142,515 were injured, including 5,726 in Manitoba. Most, if not all, were preventable.

Editorial: Bixi is a gamble worth taking

The incredible popularity of Bixi in Montreal and cities around the world seems to have taken its backers by surprise. A year and a half after the bicycle-hire program was launched here, more than 14,000 of the sturdy bikes are in service on three continents.

What's ahead for Toronto's transit system?

The Transit City plan, with light rail at its core, was put on hold as the new decision makers crafted a new one. While Toronto prepares for 2011, the only thing certain about its transit future is that a new vision is being crafted that will take it underground.

Israel - New Cycle Path Inaugurated in Alon HaGalil

KKL-JNF has added a new single-track route to the Alon HaGalil cycle path in northern Israel. The new section, which is 11 kilometers long, forms part of a 43-kilometer system of cycling trails that includes both challenging single tracks for experienced riders and family routes for beginners.

The Jezreel Valley Regional Council, the Kishon Drainage Authority and the Alon HaGalil All-Terrain Center all partnered KKL-JNF in this project. The entire route was constructed by physical labor alone, in order to minimize damage to the surrounding landscape. Local residents and youngsters, recruits from the nearby army base, Bedouin soldier-teachers and the children of KKL-JNF staff members all helped the KKL-JNF professionals to construct the path.

[New bicycle paths are being constructed everywhere in the world. -MH]

Dutch Dealers Make Big Bucks with e-Bikes

Electric bicycles are now the biggest money-maker for dealers in the Netherlands. In the first six months of 2010 e-Bikes turned into the number one sales segment money-wise. Overall sales of electric bikes stood at 37.6% of the total turnover at dealers in the Netherlands.

Pelham to promote active transportation

The town’s General Committee approved adding the development of an Active Transportation Master Plan to the town’s 2011 capital budget at its Monday-night meeting. The plan will aim to improve and promote conditions for safe walking and cycling in the town. Specifically the plan will focus on providing a town-wide pedestrian and cycling network, mapping of routes, identification af suggested infrastructure improvements and strategies, policies and programs encouraging active transportation.

Study - Examining Walkability and Social Capital as Indicators of Quality of Life at the Municipal and Neighborhood Scales

While the health and environmental implications of walkable communities are being extensively studied, the social benefits have not been investigated as broadly. Through a case study approach this article argues that the generation and maintenance of social capital is another important component of quality of life that may be facilitated by living in a walkable community.

Montreal - City Puts $104 Million on line to back BIXI Business

The city of Montreal has maintained that taxpayers will never pay a cent for Bixi. But if the bicycle-sharing service flops, the city could be on the hook for as much as $104 million after it agreed to guarantee the network’s loans and credit lines last week.

But city executive committee member Manon Barbe says it’s worth the risk, because Bixi has proven very popular locally, and its international sales are boosting Montreal’s reputation and will eventually finance the service’s growth in Montreal. “It’s a great Montreal success story – 30,000 members, 3.3 million trips taken (locally) last year. Everybody wants it in their neighbourhood,” said Barbe, who is responsible for transportation.

[How does this compare with what your city has "put on the line' for cycling? -MH]

Ireland - Local authorities required to promote travel by bicycle

Local authorities are to be required to include specific policies in their development plans to encourage travel by bicycle and to enable the creation of safe and efficient networks of cycle routes, especially in urban areas.

Minister of State for transport Ciarán Cuffe has designated the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009-2020 to be related to proper planning and sustainable development under the Planning Acts. The policy requires that all local authority development plans must seek to minimise travel distances and create high-quality cycle and pedestrian networks.

[With the exception of Quebec, have we seen anything at all similar in Canada? -MH]

US - Active Transportation Strategy: Preparing for the 112th Congress

This document summarizes Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s sense of the federal policy-making context facing active transportation proponents as the 112th Congress convenes in January 2011. [They] provide some initial thoughts on next steps and the role of state-and community-based partners to facilitate [their] own thinking and planning.

[Canadian advocates might learn something from the advocacy approach demonstrated by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in this document. -MH]

Upcoming Conference - Transport Futures Mobility Pricing Conference

Taking place in Toronto on Thursday, February 3rd, the conference will expand our road pricing focus to include three other major mobility fees: parking fees, gas taxes and transit fares.

International research and experience has demonstrated that transport-based user fees can be set by government in order to modify driver behavior, raise earmarked revenue for transportation infrastructure and assist in making bureaucracies more efficient, transparent and accountable to the public.

Study - Criterion distances and correlates of active transportation to school in Belgian older adolescents

Abstract of a study conducted among school-age children in Flanders in Belgium to determine what an appropriate distance is for promoting Active Transportation.

Very brief reference, but the article title, authors, and journal are mentioned if you wish more detail.

Video - History of Cycle Paths in the Netherlands

An interesting five minute video that gives some background on the Dutch history of bike trail development.

City wins provincial Walkability Award of Excellence

The City of Brantford has earned itself bragging rights for yet another walkability-related distinction: the Ontario Walkability Award of Excellence! This award celebrates the efforts that the City has taken over the last few years in promoting walkability. The Brantford Active Transportation Group (formerly the Brantford Walkability Task Force), submitted the application, which covered such topics as measurable results, community engagement, evaluation, partnerships and collaboration, education, policy and planning, and infrastructure.

Presentation - Visualising Bike Share (Worldwide)

A presentation showing the trends in bike share programs worldwide.

Fort Erie unveils skatepark

It has been a long time coming, but the Fort Erie Skatepark is now a reality. In fact some youth from around town were so excited they were getting a head start before the construction fences had been removed.

US - Crosswalk Marking Field Visibility Study

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released a TechBrief that investigates the relative daytime and nighttime visibility of three crosswalk marking patterns--transverse lines, continental, and bar pairs.

Huntsville City Councilman Will Culver determined to stop pedestrian deaths on University Drive

Huntsville City Councilman Will Culver said it's past time to fix a jaywalking problem that has claimed the lives of three pedestrians in the past decade. "The evidence here shows that this is a dangerous area that we've got to do something about," Culver said Thursday. "My biggest nightmare is waking up and seeing a police cruiser attending to the death of a child on University Drive."

The safety effect of exchanging car mobility for bicycle mobility

A recent study published by researchers from the Netherlands.

Walkolution E-news Fall 2010

This Walkolution E-newsletter, combining updates on our work with children and youth (Active & Safe Routes to School) as well as news regarding walkable communities, is full of inspiring and thoughtful updates regarding walking issues in Ontario and across Canada.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kingston - Local Students Try Out Walking to School for a Change

Some of the students at Lancaster Drive Public School will take an unusual bus to school tomorrow. Instead of the traditional yellow-orange four-wheeler most are used to, students will take a ride to school on the walking school bus, a program developed through Active and Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) Canada.

Owen Sound - Bike lanes worth it, Wynne says

[Province of Ontario] Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne said Tuesday that paved shoulders on Hwy. 6 should improve safety for cyclists and drivers and help the area's economy by boosting tourism.Crews are resurfacing and paving shoulders one metre wide on the 66-kilometres of Hwy. 6 between Mar and Tobermory, as well as 23 km. on Manitoulin Island north of Hwy. 542. It's part of a trial project for the province's new active transportation program that will see more cyclists sharing the road with drivers.

"I think it's important that when we are making policy on infrastructure that we look at the economic needs of communities, and this area is so important in terms of tourism. It's about bike and vehicle safety and it's also about economic development and tourism," Wynne said. "We're told that this extra metre of pavement on the side of the road is going to make a big difference for the cyclists, and to be fair, I think it makes a big difference for the other vehicles that are sharing the road with cyclists to know there is that margin on the side of the road."

Halifax - Committees to be consolidated

Halifax regional council gave the go-ahead yesterday to bring about 40 municipal committees under the heading of six “standing committees.” Under the standing committee structure, the majority of previously existing committees will be grouped by themes.

For example, the new standing committee for transportation will include the current active transport committee, transit advisory committee and the regional trails advisory.

Walking 6 to 9 Miles a Week May Help Save Memory

"We have always been in search of the drug or the magic pill to help treat brain disorders," noted Kirk I. Erickson, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and the study's lead author. "But really what we are after may be, at least partially, even simpler than that. Just by walking regularly, and so maintaining a little bit of moderate physical activity, you can reduce your likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease and [can] spare brain tissue."

Moncton crews painting 'sharrows'

The outlines show a cyclist with two arrows above it, and city staff are calling them "sharrows." They will be painted on several city streets in the coming weeks to promote the sharing of the road between vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. It's all part of Moncton's active transportation plan, which was adopted by council in August.

Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation Papers

The Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation presented two papers at the Walk21 Conference in the Hague.

Nancy Smith Lea's paper titled Converting On-Street Parking to Active Transportation in Toronto: Two Studies of Merchant and Patron Preferences can be downloaded: TCAT1

Stephanie Tencer's paper titled Contextualizing the Community Walkability Audit Tool is now available for download: TCAT2.

2011 World Record Walk

Green Communities Canada needs your votes in the AVIVA Community Fund competition! GCC aims to engage 1,000,000 Canadians in a joyous celebration of walking to break the World Record for the largest, simultaneous 1 km walk.

WE NEED YOUR HELP this month to make this project happen! Please consider supporting us by voting for the project. Voting continues through Dec. 2nd - you can vote once a day for the ten day period. The top ten ideas with the most votes go on to the semi-finals. You can also help spread the word to your networks, colleagues, and friends to encourage them to support this idea as well.

This will not simply be a one day event. It will be a year-long project designed to continue to build a culture of walking throughout Canada. The anticipated outcomes of the 2011 World Record Walk are:

1. Participation by 1 million Canadians in a simultaneous 1 km walking event
2. Extensive national media coverage focusing on the importance of walking and walkable communities and international media interest
3. Citizen engagement in the creation of more walkable communities
4. Municipal commitment to the International Charter of Walking and associated action plans to increase walkability and promote walking.
5. Increased levels of everyday walking by Canadians
Visit Canada Walks on facebook!/pages/Canada-Walks/164765033556001 and click on “like” to stay on top of all the latest developments.
Thanks for your support!
Kind regards,
Kate Hall

Employment Opportunity

Position: Active Transportation Project Coordinator
Organization: Town of Bridgewater
Location: Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

The Town of Bridgewater (NS) is seeking an Active Transportation Project Coordinator for a part-time, paid, term position (8 months). The Coordinator will be primarily responsible for managing the Town of Bridgewater's "Workplace Travel Planning" (WTP) project which seeks to partner with local workplaces, and assist them.

Employment Opportunity - Ottawa

Position: Tour Co-ordinator/Liaison(s), Otesha Cycling and Performing Tours
Organization: The Otesha Project
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

The Otesha Project is seeking dedicated, organized, fun-loving person to co-ordinate one of our 2011 Cycling and Performing Tours, and then hit the road with the team, serving as its communications liaison. This is a brand new opportunity for 2011, and we're excited!

Bike-to-school advocates face uphill journey

The bike-to-work craze sweeping Vancouver has not caught on among Metro schoolchildren, say cycling advocates who believe they have identified the reasons parents don't encourage their kids to ride.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kingston rethinks its street designs

Pedestrians and bicyclists will have greater rights on the streets of Kingston if the city's legislative body has its way. "There are things we need to have in place to be competitive for grants and be ready for climate change," said Democratic Second Ward Alderman Tom Hoffay.

Converts to the "complete streets" design philosophy preach that sidewalks should be wide and landscaped with bushes and trees; part of each road should be designated solely for bikes; buildings should be close to the road, with parking in the back; and wide roads should have islands or greenery in the center to aid pedestrian crossings.

Copenhagen plans super highways ... for bikes

Copenhagen, one of the world's most bicycle-friendly cities, has begun turning its extensive network of cycle paths into bike highways in an effort to push more commuters to leave their cars at home.

Considered one of Europe's two "bicycle capitals" along with Amsterdam, Copenhagen counts more bicycles than people and cycling is so popular that its numerous bike paths can become congested. Two-wheeler traffic jams are especially regular on the main Noerrebrogade thoroughfare used by around 36,000 cyclists a day.

Trails Working Group cheers County approval of master plan

The Trails Working Group of Headwaters Communities in Action (HCIA) has welcomed the approval of Dufferin’s Trails and Active Transportation Master Plan (DCATT) by County council. “This is a major milestone in the journey to establish an interconnected system of trails within and between communities in the Headwaters,” said Working Group Chair Chris Broom.

River ice jam soaks Calgary cyclists

Four cyclists using the Bow River pathway had to be treated for exposure Wednesday night after they suddenly found themselves submerged in frigid water created by a buildup of ice.

Winnipeg - $3 million more approved for bike, walking trails

City council’s public works committee has approved a plan to spend another $3 million on Winnipeg’s active-transportation program. The city needs $3 million more to pay for components of the 36-project bike-and-pedestrian upgrade that do not qualify for provincial and federal funding.

Winnipeg - Bike paths left unfinished

Six out of 36 bike-and-pedestrian projects planned for Winnipeg this year will have to wait until 2011 to be completed, as the city's active-transportation upgrade has wrapped up for the winter.

Toronto mayor-elect Rob Ford prefers cars, not bikes

The Toronto cycling community was blindsided when anti-bike Councillor Rob Ford was voted in as the city’s new mayor scheduled to take office 1 December.

Ted Talks - James H Kunstler dissects suburbia

In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.

[This is a 20-minute video of his speech. -MH]

Sussex NB - Town's new plan aims to cut red tape

To address public concerns about transportation, the document now better represents citizens' interest in creating and sustaining safe pedestrian and bicycle movement throughout the community. "A lot of the public saw this as very important to the character of the town of Sussex," Corbett said in his public presentation in council chambers this week, which was attended by three members of the community. The plan also allows for the better linking up of residential and commercial areas to these bike and pedestrian routes.

Winnipeg - Work on Disraeli bridges begins

Ebenspanger said the new bridge will carry four lanes of traffic — two northbound and two southbound. The lanes will be wider to allow for cyclists and a concrete barrier will separate pedestrians from traffic. These features will be in addition to the new active transportation bridge, which will link up with active transportation routes to the Northeast Pioneers Greenway and The Forks.

Winnipeg - Traffic circles continue to sprout

A fresh crop of traffic circles has materialized on Nassau Street as construction crews attempt to complete the city's $20.4-million active-transportation upgrade before the snow falls.

Thirty five new bike-and-pedestrian projects planned for Winnipeg this year must be finished before April 2011 to meet the terms of a funding agreement between the city, province and Ottawa. Since all but three involve pouring concrete, that means 32 must be completed before the winter.

Program being spearheaded by Bridgewater Elementary

Like most towns, Bridgewater has raised a generation of children who primarily get drives to and from school instead of biking or walking. Among the many possible solutions that may be identified include creating a walking school bus program or safe-cycling routes in some neighbourhoods; adding crosswalks, crossing guards or traffic lights at certain intersections; or changing parking zones around the school.

City Transportation hopes to make Calgary more pedestrian friendly under new Council’s rule

Mayor-elect Naheed Nenshi says he wants quick wins to show change in Calgarians everyday lives and it’s in transportation where he expects quick results.

“This is the busiest portion of the pathway system in Calgary and I think it’s very symbolic of the shifting philosophy and making pedestrians first,” says Malcolm Logan, GM of City of Calgary Transportation. “Regardless of the procurement and the controversies around that, this really sends a message that we are serious about investing in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.”

In New York’s bike lanes, who are the real scofflaws?

It's true that, at least in New York City, there's probably a scofflaw in any given bike lane at any given time. But chances are high it's not the person on the bicycle.

So observed the staff of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer when he sent them out to 11 bike lanes in Manhattan to record every single traffic infraction occurring in the lanes. The unscientific results evoke a vivid, chaotic, and very New York streetscape. While reading it, you can almost hear the honking in the background.

Ottawa turns parking meters into bike racks

Some old parking meters in Ottawa are being converted into bike racks as the city looks for new ways of using the old, decommissioned stands. More than 500 of the old meters will be retrofitted with bars and turned into bicycle parking.

Vancouver selected as the host of the Velo-city Global 2012 conference

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson today thanked European Cycling Federation President Manfred Neun for selecting Vancouver as the host of the prestigious Velo-city Global 2012 conference, the first time the event has been held outside of Europe since 1996.

"Velo-city will bring together hundreds of planners, transportation experts and cycling specialists from around the world to discuss the fast-growing role of cycling in urban transportation," said Mayor Robertson. "We are very excited that the European Cycling Federation has selected Vancouver for its global conference in 2012.

"Hosting a major international conference like Velo-city is a good boost for our local economy, and it's a great opportunity to showcase Vancouver's bike infrastructure to the world's leading transportation experts."

An estimated 1,000 conference delegates and their guests will attend the conference, which will be held in June 2012 at a Vancouver location yet to be selected.

The Vancouver bid for the conference was prepared by the City of Vancouver, Tourism Vancouver, TransLink and the VeloWorks Cycling Society.

"Cycling is already an important travel mode in Metro Vancouver, and TransLink has partnered with the City, the province and the federal government in major infrastructure upgrades to make it an even better option for more people," said TransLink's vice president of Customer and Public Engagement, Bob Paddon. "TransLink is pleased to support the 2012 Velo-city conference.'

"Bravo to the City of Vancouver, Translink and VeloWorks for their efforts in bringing the 2010 Velo-City conference to Vancouver," said Rick Antonson, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver. "Not only will Velo-City generate business for the local tourism industry, it reinforces Vancouver's reputation as a clean and green travel destination with exceptional offerings for cyclists."

Reality vs. Myth: The "dangers" of Dutch cycle paths

A video about cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands, and its influence in creating safe cycling conditions:

"Dutch cyclists are not only the safest in the world, but also the Dutch cycle more than people of any other nation. Almost the whole population (93%) rides a bike at least once a week. Every type of person cycles. The infrastructure is the reason why."

Best Buy to electrify bicycle sales in 2011

Retail titan Best Buy is keeping electric bikes firmly in its plans for 2011, and will stock a full e-bike range in all of its [five UK] stores next year.

Vancouver - Bike lanes gear up to be election issue

When Vancouver councillor Suzanne Anton sent out an urgent news release last week rescinding her vote for the Hornby Street bike lane, it looked as though the stage was being set for a replay of the bike lane as a civic-election wedge issue in 2011.

Experiment: Town in England turns off traffic lights, surprising results.

A five-minute video that is worth watching.

‘Active’ commuting isn’t just about pavement

Toronto has more on-street bike lanes and more bike parking than other cities, including Vienna, Berlin, New York and Montreal.

But we’re not keeping pace with those places in terms of features that would really draw more people to cycling and walking, according to two new studies released by the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT).

TCAT releases two new reports on the state of cycling infrastructure in Toronto

The Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation has released two new reports on the state of active transport in Toronto.

The first report, titled "Benchmarking Active Transportation in Canadian Cities," compared active transport in Toronto to other cities in Canada, the United States and Europe. Among other things, the study found that cities with more kilometres of bicycle facilities have a higher active transportation mode share, and that these cities have a lower percentage of cyclist and pedestrian injuries and deaths. In essence: more active transport, fewer relative injuries and deaths.

The second report, called "Building Better Cycling Arteries in Cities: Lessons for Toronto," looked at how to integrate cycling on arterial roads, comparing case studies from Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Portland, New York City and Berlin. Both reports can be downloaded from the TCAT website.

Americans not hitting their walking stride

Americans have got some walking to do if they want to catch up with the rest of the world. They are far outpaced by Australians, Asians and Europeans who walk much more, according to a new study.

Adults in western Australia average 9,695 steps a day. The Swiss followed with 9,650, while the Japanese clocked in with 7,168 steps. But Americans straggled far behind with just 5,117 steps.

Walking may keep brain from shrinking in old age

Walking at least six miles a week may be one thing people can do to keep their brains from shrinking and fight off dementia, U.S. researchers said.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Special Report - Winnipeg

No city in Canada has made as many investments in Active Transportation as quickly as the City of Winnipeg. In April 2010, the city announced that it would spend a record $20.4 million to build new bike and pedestrian routes.

Because the majority of the money for these projects came from federal infrastructure funds, the construction needed to be completed this fiscal year.

At the time, the move was widely applauded. However, as the projects went forward, and several streets were changed with new bike lanes and roundabouts, public opposition grew. From its start with affected residents compplaining of insufficient consultation, opposition has exploded to businesses bringing lawsuits against the city and the issue of Active Transportation becoming a major - if not defining - issue of the upcoming municipal election.

Active Transportation - Canada has published a number of  the newspaper articles related to this issue, but the number of these exploded in recent weeks as the election approached.So instead, please find a list of many of the recent items that have appeared in Winnipeg papers. Those interested in how their community might respond to rapid improvements in its AT infrastrucutre might benefit from reviewing the Winnipeg example.

We should be clear in our understanding of this issue, with AT we are talking about changing the design and function of our cities. Such change will not occur easily, and without opposition. The current struggles in Winnipeg constitute a valuable lesson for us all in Canada.

I would enjoy hearing comments on this topic from the AT-Canada subscriber community.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Australian Vision for Active Transport

In a unique partnership, five groups have come together with An Australian Vision for Active Transport and are calling on the Australian Government to make a major commitment to driving active transport in Australia.

A sustainable and healthy future for Australia requires action to encourage more Australians to use active transport—walking, cycling and using public transport—more cost effective than structured exercise programs.

Campaign for Active Transportation: Campaign Brochure

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has created a brochure for the Campaign for Active Transportation that can be distributed locally to generate interest and engage various stakeholders and the public in general.

Sustainable Mobility Summit 2010: Transforming our Communities

The Sustainable Mobility Summit 2010 featuring Canadian and international experts speaking on the theme of sustainable mobility as a means of transformative change in urban communities. International speakers will join us for a special one-day forum (Monday November 22) on global best practices in sustainable mobility and the related opportunities for Canada’s Capital Region.

Green Life: We're winning the bike race

Cyclists should be grateful to live in Montreal, where advocates and politicians have ensured we aren't muscled off the road by cars and trucks. But there are always ways to improve our standing.

Dangerous intersection priority No. 1 at N.D.G. forum

This [intersection of Décarie Blvd. and de Maisonneuve Blvd. in Notre Dame de Grâce] emerged as one priority for action at a forum held Saturday by the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre, as part of its Green, Active, Healthy Neighbourhood program in southeastern N.D.G.

The objective of the program is to rethink the design of streets and public spaces promote “active transportation,” such as walking and cycling, and improve the quality of life in certain neighbourhoods.

Thanks for paving the way for Brant County trail users

Brant County's newly-paved rail trail from Burtch Road to Jenkins Road now puts us on the map.

British Columbia Cycling Coalition

Presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, September 16, 2010.

St. Thomas - Campaign aims to increase walking

Green Communities Canada, in partnership with Elgin St. Thomas Public Health, is challenging residents to use alternative methods of transportation, instead of jumping into the car or van for short trips around the city.

Through the iCANwalk campaign, they are encouraging active forms of transportation, such as walking or cycling, and want individuals to get their friends and family involved as well.

First Ever Bicycle Valet at Winnipeg Blue Bombers Game a Success

Bicycle Valet Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are pleased to announce a successful introductory Bicycle Valet at Game 4 on July 24th against Edmonton.
"A free bicycle valet has proven to be very popular amongst Bomber fans," says David Wieser, project manager of Bicycle Valet Winnipeg. "I expect it to be even more popular as more fans will choose to cycle to the next game knowing that we are here to look after their bikes."

Bike path in the ditch

The bike caisson by the Nijmegen designer Jean-Paul de Garde allows construction of a bike path where lack of space would otherwise necessitate cutting down trees or additional land acquisition. The caisson with the bike path on top is simply placed in the existing ditch.

CarFree Times

Interesting newsletter featuring controversial ideas and articles.

Australia - Scooter bike lanes plan

Scooters would be able to use on-road bike lanes for six months in a proposed trial.
Supporters of the plan say "safe routes" would encourage more commuters to use the cheap and efficient form of transport.

But the idea is opposed by cyclists, who say it will put them in danger.

David Byrne, Gregor Robertson to Talk Bicycles

On Oct. 24, David Byrne will host Cities, Bicycles, and the Future of Getting Around. It's a new take on Talking Heads: a lecture series that brings the Grammy/Oscar/Golden Globe winner together with a civic leader, an urban theorist and a bike advocate to discuss how to make Vancouver more bike-friendly.

Video - Junction design for safer cycling (Netherlands)

Separate bicycle infrastructure makes traffic safer but only if it is designed right. The Netherlands has the highest percentage of trips made by bicycle and its streets are the safest in the world. Many years of experience have eliminated design flaws in cycle infrastructure and the high use of it has resulted in a type of design that has proven to be much safer. Other countries are now developing their own bicycle infrastructure and could make good use of the expertise the Netherlands obtained over decades.
In this video a closer look at the design of large junctions with separate bicycle paths. The position of waiting cyclists: in view of drivers, the way green cycles work, and the separation of types of traffic also on the junction itself, make all the difference.

VACC pumps purchase power of cyclists with Businesses for Bikes program

Businesses for Bikes is a [Vancouver] membership-driven program which already has 62 founding members on day one. In the coming months, Businesses for Bikes will distribute a Guide for Marketing to Cyclists and kick off a Discover by Bike project, according to the VACC release.

Weaselhead ring road not on, Higgins said

Higgins also wants to expand the Bus Rapid Transit system, expanding student bus passes, pushing for monthly downtown street parking passes, bringing in more car pooling lanes and investigating “seasonal bicycle highways.”

Walk your kid to school

"Park Dale encourages students to walk to school throughout the year", Tinneke Wilson, a teacher at Park Dale Public School in Belleville and a mother of two, said in a health unit press release.

Want people to bike? Improve bike safety, say residents

Residents who attended an active transportation meeting Thursday night asked the town to create safe walking and cycling paths and lanes from subdivisions to areas such as the Q-Plex, schools and major commercial districts.

Cycling survey by Cycle Chatham-Kent has results online

A survey peddled to council hopefuls by Cycle Chatham-Kent shows there's plenty of support for increasing active transportation.

Orillia hears call for sustainability

As part of the city's 2010 capital budget process, city council approved funds to hire a consultant to prepare an active transportation plan. The city has now hired MMM Group, a very prestigious active transportation consultancy group, to write an active transportation plan for Orillia. The plan will be presented to council in spring 2011.

Pave highway shoulders for cyclists: Ont. bill

There could soon be more paved shoulders on the side of some secondary Ontario highways to encourage cyclists and make roads safer for everyone.

Progressive Conservative Norm Miller's private member's bill, which would require a one-metre paved shoulder be added whenever designated secondary highways are being resurfaced, passed second reading Thursday with support from all three parties.

Walking helps keep body and brain young

Everyone knows that walking limbers the aging body, but did you know it keeps the mind supple as well?
Research shows that walking can actually boost the connectivity within brain circuits, which tends to diminish as the grey hairs multiply.

New Jersey could help solve obesity by making it easier for people to walk or bike

John Pucher analyzed data from 15 countries, 50 states and 47 of the nation's largest cities for a relationship between "active travel" — the kind that doesn't rely upon motorized vehicles — and health.

Not surprisingly, he found that communities where people cycle and walk more in daily life have less obesity and diabetes than those where people rely on cars to get around. That was true at all three geographic levels, he said in a study called "Walking and Cycling to Health: A Comparative Analysis of City, State and International Data."

Active and Safe Routes to School Newsletter - Nova Scotia

Sample: Learn the Making Tracks Skate Pass® program to offer children at your school, community centre or recreation centre. Aimed at recreation/community centre staff, teachers or potential high school aged youth mentors, the session will take place at the Citadel Community Centre from 1 to 5 pm on October 22. For more information or to register please contact Jennifer McGowan, Community Advisor, Active & Safe Routes to School at 902.442.5055.

Destination of the week: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Cycling is possible year round, though most people find it a sane option only during the warmer months. The city maintains over 600 kilometers of trails, bike paths and multi-use paths as well as over 100 kilometers of street-side bike lanes. Edmonton is actively promoting bike use by building more bike paths and bike lanes and allowing bikes to be brought on public transit. Organizations like Edmonton Bicycle Commuters and festivals like the annual bike month also encourage people to get in the saddle instead of behind the wheel.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gatineau QC - Conference Sustainable Transportation: Employers, time to act!

You are invited to participate in a free workshop designed to help employers and organizations in the region (Gatineau/Ottawa) acquire the tools to manage mobility and encourage sustainable commuting options.

When: Tuesday, September 21st
Time: Noon – 5 pm
Location: Jean-Despréz Hall, Maison du citoyen, 25 Laurier Street, Gatineau

Topics include :
· Transportation demand management for businesses: efficient, cost saving and eco-friendly – TMA at your service!
· Sustainable transit for health centers: Sherbrooke CHU and CSSS-IUGS program
· Improving commuting to business parks: example of Greater Quebec City industrial park
· Change management and resistance: how to foster change among businesses

This half day workshop is part of Car Free Day 2010 initiatives. Presentations will be simultaneously translated into English and all resources will be available in both official languages.

Go to for details and registration.

This initiative is brought to you by Vivre en ville, the City of Gatineau and supported by the City of Ottawa and EnviroCentre.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

US - Public Policies for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility

In May 2009, a team of 12 transportation professionals from the United States with expertise in bicycling
and walking visited five countries in Europe to identify and assess effective approaches to improve pedestrian
and bicyclist safety and mobility.1 The countries visited—Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the
United Kingdom—were chosen because of their innovative approaches to pedestrian and bicycle transportation, as well as the potential transferability of their policies and practices.

Later in 2009, the international scan team developed a summary report that outlined its findings and a list of
recommended implementation actions. One of the highest rated implementation actions was the development of a policy review for bicycling and walking safety and mobility. This report is the result of that recommended
implementation action.

Portland OR - Bike Corrals: Local Business Impacts, Benefits, and Attitudes

Portland’s Bicycle Corral Program began with a single location in 2004. The exclusive on-street bicycle parking facility was successful and led to the installation of 40 additional corrals city-wide by 2010.

The purpose of this preliminary study was to research and closely examine the perceived benefits and impacts of bike corrals on local businesses proximate to a corral.

Cyclists aim to change Ontario attitudes and laws

For the past five years, hundreds of riders across Ontario have taken part in Greg's Ride, organized by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in memory of a police officer struck and killed while riding his bicycle.

Share the Road - Ontario Bike Summit

Walk, cycle to fight obesity: study

People who walk or cycle for transport tend to be slimmer than those who rely on a car to get around, according to a new study of 15 countries. The study looked at the relationship between "active travel" — bicycling or walking instead of driving — and physical activity, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

More than half of the differences in obesity rates among countries was linked to walking and cycling rates, Prof. David Bassett Jr. of the department of kinesiology, recreation and sport studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his colleagues report in the American Journal of Public Health.

One Less Car, Ten More Bikes

Thanks to Realtor Craig Della Penna, there’s now one less place to park your car downtown. There are, however, 10 more places to park your bicycle.

Video - Pedal Power (CBC Documentary)

In Canada, bicycles "don't get no respect." From the story of Igor, and the anatomy of the underground world of bike peddlers in Toronto, this film spins out to how other cities are making riding safe. Using innovative "bike-cam" techniques to convey, up-close, the sensation of bike riding, a series of character-driven mini-narratives propel the film through a study of what makes a city "bikeable". Whether it's the public bike program in Paris, bike mega-garages in Amsterdam, bike paths in Vancouver and Montreal, or the surprising leadership of New York City, we follow the story of this remarkable little conveyance as it wheels though the first decade of the 21st century.

Study: Men behind wheel in most car accidents involving deaths of pedestrians

A city study of pedestrian deaths found that male drivers are responsible for the vast majority - and that November and December are the most dangerous months.

Photos - Bike to Work BC

Dr. Richard Backus is president of Bike to Work BC and he practices what he preaches.

Perth AU - City West Public Shared Path

City West PSP (Public Shared Path) will sooner or later require some treatment to facilitate safer interaction between cyclists travelling on the PSP and pedestrians crossing it to get to West Perth or walking along the path to get to Harbour Town shopping area.

Researchers: Walking could prevent 10,000 cancer cases annually in United Kingdom

Around 10,000 cases of breast and bowel cancer could be avoided every year in Britain if people did a bit more brisk walking, the World Cancer Research Fund said Tuesday.

World Cancer Research Fund

Montreal - Laurentian Bank joins the In Town Without my Car, for a whole week! movement

The Laurentian Bank is proud to announce it will be an official presenter for the In Town Without my Car, for a whole week! 2010 edition event, organized by the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT).

The 8th edition of the event will take place over five days, from Monday, September 20 to Friday, September 24. As usual, several streets will be closed to motorized vehicles for one day on Wednesday, September 22. In addition, throughout the week, the public will be invited to experience public and active transportation for five consecutive days, as part of a program that presents different themes daily.

Winnipeg - Looming deadline to complete bike paths

The city says it’s on track to finish dozens of construction projects that should make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly.

There are 35 pathways planned, all part of a federal and provincial spending spree. But there’s a catch: the work has to be done fast, and in some cases, construction has yet to begin.

Rob Ford transit plan focuses on subways, roads

Mayoral frontrunner Rob Ford, who has come under fire from his opponents for not having a plan to back up his “stop-the-gravy-train” rhetoric, has unveiled a $4.8-billion transit plan that focuses on subways and traffic flow, cuts down on streetcars and keeps bike lanes off the city's streets.

Also: Ford declares war on the streetcar

Where do Toronto’s mayoral candidates stand on bike lanes and cycling issues?

Whether s/he’s developed an official “transportation plan” or has merely commented/complained about bike lanes in the city, find our what five of the leading mayoral candidates have to say about cycling issues in Toronto.

Helping Quispamsis get active in transportation

An active transportation plan for Quispamsis would see more people slipping into sneakers or hopping on bicycles while their gas-guzzling vehicles stay in the garage, says a Moncton-based consultant.

Kingston - Building in step with pedestrian-friendly plans

The city is trying to encourage pedestrian movement along upper Princess with the mix of business and residential -- a concept known as Main Street Commercial.

"It will help reinforce the intent along there," said city planning director George Wallace.

"Buildings to the street. Wider sidewalks. The idea is it helps to promote a pedestrian atmosphere along the street. As redevelopment occurs along the midtown, it's to do so in the context of pedestrian traffic."

Ottawa cyclists asked to ID danger spots

The city launched an online survey Wednesday asking riders to list the routes and lanes they fear most, as well as other information that will help the city choose where to make safety improvements.

Fergus-Elora - Getting more people in motion

The local Health Unit's In Motion program is looking for county support and provincial grant money to help get more people in Wellington active.

The group hopes to develop an Active Community plan by next year that would show how to make communities in Wellington County more friendly to human-powered transport.

Funding for the $60,000 plan would come from the grant, $25,000 from Wellington County, and $2,000-$3,000 from each of the seven county municipalities, Centre Wellington parks and recreation director Andy Goldie told county councillors at a special Aug. 12 meeting.

Controversial Vancouver bike lane will be scrapped if failure says councillor

If the controversial Hornby Street separated bike lane causes too much disruption, Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs said Thursday that it could be removed.

Vancouver - Hornby Street business owners oppose grade-separated cycling lane

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released a survey showing that a vast majority of Hornby Street business owners don't want a new separated cycling lane on that street.

Belleville alderman recovering from Moonlight Ramble bike crash has message to deliver

[H[ad he not been wearing a helmet, doctors told him, he would be dead. Elmore will use this experience to encourage children to wear bicycle helmets. He's already talked to some fifth-grade students at Douglas Elementary School in Belleville and he plans to go back. He also hopes to work with Helmets First, a Columbia-based nonprofit organization that provides free or discounted bicycle helmets for children.

Winnipeg - Businesses pushing city about bike-path change

Six businesses in the Broadway-Assiniboine neighbourhood hope the City of Winnipeg will back-pedal on a recent tweak to the Assiniboine Bikeway because they fear they'll be adversely affected by changes in traffic flow.

Regina - Flash mob gets moving

[A]bout 20 individuals participated in Saskatchewan in motion's active transportation flash mob on Tuesday. According to Saskatchewan in motion consultant Nicole Yacishyn, the purpose of the mob was to raise awareness about how fun it is to use human kinetic energy to get around and the importance of physical activity.

Moncton eyes better bike, pedestrian system

Six years from now, each and every Moncton resident should be able to leave the house in the morning and get to work or school without a car. The new strategy proposes a system of trails, roadside pathways, bike lanes and shared streets to connect residential areas to shopping districts and the downtown core. Main streets such as Mountain, Shediac, Salisbury and Gorge Roads will have bike lanes constructed.

Bridgewater take Active Transportation Study

"Basically it's a survey to get a handle on people's behaviours, the barriers and motivators that allow or disallow people from using active transportation in the community."

"The idea is that over time we'll re-administer the survey so that we can see how we're doing with our public engagement [and] see if we're actually effecting change over the long term."
To learn more about the town's plans check out Bridgewater NS Active Transportation.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sudbury - Sustainable Mobility Plan

Green Communities Canada Launches Provincial iCANwalk Campaign

iCANwalk is a multi-partner public engagement campaign to promote walking and community walkability across Ontario. The project aims to foster a culture for walking by providing community partners with tools and resources that can be used in combination with new or on-going environmental projects, community sustainability planning, physical activity strategies, community engagement initiatives, and other active transportation projects and events.

Two key resources, the iCANwalk Pledge and the Walkability Checklist are now accessible through the website and ready for use.

· The iCANwalk Pledge invites individuals to use active transportation, instead of traveling by car, for short trips over a 1 month period. Based on the pledge made, this interactive tool will calculate the savings in litres of gas, dollars, and greenhouse gas emissions.

· The Walkability Checklist uses four criteria to assess how walkable a community is. The checklist can be printed and taken on a neighbourhood walk, and is also functional as an on-line database to collect regional walkability data by public health unit district throughout the Province.

Visit and take the pledge today!

Contact Kate Hall, Project Coordinator at for more information.

Research - Economic Effects of Traffic Calming on Urban Small Businesses

This is a link to the full paper, the executive summary, a two-page handout, and a PowerPoint presentation.

Webpage - Reducing or eliminating parking in support of TDM initiatives

Building and maintaining parking is an expensive proposition. On average, constructing and maintaining one parking space over its lifetime costs about $25,000, but costs can fluctuate depending on the jurisdiction. Municipalities that are proactive in reducing the number of parking spaces in favour of transportation demand management (TDM) measures, therefore, can reduce these costs as well as gain a number of other benefits.

[Transport Canada Webpage - excellent resource. -MH]

Website - Share the Road

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a provincial cycling advocacy organization created to unite cycling organizations from across Ontario and work with and on behalf of municipalities to enhance their ability to make their communities more bicycle- friendly. The organization’s mandate is province-wide with a specific focus on developing public policy at the provincial level in order to provide the kind of legislative, programmatic and funding instruments such as exist in other Canadian provinces notably Quebec and British Columbia.

Documentary Video - Pedal Power

In Canada, bicycles "don't get no respect." From the story of Igor, and the anatomy of the underground world of bike peddlers in Toronto, this film spins out to how other cities are making riding safe. Using innovative "bike-cam" techniques to convey, up-close, the sensation of bike riding, a series of character-driven mini-narratives propel the film through a study of what makes a city "bikeable". Whether it's the public bike program in Paris, bike mega-garages in Amsterdam, bike paths in Vancouver and Montreal, or the surprising leadership of New York City, we follow the story of this remarkable little conveyance as it wheels though the first decade of the 21st century.

Moncton NB - Encouraging active living

To its credit, Moncton City Council Monday unanimously voted to approve the updated active transportation plan that will see a dramatic expansion of the city's bike and walking trails, bike lanes, shared roadways and roadside paths. In six year's time these will form a city-wide network allowing all residents to get to school, work, shopping or other activities without a car. When the work is done, Moncton will have more than 100 kilometres of trail and even Mountain Road will have accommodation for cyclists.

Municipality wants input in active transportation lanes

The Municipality of Lunenburg wants to work with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to increase active transportation (AI) infrastructure.

At a committee of the whole meeting on August 5, Mayor Don Downe said council would like to be able to have input on road upgrades. He suggested in some cases it would be best to repave a half-kilometre less to allow for an active transportation lane.

Hamilton ON - City wants residents out of their cars

"In the future there are going to be more people and more jobs in Hamilton; to accommodate them, we need to provide transportation," said Al Kirkpatrick, manager of strategic planning. "We can't widen the roads, so we have to get more people on mass transport, more people cycling and walking.

When streets tell the truth about people riding in cars (and on bikes)

More fun! [-MH]

The Highland Wheeler!!!

Scotland has the Loch Ness Monster…BC has Ogopogo…the Pacific Northwest has Sasquatch… Haliburton County has the Highland Wheeler!!!

Did you know there is a legend about a phantom cyclist that roams the roads of the Haliburton Highlands?

Find out more by visiting here!

[Not everything should be serious. -MH]

New Public Bike Hire Scheme Gets London Pedalling!

Strongly backed by London’s bicycling mayor, Boris Johnson, the culmination of two years’ work came to fruition on July 30th with the ‘soft launch’ of the capital’s Bike Hire scheme. From 7am, 4,700 bicycles were available for hire at 315 docking stations throughout the centre of the city, with 300 more machines in reserve, to be distributed to places of high demand throughout the day on special trailers.

Toronto - Ring road for bikes on track

A vision to connect Toronto's waterfront, major rivers, some railways and hydro corridors through an off-road multi-use trail is getting closer to completion.

At its last meeting in early July, Toronto city council approved the installation of 13 mid-block traffic signals that will accommodate cyclists and other users of the approximately 30 kilometres of new trails the city will build this fall along the Finch and Gatineau hydro corridors and beside CN Railway's Leaside spur in the Don River Valley. All but a few kilometres will be off-road.

Golden BC - Community Bike Program Becomes A Reality

The Town of Golden and key community members have been working for over 3 years to create a new community bike share program. Today, the town liaison announced that the project is in full swing with 25 bikes being ordered and will be sending them to be custom painted in the next three weeks.

Vancouver businesses battle new bike lane proposal

Vancouver’s second major separated bike lane downtown will go into operation on Hornby Street by November if council approves the plan.

But standing in the way of that ambitious desire of the bike-friendly Vision Vancouver council are the likes of David Prior and John Prebushewski and a number of other business owners and residents.

Related articles:

Whitehorse - OCP changes reflect citizens’ opinions

Except for a few “minor tweaks” that could be made, Mayor Bev Buckway believes the city finally has the document that will become the city’s next Official Community Plan (OCP).

Other changes would see the city focus on greenbelts, parks and areas that allow for more active transportation such as bicycles and walking.

Report - Bikeability and the Twenty-Minute Neighborhood

The “20-minute neighborhood” is often thought of as a place wherein daily needs can be met within a walkable area. With Portland‟s recently adopted goal of increasing bicycle ridership to a 25% mode share by the year 2030, efforts to incorporate bicycles into this concept will become increasingly important. However, limited research has examined the mix of physical infrastructure and land uses that constitute a “bikeable” neighborhood or community.

This paper explores a methodology for assessing a neighborhood‟s bikeability based on its mix of infrastructure and destinations – essentially the 20-minute neighborhood for bicycles. The area of outer east Portland, an area east of 82nd Avenue with substantially lower bicycling rates than other Portland neighborhoods, is used as a case study and compared to an assessment of neighborhoods that are considered to be bike-friendly (downtown, inner-east and north Portland). The paper examines prior approaches to assessing bikeability, details a new method to measure bikeability, presents the findings, and explores what impact expected or potential transportation and land use changes might have on bikeability.

Vancouver - Barriers for bike lanes: A political divide

Now that city officials have picked Hornby over Burrard and Thurlow for the second cross-town, separated bike route, the downtown street might become the city's next great political divide.

Which side you find yourself on will depend on whether you agree with CKNW host Christy Clark's assessment that a dedicated bike lane is going to be "another nightmare" or you see it in as the next logical step toward a greener city.

Toronto - Construction on island airport tunnel to start next year

Construction on the $45 million pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop airport will start in early 2011, the Toronto Port Authority says.

Halifax NS - Bike lane plans thwarted by Spryfield businesses, residents

"It was a battle," admits Bruce Cooke, chairman of communications for the Spryfield and District Business Commission, after Halifax Regional Council nixed plans to reduce a section of Herring Cove Road to two lanes from four lanes to allow room for a bike path.

In a report to Halifax council on July 6, traffic manager Ken Reashor recommended the bike lanes be added to a 900-metre stretch of Herring Cove Road between Old Sambro Road and Hartlen Avenue this summer when the street is resurfaced.

While HRM traffic counts concluded removing two lanes would cause no significant impact on capacity or delay, Spryfield businesses argued the street is already congested, and more delays would force commuters off Herring Cove Road and onto other streets hurting their businesses and costing jobs.


City of Prince George Transportation Engineer Glenn Stanker says the plan encompasses inter-connectivity of trails, bike routes, sidewalks, and public transit, which come together to offer one comprehensive and continuous "Active Transportation Network."


Bike laws outdated, says Cycling PEI

The laws regarding bicycle use on P.E.I. need to be updated in order to make them clearer and safer, says Cycling PEI.

Examples of laws many cyclists are unaware of is the need for a bell or another audible signal that can be heard from 30 metres away, and that it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk.

Check out an exciting new way to plan bike, walk and transit combination trips

Oregon WA: The Open Trip Planner will make transit simple to use, map ways to use active transportation, and help you explore the community and region more easily. Currently in beta testing, it will soon help you easily plan routes on foot, bike, train, bus or any combination thereof.

The Open Trip Planner will take TriMet's existing trip planning tool to the next level by allowing you to easily tailor routes to your preferences. For example, it will help you eliminate transfers, find a more scenic path to walk or find you buses that have bike storage.

Are we pedalling backward?

Attention, Montreal cyclists, and anyone else who thinks the cycling revolution happening on the streets of Montreal is a good thing. There is a move afoot -a misguided one, I believe -to kick cyclists out of city parks and other pleasant cycling environments.

One Montreal borough’s war on the car

The Montreal borough of Plateau Mont-Royal is many things to many people: a formerly bohemian yuppie respite; a congenial melting pot of English, French and many other backgrounds; a trendy, boozy hotspot for tourists and university students. However, the eight square kilometers of this central Montreal burg is fast becoming known as something else: the scourge of the suburban driver.

Starting this fall, the Plateau will be home to what its administration calls “traffic calming initiatives” that will make driving through the neighbourhood a wee bit trickier. They include reversing the direction of certain streets, narrowing others, widening sidewalks, and installing a bevy of bicycle paths throughout.

Sidewalk cyclists warned by Charlottetown police

Some downtown businesses are concerned too many cyclists in Charlottetown are giving up on the streets in favour of the sidewalk.

Deputy police chief Gary McGuigan said police are taking the concerns of downtown businesses seriously. "A lot of people aren't aware that there is legislation under the Highway Traffic Act, and that they're not permitted to drive their bicycles on the sidewalk," said McGuigan.

[Has anyone asked if cyclists find the streets too dangerous? -MH]

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vélo Québec demande à la SAAQ d’interdire les scooters électriques sur les pistes cyclables

La prolifération de scooters électriques dont plusieurs sont commercialisés sous le nom de vélos électriques soulève des questions quant à l’utilisation des pistes cyclables. Actuellement, il n’y a pas de règles claires qui précisent quels véhicules sont autorisés à rouler sur les pistes cyclables au Québec. Cette situation est préoccupante avec l’arrivée sur le marché de différents types de scooters plus gros, plus lourds et plus rapides que les vélos et qui mettent en danger la sécurité des cyclistes qui roulent sur les pistes cyclables.

Vancouver's Deadly Roads - continued

[I]n 2008, 34 pedestrians were killed. Two years before that, 38 people died. Vancouver’s rate works out to 1.7 people killed for every 100,000 in population—more than double Calgary’s and half again as many as Ottawa’s.

Students lead way with commuter challenge

Haliburton County's students were this year's "walk and roll" models in the third annual Commuter Challenge that took place from May 30 to June 5.

The purpose of the commuter challenge is to encourage people to try using active transportation to get to work, school or other destinations. Trip distances ranged from one km to over 50 km – regardless of length, the object was just to try it out.

Don't modify e-bikes say Sarnia Police

Sarnia Police are warning people who buy increasingly popular electronic bikes not to make changes to the bicycles.Police say altering the e-bike could cause it to lose its classification as a bike and turn it into a motor vehicle.

US Graphic

A graphic from the US that shows the increase in walking and cycling, coincident with increasing investment in AT infrastructure.

Vancouver - When the rubber hits the road for cyclists

Being a bike-friendly city sounds wonderful until you actually start trying to become one. That’s when the rubber truly meets the road and those travelling about in their automobiles discover that more space for cyclists means less space for them.

Watching Vancouver take its first tentative steps towards developing a serious biking culture has been fascinating – and even a little amusing. Compared to what’s happening on this front elsewhere in the world, the city is still on training wheels.

[Good article for all AT advocates to read and consider. -MH]

City of Cornwall Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan

The City of Cornwall Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was initiated in September 2009 in order to create a document which on which the City will largely base its bicycle and pedestrian related decisions in the next decade and beyond.

Link is to the Executive Summary.

Vancouver - Giving rule-breaking cyclists a free ride unfair to drivers

June is Bike Month and police are handing out the information tickets to cyclists for these common offences, which carry fines between $29 and $167. The official word from the police department: "Warnings will be given out in June with the aim of improving compliance and enforcement will begin in July."

Am I the only motorist offended by this abandonment of enforcement? -Hello, these are not new rules. Nevertheless, the police continue each year around this time to mollycoddle cyclists, who know better yet continue to show a blatant disregard for the rules of the road and fellow road users.

Report - Walking and Cycling in America: Restoring “Forgotten” Modes of Transport

On June 16, the Federal Highway Administration released its National Biking and Walking Study, analyzing trends in transportation over the past 20 years. Turns out, there is more federal funding for pedestrian and cycling projects, there are less fatalities, and, overall, there are more trips taken by bike or foot.

The report is the third update of a study originally published in 1994 with a long-term goal of reducing road fatalities and encouraging more people to walk or cycle.

Vancouver's bicycle revolution about to shift into a higher gear

In the Vancouver version, there will be about 2,000 Bixis -- that's bike and taxi together -- docked in about 200 stations spread around the downtown core, Kitsilano, Fairview Slopes and Mount Pleasant, perhaps even as far out as Commercial Drive and the University of British Columbia. People will pay about $78 a year to belong to the system and get to ride a bike for free for the first 30 minutes, or pay a few dollars for the time they ride after that.

Ottawa - Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays

This Webpage describes the road motorized traffic program undertaken by the National Capital Commission in the City of Ottawa.

Regina SK - Bike rentals drive green campus

The University of Regina's newly launched bike rental program promotes environmental sustainability on campus through alternative and affordable transportation. Paul Corns, the university's director of communications, said the program is just one way in which the university aims to become greener.
"The bike rental program is really just the latest program that we are offering with regard to an increased level of commitment to the sustainability principle," said Corns.

Vancouver - Bike lanes choke a business to death

The Burrard Bridge bike lanes have claimed their first victim just as the city is getting ready to open more dedicated lanes on another downtown street. The victim is Appleton Galleries, a 45-year-old business that was choked to death by restrictions on both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Quispamsis NB - Funds are for active transportation

The provincial government announced Tuesday it will invest $20,000 in an active transportation system in Quispamsis.

Revelstoke BC - Trail alliance asks for city help with bike park plan

The Revelstoke Trail Alliance is looking for help from the city for their plans to build a bicycle pump track and dirt jump park in the city.

A concept for a volunteer-built track at Kovach Park was presented by the alliance a year ago, but it became mired down with insurance issues as well as some concerns from the neighbours.

October is International Walk to School Month

Register now and plan ahead for your school or group Walk to School Event in October 2010!

Feelings mixed over bike lane pilot plans

In a public consultation meeting at the Dalhousie Community Centre, city staff were outlining a pilot project to put a segregated bike-lane route through downtown Ottawa. Somerset Street is only one of 12 streets being considered, but [Peter So, chairman of the Somerset Street Chinatown BIA] had "a bad feeling" that Somerset, centrally located and well connected, would be too tempting for the transportation committee to pass up.

Legible London Walking Programme Wins Top US Wayfinding Prize

Legible London, the wayfinding system designed by Applied Information Group to help make London a world-class walking city, has won a top honour award at the Society of Environmental Graphic Design Design Awards.

The award win suggests that Legible London could provide a model for wayfinding in other world capitals and shows what can be achieved with the close collaboration of designers, city transport authorities and city administrative bodies.

10 ways cities and towns can kick the offshore-oil habit

[L]ocal governments don't have to wait for federal action. Through smart land use, cities, towns, and many rural areas can give residents the option of driving less -- a direct way to stem the demand for offshore (and foreign) oil.

[The author] spoke with leaders of the Smart Growth movement, along with advocates for economic justice, to learn about solutions that don't require new technology and, in many cases, pay for themselves. Want to do something in your own community to respond to BP's oil spill? Here are ten changes worth considering.

County supports development of active transportation plan

Council voted unanimously on Aug. 12 to participate in the development of a county wide active transportation plan, to support a Healthy Commu­ni­ties Partnership grant appli­cation by Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health, and will consider contributing finan­cially to the preparation of a county wide active transporta­tion plan as part of its five year capital plan.

Share the Road wins [FCM] award

Haliburton's Share the Road initiative has become more than just a cycling program thanks to an award the county recently received. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recognized Haliburton County for its contribution to transportation sustainability at the first-ever Municipal Awards of Excellence, held May 29.

Thunder Bay makes progress in AT

Quite a bit has been happening in AT in Thunder Bay ON. Thanks to Adam Krupper, Active Transportation Coordinator, City of Thunder Bay, for sending links to a number of articles talking about the work that they have been doing.

Adam is quite proud of Thunder Bay's efforts, so I hope you will take a few minutes to update yourself on the city's work:

Report: US - The Hidden Health Costs of Transportation

Health impacts and costs have typically not been considered in the transportation policy, planning, and funding decision-making process. There are few standards ormodels for estimating health costs. However, existing research can be used to estimate the population at risk, themagnitude of the health impact, and the health costs associated with those impacts.Growing recognition of the connection between transportation, land development and health has resulted in some studies and examples where health impacts and costs have been considered and assessed. These examples not only demonstrate that health costs should be a significant factor in decision-making, but also show that calculating such costs is indeed possible.

Shaping Active, Healthy Communities – A Heart and Stroke Foundation Built Environment Toolkit for Change

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has developed Shaping Active, Healthy Communities a new tool kit to facilitate community engagement and help Canadians, (concerned citizens, community champions, developers and planners) to work together to influence and change how neighbourhoods are planned and designed so they are more conducive to encouraging physical activity and heart health.

Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany

This article shows how the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have made bicycling a safe, convenient and practical way to get around their cities.

The key to achieving high levels of cycling appears to be the provision of separate cycling facilities along heavily travelled roads and at intersections, combined with traffic calming of most residential neighbourhoods. Extensive cycling rights of way in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany are complemented by ample bike parking, full integration with public transport, comprehensive traffic education and training of both cyclists and motorists, and a wide range of promotional events intended to generate enthusiasm and wide public support for cycling.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Walk this way

At one point or another, we've all had to pound the pavement - but don't look at it as a chore. Rather, it can be a new way to explore cities across Canada.

Pairing up with, WestJet's in-flight magazine, up!, looked at the 10 Most Walkable Cities in Canada in its May 2010 issue.

Open street festivals held in Sydney, Glace Bay

A pair of open street festivals were held in both Sydney and Glace Bay Saturday to promote the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s active transportation plan, which launched this month.

Walking the walk in Toronto: Granatstein

The battle of the bike. The war on the car. The fight for our streets. It’s a compelling storyline of the 2010 Toronto election. One thing is very clear. Toronto is not a bike city. Toronto is a transit city — with 1.5 million riders a day. Toronto is a car city.

UK - cycling Digest


Trail friendly plans for Dufferin

The county has teamed up with Headwaters Communities in Action (HCIA) to make it easier for Dufferin’s hikers, bikers and walkers to travel around the area.

The municipality and community group — in consultation with other local groups, residents and municipalities — have created the Dufferin County Active Transportation and Trails Master Plan.

Cyclist's video showcases dangerous drivers

A frustrated St. John's man taped a camera to his helmet for a year to capture proof of how dangerous the city's streets can be for cyclists.

"I decided to get a helmet cam because too many cars were running me off the road, and I never have a witness," said Luke Rae.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality to launch Active Transportation Plan this week

The CBRM initiated its Active Transportation (AT) Plan in the fall of 2007, after recognizing a growing awareness on auto-dependent lifestyles that affect both the environment and individual health.

With the assistance of an AT committee and input from stakeholder consultations, a vision to improve the health of CBRM citizens was made by creating opportunities to connect communities through walking, rolling and cycling in a manner that will sustain social, economic and environmental benefits.

On a pink bicycle in Amsterdam

Very cute video.

Easy riders: On bikes, we can go our own way

MORE THAN a thousand bicycles are jammed onto the ferry as it pulls into the Bainbridge Island dock on this unseasonably warm winter day. Nervous as racehorses at the gate, the cyclists champ and stir next to their bikes, lightly touching their handlebars as cleats click out a steady beat on the deck.

Study: Portland businesses believe in bike parking benefits

A preliminary study of Portland's on-street bike parking corrals shows they've got widespread support from nearby business owners. The report also found that business owners perceive one out of every four of their customers arrive by bike.

Thunder Bay has two seasons – Winter and Construction

The City of Thunder Bay’s Active Transportation Plan will see the first dedicated bike lanes along Court Street between Fort William Road and Gibson Street operational this month. New parking restrictions will be in effect in some areas from May 1 to Nov.14. Watch for signage and new pavement markings. Future work on the Active Transportation Plan includes dedicated bike lanes on Walsh Street from James Street to Syndicate Avenue and on Syndicate Avenue from Brock Street to Walsh Street. Shared bike lanes are planned for the entire length of Fassina Street and along John Street from Junot to Algonquin Avenue.

"Stroll" proves Toronto is as much a walking city as Paris

Most people don’t think of Toronto as a great walking city like New York, Paris or London. Torontonians, Mr. Micallef says, are trained to be underwhelmed by their own city. He aims to wake them up. The way he sees it, psychogeography – the psychological reaction to geography – simply means “getting excited about place, paying attention to the places we go, just starting to think about these places we might pass through but that we take for granted.”

Health Impact Assessment of Congestion Pricing Policy in San Francisco, California

Health impact assessment (HIA) is a process whereby the health impacts of a proposed policy or program are systematically evaluated and summarized to inform decision-making. The objective of this project is to conduct an HIA of a proposed congestion pricing policy, which will charge drivers in specific areas or roadways during heavy traffic periods, in downtown San Francisco, CA. Assessment of baseline community health conditions and forecasting of potential health impacts will include Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Forecasting methods will be used to study impacts on future pedestrian conditions, active transportation, vehicle collisions, air pollution, and other health related factors.

Fredericton - Sharing the road with cyclists

Share the Road is not just a suggestion, it's the law. The New Brunswick Motor Vehicle Act Section 176 states: "Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this Act, except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application."

Australia - Cycle Network Program

The Queensland Government allocated A$556 million (in the South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program 2007-2026) to be distributed over 20 years to develop a regional cycle network in south east Queensland. The main objective is to develop facilities that will encourage more sustainable transport modes, such as cycling, walking and the use of public transport.

Canadians Choose Driving Over Sex and Candy

The driving paradox: more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of Canadians know their driving has a negative environmental impact, but they are not likely to give up their vehicles even when they could easily use other forms of transportation (75 per cent). In fact, Canadians are more willing to give up their cell phones, TVs, Internet access, coffee, junk food, credit cards and for some, even sex, before they set aside their car keys.

Video - People, Parklets, and Pavement to Parks (plus Mojo Bicycle Café)

Taking the PARK(ing) Day concept to a more permanent, logical level, the Parklets Program has begun experimenting with trial spaces allowing businesses to convert parking spaces into outdoor public spaces and cafes. The first was installed in March outside the Mojo Bicycle Café on Divisdero Street where two parking spaces were reallocated to people-space; now cafe tables & chairs, benches, bike parking, and plants sit over a raised platform over the asphalt. If all goes well thru the evaluation period, the idea is to eventually turn the process into a regular permitting process that business groups and communities can apply for. It looks good: owners of Mojo say business is up 30% and they have had to hire more staff.

Fatalities put police focus on bike safety

A spate of fatalities has added a sense of urgency to the annual bicycle safety program being conducted by Montreal police.

Four cyclists have been killed and four more seriously injured in a series of accidents that began Friday.

Police said they will be increasing their presence on bike paths and at intersections often used by cyclists to make sure that they are respecting the rules of the road.

Mountain bikers take matters into own hands

The volunteers were building what will eventually be a beginner-level trail by cutting away any brush, weeds, roots and adding dirt. City crews had already gone in and cut a path through the north-east corner of the park.

White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President

In February, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let's Move! campaign to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. As part of this effort, President Barack Obama established the Task Force on Childhood Obesity to develop and implement an interagency plan that details a coordinated strategy, identifies key benchmarks, and outlines an action plan to end the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. The action plan defines the goal of ending childhood obesity in a generation as returning to a childhood obesity rate of just 5 percent by 2030, which was the rate before childhood obesity first began to rise in the late 1970s. In total, the report presents a series of 70 specific recommendations, many of which can be implemented right away.

Video - Vancouver Adds Cycletrack to Burrard Bridge

It's been 15 years since Vancouver residents started petitioning for a bike lane on one of the bridges that connects to downtown. In the summer of 2009, the city implemented a test lane on the historic Burrard Bridge and almost immediately cycling was up 30%.

Cycling advocates and wheeled commuters explain the advantages to having a protected bicycle path. Recent reports seem to show most are happy with the implementation and residents favor continuing the trial by a margin of 2 to 1.

Vancouver driven to reallocate road space

Thirteen years ago, Vancouver set an explicit policy of not creating any more road space for cars – a policy that has earned it admiring attention abroad and some alarm at home that it was going to strangle itself economically.

Vancouver - Bike lobby still gripping city hall's handlebars

The social engineers at city hall, Mayor Gregor Robertson and Coun. Geoff Meggs among them, who have the hubris to believe they know better than regular citizens about how they should live their lives, had expected the figure would be 10 per cent by now. They're shocked and frustrated it is not, especially given all their efforts to promote cycling through the construction of bike lanes and their constant and frustrating erosion of the city's streets system.

Given that more than 96 per cent of residents -- voters, we might remind council -- haven't embraced cycling, you'd think they'd understand that a more democratic approach would be to halt further transfers of road space to bicycles from buses, trucks, cars and other motor vehicles, who already spend too much time idling in traffic thanks to our inefficient roads.

Cycling in New York: Innovative Policies at the Urban Frontier

New paper from John Pucher, Rutgers University

Urban Velo

Newsletter - Urban Velo

Nine habits of highly vital cities

Dan Buettner has spent the last seven years travelling the world's "Blue Zones," unusual places where people live longer than normal and remain relatively healthy and happy in their old age.

Known Blue Zones include a mountainous area of Sardinia, the island of Okinawa, the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, Icaria, Greece, and, surprisingly, a city in California. What is it about these places that support longer life? Buettner found nine things people who live in Blue Zones have in common.

Terms, mind-sets must be changed to encourage and enable more walking in cities

The time has come to acknowledge that walking will be an indispensable component of 21st-century transportation. Today's plans for urban and suburban growth envision walkways as a vital part of multi-modal transportation networks. Walking is great exercise and beneficial to health. Unlike cars, buses, trams and trains, walking consumes no fossil-fuel energy and leaves no carbon footprint. Equally important, walking can be a positive aesthetic experience.

The term "transit-oriented development" (TOD) paints an incomplete picture of state-of-the-art planning and urban design. The terminology should change, along with our mind-set. We should talk about and advocate multi-modal-transportation-oriented development.

Fort Erie - Council welcomes idea of active transportation committee

There are many other ways of getting to where you need to go, without using a motorized vehicle.

And on Monday night, town council unanimously supported the idea of forming a committee to promote "active transportation" in the community. This term refers to cycling, cross-country skiing, in-line skating and other means of self-propelled travel.

Montreal - Plateau to close 10 to 15 streets

Projet Montréal has unleashed another volley in its battle with cars in the Plateau.

Mayor Luc Ferrandez announced the borough will close off one of the Plateau's north-south streets to cars, and next year dig it up to expand a local park.

The move is a first step toward undoing decades of urban planning that favoured cars over people, Ferrandez said yesterday.

UK - Campaigners form human pedestrian crossing

Traffic was stopped by a human pedestrian crossing protest outside of a Derby primary school as part of a road safety campaign.

Council to begin work on new 10-year cycling plan for Vancouver

Recommendations for a new Vancouver Cycling Program Master Plan going to council later this week will not only add 55 kilometres of new, safer bike lanes and bike routes over the next two years, says Mayor Gregor Robertson, “they will lay the groundwork for a green transformation of the city’s pedestrian and cycle network.”

When work is completed, the city’s current 415-kilometre bike route network – already one of the best in North America – will have grown by 122 kilometres since 2008.

The report, scheduled to come to council on [May 5], will initiate the planning process for a new 10-year Cycling Program Master Plan for Vancouver. The report also includes recommendations for immediate investments in the City’s bike network for 2010 and 2011, with funding to:

- begin work and consultations on separated bike lanes outside of the downtown core;

- make spot improvements to existing bikeways to address safety and capacity concerns;

- implement the long-awaited Comox–Helmcken Greenway project to connect the Seawall, the West End and downtown to the Central Valley Greenway, which ends in New Westminster;

- implement the North Arm Trail Greenway, generally along 59th Avenue from West Boulevard to Vivian;

- create a new cross-town bikeway along 45th Avenue from Balaclava to Nanaimo;

- improve cycling connections to the Canada Line Bridge, which carries cycle traffic over the Fraser River to Richmond; and

- make improvements to on-street bicycle parking

The total investment in these projects will be about $25 million, or the equivalent of 30% of the $85 million streets and roads budget for the same period.

Getting on board at school

Get a high school credit to build skateboards? Sick.

Earn another learning how to sell those boards? Awesome.

Hill Park Secondary School is offering a two-credit skateboarding entrepreneurship class to engage teens who might love skateboarding, but not necessarily like school.

Toronto - City to cut idling limit to 1 minute

Toronto has moved to toughen its idling bylaw, slapping motorists with a $125 ticket if they are caught with engines running for more than a minute in what the city's medical officer of health acknowledges stems from efforts ''to shift people out of cars.''

Edmonton - Walkable City study proposes ways to encourage less driving

The city wants to get more people out of their cars and on their feet, walking to catch buses and the LRT and using "active transportation" to get around, says a report going to city councillors this week.

The report, called Walk Edmonton: Steps to a Walkable City, outlines ways the city could encourage walking. That includes better designing new neighbourhoods, building wide and smooth sidewalks with curb ramps, crosswalks and bus stop connections, running public-education campaigns, removing more snow from sidewalks, and building more densely developed neighbourhoods full of businesses and attractions that would give pedestrians reason to travel on foot.

Wider bicycle paths, fewer cars

The new city administration wants Amsterdam to remain Europe’s number 1 bicycle city. The area within the A10 ring road will have reduced car traffic and there will be more bicycle stands, waiting time indicators and green waves for cyclists. In addition, there a ‘moped policy’ will be developed. These measures have been announced in the coalition agreement presented last week by PvdA, GroenLinks and VVD.

"We will have to close some car lanes"

Some streets for cars in Ottawa's core may have to be converted into exclusive bike routes before cycling can become a popular form of commuting, the National Capital Commission's chief executive said Thursday.

Volkswagen's Folding Electric Bike

Volkswagen revealed this folding electric bike at Auto China 2010. It's called bik.e (pronunciation unclear) and it looks like there are actually plans to market this thing.

The specs: It's got a 12.5 mile range, a top speed of 12.5 mph, and can fold down to the size of a spare tire. No word on the cost or the charging time.

Winnipeg - Expanding the availability of, safety for, and access to a variety of transportation options and integrating health-enhancing choices into transportation policy has the potential to save lives by preventing chronic diseases, reducing and preventing motor-vehicle-related injury and deaths, improving environmental health, while stimulating economic development, and ensuring access for all people.

As part of its 2010 Active Transportation Stimulus program, the city recently announced a summer construction frenzy that will include four bikeway developments at Grosvenor Avenue, Harrow Street, Nassau Street and Fleet/Warsaw.

In the case of the Grosvenor Bikeway, several mini traffic circles will be placed along the route to help calm traffic in River Heights.

Not be confused with roundabouts, the traffic circles will effectively replace stop signs for a smoother ride.

CDC Transportation Recommendations

Motor vehicle travel has become safer over time, but motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for people ages 1–34. Improving the safety and efficiency of motor vehicles and their occupants is critical to improving transportation policy and the public’s health. Transportation policies are needed to improve the safety of motor vehicles and their occupants to prevent crashes, and advances in medical care are needed to increase the survivability of victims of crashes that do occur.

Expanding the availability of, safety for, and access to a variety of transportation options and integrating health-enhancing choices into transportation policy has the potential to save lives by preventing chronic diseases, reducing and preventing motor-vehicle-related injury and deaths, improving environmental health, while stimulating economic development, and ensuring access for all people.

With this goal in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified transportation policies that can have profound positive impact on health. CDC supports strategies that can provide a balanced portfolio of transportation choices that supports health and reduces health care costs.

Petit-Rocher students stay active

There will be gym class every day for students in Petit-Rocher, N.B. "They have 50 minutes of phys ed per day," said Sylvain Godin, principal at Domaine Étudiant.


Ottawa City Council's recommendations for a study on sgregated bike lanes.

FASTthinkers Newsletter

FASTthinkers is the newsletter of Urbanthinkers and it's for - and from - people supporting children & youths to Facilitate Active School Travel.

Toronto - City’s bike plan switches gears

A 2009 Ipsos Reid cycling poll for the city supports his position. It suggests safer cycling routes could help transform up to 44 per cent of Toronto’s recreational cyclists into utilitarian pedallers.

A blueprint for the city’s active transportation priorities over the next two years, Changing Gears lists connecting bikeway trails and completing downtown bikeways as the top two priorities. It will be used as the basis for a review of the 2001 Bike Plan by city staff after this fall’s election.

Bike lane barriers considered for downtown Ottawa

City council is expected to consider on Wednesday the pilot project to create a segregated cycling lane. Public input and consultations would follow, after which a decision would be made about location. City officials said one option is to have barriers span a few blocks along Somerset.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shaping healthy active communities toolkit

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has developed a toolkit to help individuals and organizations who are interested in making their communities more supportive of physical activity through active, healthy community design.

The kit, powerpoint presentation, and workshop guide are available to download for their Web Page; click on the article title to be directed there.

The Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card 2010

Click on the article title to go directly to the 2010 Report Card Web Page.

Video - Commuting with the Commissioner on NYC’s Bike to Work Day

Between 2007 and 2008 bicycling in NYC leapt an amazing 35%. And, looking at the streets it's easy to see why: bike lanes, racks & other amenities are popping up everywhere; it's practically a renaissance. There are now 185,000 daily riders on the streets.

NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was one of them, leading a commuter ride from Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza to City Hall. Along the way there was a brief stop on the Brooklyn Bridge for a Transportation Alternatives Bike Breakfast and then a press conference at City Hall to meet up with Councilmember David Yassky, co-sponsor of the Bicycle Access Bill (Intro 871).

Streetfilms was able to talk with many cyclists, a few who were inspired enough to be riding to work for the first time ever. Hear what they have to say.

Young Canadians get failing fitness grade

Most children in Canada, even toddlers, are failing to get the recommended amount of physical activity, a new report suggests.

Active Healthy Kids Canada, a research group formed to promote physical fitness, released its sixth annual report card Tuesday. It found that less than half of Canadian kids under five are getting regular physical activity as part of their daily routines.

Research dispels myths about rural fitness

"From the outside looking in, you say, 'Oh, they don't need a park, they have the woods. But the woods can be as much of a deterrent to being physically active as a freeway, depending on how you look at it," said Barbara McCahan, director of the Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities at Plymouth State University.

The New Hampshire school is one of a handful of universities looking at ways to encourage active living, health and wellness in rural places. Researchers say the work is important because people living in rural communities are at greater risk for obesity, and past research focused on cities and suburbs has often produced conclusions that are a poor fit for rural towns.