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.

Separated bike lanes

In 2006, the Canadian Census reported that Vancouver's bike to work mode share increased to 4% - the highest of Canada's largest cities and second highest for all Canadian cities. As part of Vancouver's action to be the greenest city in the world, the City is exploring options to attract more people to cycling as a mode of transportation.

The experience of other cities suggests that perception of safety is essential to attracting more people to cycling and that separated bike lanes are perceived to be safer and more satisfying to cyclists than cycling next to traffic. The City of Vancouver is moving forward with separated bike lanes on existing bike routes in the downtown to connect key destinations, such as the central business district.

Winnipeg - Bike-path, walkway boom

For the first time in Winnipeg's history, the city will spend almost as much money building bike and pedestrian routes this summer as it will fixing local and regional streets.

The city plans to stagger the construction of 34 active-transportation projects over the next six months, as engineering and construction firms race to build $20.4 million worth of new bike and pedestrian routes before Halloween.

US - Transportation Policy Evens Out Funding for Walking and Biking Options

The U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made an announcement that biking and walking would receive the same importance as automobiles in transportation selection for federal funding. This change is inline with the administration’s livability initiative, which is encouraging a more inclusive approach to health, housing and transportation projects. The emphasis on alternatives to driving places an importance on energy efficiency, energy security, and a cleaner environment.

Most Un American Activity: Walking?

In this country there is such a horror of walking from point A to point B--why bother when you can drive. Walkers are viewed with the same suspicion as Communists in the 1950s.

Despite the fear and loathing engendered in mainstream Americans, walking is not inherently evil like Communist governments. Walking is really very good.

[Here is something lighthearted. We need a little humour now and then. -MH]

Nova Scotia - RECAP seeks active transportation upgrades

The people behind the Route Enhancement Committee for the Aspotogan Peninsula (RECAP) understand they have to start small.

'The first thing we'd like to see is a series of 'Share the Road' signs placed on around the loop,' he said. 'Everything begins with education. If we educate motorists of the presence of cyclists and other vulnerable users then they can be aware of the situation and drive accordingly.

Bixi rental bikes roll in Montreal

Bixi officials say about 400 bike-rental stations will be installed for this year's season.

On Tuesday morning, about 225 stations were operational at 7 a.m., with bikes available for short-term rental.

Several stations were quickly emptied shortly after the start time.

Obesity and the Automobile (and the bicycle)

As Americans have been getting obese, so have automobiles. Interesting that as we as a nation are getting bigger, our automobiles are keeping right up with us …

Example: the first VW Golf (aka Jetta and Rabbit) weighed in at approximately 1808 lbs, but the Mk2 version (built until 1991) added another 265 pounds. Later versions such as the MK4 (2005) had increased weight to 2771 lbs, while the latest version, the Mk6 (2009) weighs in at 2802 lbs. That’s almost 1,000 lbs of gain, or a 64% weight gain.

Another example: The first Ford Escort (1967) weighed in at 1640 lbs. The 1980 Escort weighed in at 1830 lbs. The 1992 version (last to be called Escort, next generation called the Focus) weighed in at 2,222lbs. The nextgen Escort/Focus for 2010 — 2709 lbs in it’s lightest form.

Sarnia - Bike friendliness an uphill struggle

Sarnia can't call itself a bike-friendly city yet but it is getting closer, according to an organizer of Sarnia-Lambton Bike Month 2010.

Ron Yorke, chairperson of the Bluewater Trails Committee, said the aim of bike month, a project of Lambton's Active Transportation Committee, is to raise cycling's profile and encourage more residents to start peddling.

Edmonton - Cycling commuters need their own lane -- getting it will be tough

Ride in and with the traffic, and you take your life in your hands, especially at this time of year, when the shoulder is thick with gravel and there's little room for you beside the cars. Ride down back alleys, and you dodge delivery trucks and garbage dumpsters. Ride on the sidewalk, and you not only put pedestrians in peril, you run the risk of surprising a vehicle that's not expecting to see you and putting yourself in hospital.

Dan Burden – Active in Action

[Dan Burden] by saying that Vancouver is the lead city for bringing about change for what we need. He intended to “validate that you are in the right field”. There is going to be a profound change for North America which for the last sixty years has been designed around the car. His job has been taming the urban highway. This mean dealing with both building form and street form – to make them relate to the human being – and do a better job of moving cars.

Bicycles at Rest

A bicycle parking best practices resource

Paris - More Seine River Banks in Paris to Become Pedestrian-Friendly

Bike and walking aficionados will likely be thrilled, while some Parisian commuters may be nonplussed: Paris city officials have just unveiled plans to transform large swathes of the Seine riverside expressway on the city's left and right banks into pedestrian and bike-friendly zones.

The plans, which should be complete by the summer of 2012, will effectively eliminate a 2 km/1.2 mile section of the expressway on the left bank between the Solferino and Pont d'Alma metro stations, which will become pedestrian and bike-only zones. On the right bank, the local Paris government says it plans to transform the existing expressway into a road equipped with traffic lights and pedestrian and bike-only paths. This stretch of the Seine is already appropriated every summer to create a Seine-side beach (Paris Plage).

[We might ask ourselves, if Paris can reduce car expressways, why cannot ? -MH]

US - Downtown skateboarding ban frustrates local commuters

Asheville contradicts itself when it advocates green thinking and active lifestyles while banning skateboarding, a legitimate form of transportation, from the downtown areas, according to local skateboarders.

Toronto - City to set up pilot project bike lanes along University Avenue

Cyclists could be pedaling up University Avenue in their own separated lanes for a four month pilot project - while Bay Street gets standard-issue bike lanes and 'sharrows' from Queens Quay West to Yorkville Avenue - if Toronto Council approves the 2010 Bike Plan.

The proposal this year would effectively complete the bike plan in the city's core, according to Dan Egan, who manages the implementation of Toronto's Bike Plan

Toronto - Bike lanes deserve better than to be exploited as a cynical election issue

In an odd twist, bike lanes are becoming one of the hottest issues in the Toronto election campaign.

When a proposal to put a lane down University Avenue surfaced this week, Councillor Rob Ford predicted a “traffic nightmare.” Former deputy premier George Smitherman called for a time out on bike lanes. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said that if (saints preserve us) he became mayor, removing new bike lanes would be the first thing he would do. Only left-leaning Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone seems favourably disposed. But the topper came from Rocco Rossi, the former Liberal organizer, who called it “sheer madness” to take two lanes of University away from cars.

Toronto - Protected bike lanes proposed for University Aveune

Downtown Toronto could become a lot more bicycle-friendly this summer if plans are approved for some major changes.

Although council will be asked to approve a number of new bike lanes and modifications to existing lanes, the idea that is getting the most attention is a plan to temporarily redesign University Avenue to accommodate bicycles.

The suggestion is to remove two traffic lanes along University and replace them with two protected bike lanes.

My new obsession- longboarding

The sport of longboarding — a discipline that mixes facets from surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding — is a rising trend with active adults. No longer is this sport limited to the realm of the teenager, and no longer do the boards simply mimic a skateboard with a stretched deck.

Local skateboarders invite community into their world

“I sort of think there’s a stereotype around here that follows skateboarders,” says 19-year-old Jake Sommerville, a longtime participant in the drop-in skateboarding program run by the Wilmot Family Resource Centre.

“I hope they see the other side of it, what skateboarding really consists of … It’s a lot more open and accepting than a lot of other sports,” Sommerville says.

Cambridge ON - The future of transportation

The [Cambridge] region is hosting the open forums in a bid to gather feedback on its latest Transportation Master Plan and its Draft Regional Transportation Corridor Guidelines.

The Master Plan has been developed to determine investment priorities and supporting policy for transportation over the next 20 years in the region. Director of Transportation Planning, Graham Vincent, says the region has a broad spectrum of roads all with different uses so the goal is to get maximum value out of each. Vincent tells [Radio Station} 570's Jeff Allan Show that the region is looking to create opportunities for "active transportation" wherever possible. Active transportation includes walking and biking so the region hopes to create pedestrian and cycling-friendly environments where it can. Vincent cites Homer-Watson Boulevard as an example of a road which has a primary purpose of moving vehicular traffic. But he says the boulevard area could have multi-use trails and wider sidewalks introduced to facilitate active transportation.

How to Avoid Contributing to Traffic Congestion

If you live in an urban area, traffic congestion can be a major daily headache. Its bad enough that there isnt enough road capacity for the increasing numbers of vehicles travelling on them, and rude and aggressive drivers make a bad situation even worse. Heres how to avoid being a part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

Toronto - Scariest section to receive facelift

The architects plan to run the PATH straight north from the Sheraton Centre, crossing first through the half of the parking garage owned by the Toronto Parking Authority. To do so, they will move 12 disabled parking spots (each of which takes up about the space of two standard car slots) to a different part of the garage. They will then knock a hole in a garage wall to continue the PATH straight north to City Hall. This will eliminate 18 parking spots currently allocated to city staff.

"Yes, there is a net decrease in parking spots, which is good for the world," said Mr. Pommer, who personally prefers to walk or ride a bicycle. His plan calls for encouraging bicycle use, with new bicycle parking in this garage, complete with underground showers for cyclists.

Winnipeg - City displays new transportation projects

The City of Winnipeg continued Wednesday to lay out the course for its biggest year yet of active transportation construction.

City officials and project consultants hosted another of more than a dozen community open houses, this time at the Fort Rouge Leisure Centre, where they laid out the specifics of the neighbourhood’s new bike and walking trails — just two of the 35 slated to be in service by the end of construction season this year as part of the city’s 2010 Active Transportation Stimulus Program.

Weight-loss surgery in demand in Ontario

[Ontario] announced in 2009 it would spend $75 million over three years to increase the number of bariatric surgeries from 244 in 2008 to 1,470 a year by 2011-12.

It's a major expansion for the weight-loss procedure, but waiting lists remain long. A 2005 report from Ontario's Medical Advisory Secretariat estimated that the province would need to do 3,500 obesity-related surgeries a year to keep up with demand.

In the most common form of the surgery, gastric bypass surgery, a surgeon reduces the capacity of the stomach to hold food, greatly reducing a person's appetite and in turn leading to quick weight loss within the first year, as much as 70 per cent of excess weight.

[We either pay for walkable and bikeable cities, or we pay for surgury. -MH]

Charlottetown - Multi-use path going next to Riverside Drive project

There will be a multi-use path built beside Riverside Drive from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to Grafton Street, says the City of Charlottetown.

The path proposal was accepted at the meeting between the city’s public works committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Ron MacKinley, Environment, Energy and Forestry Minister Richard Brown, Liberal MLA Buck Watts, plus government staff.

Study - Mini-Roundabouts

You have heard of Roundabouts, but have you heard of Mini-Roundabouts?

Study - U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies

This report identifies core sustainable parking principles and illustrates how smarter parking management can benefit consumers and businesses in time
and money savings, while also leading to more livable, attractive communities.

[This is about automobile parking policies, but is invaluable knowledge in dealing with objections to loss of on-road car parking for bike lanes. -MH]

Designing for Active Transportation

This research summary gives a synopsis of the current state of peer-reviewed research into what makes a community “walkable” or “bikeable,” so people can get physical activity as part of their daily routine—what is
known as active living. Companion research summaries outline findings on the environments that encourage people to be active in their leisure time, and on the environmental influences on childhood obesity.

Cycling his way to a legacy

[Winnipeg] Mayor Sam Katz's legacy remains to be seen. But curiously enough, it may be for something he, too, could never could have envisioned.

Over the last five years, an "active transportation" lobby in the city has slowly gained ground. The goal is to create throughout the city a network of cycling commuter trails. It's a pretty basic philosophy. Create better and safer ways to travel through the city on two wheels, or two feet, and fewer people may drive. That in turn leads to less traffic on the roads, better air quality, healthier people.


125 U.S. jurisdictions have Complete Streets policies; Ontario has 0.

Copenhagen - Cycle Chic

Just a fun website with pictures of people riding bicycles while being well-dressed, even fashionable ...

... it's not all about the spandex. ;-)

Ottawa - NCC wants a walking, biking capital

“One of the fundamental things that I think we need to have a discussion about is, do we want our National Capital Region to be bike- and pedestrian-friendly? And if the answer is yes, we have to be ready to do the things that implies. It might mean it will be more difficult for cars, for example,” she said.

Ottawa - Cycling advocates oppose new study

Plans for a safe, segregated east-west bike route through downtown should move ahead this spring, say cycling advocates, opposing a motion by Somerset ward councillor Diane Holmes to shelve the pilot project until a city-wide study is undertaken.

"We study things until we're blue in the face, and, at the end of it all, we're left with nothing," Ottawa Bicycle Club president Ron Stoneham said. "I think it's a great idea to have something in the downtown core ... and, if it works, expand it elsewhere."

The many benefits of walking

You learned when you were barely a year old, so chances are you're pretty good at it by now. Put in 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you; 60 minutes and your doctor will gush.

Video - Portland OR

Catherine Ciarlo, Transportation Policy Director in the Office of Mayor Sam Adams in Portland, Oregon, explains how cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes work.

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 analysis relies on national aggregate data as well as case studies of large and small cities in each country.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Active School Travel Project Goes Nationwide

Green Communities Canada announced [March 16] the national expansion of a project that makes it safer for students to use active transportation methods like walking and cycling to travel to and from school. Funding of $2.1 million from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Public Health Agency of Canada will enable School Travel Planning (STP) to reach 120 schools, resulting in healthier, happier students and reducing the incidence of chronic disease.

Transport Canada - Improving Travel Options in Small and Rural Communities

This guide is intended to help practitioners—engineers, planners, health
professionals, economic development officials and others—to improve travel
options for residents of small and rural communities. This includes a range
of actions that make personal transportation activities more sustainable—
encouraging drivers to operate their cars more efficiently, or to leave their cars at home and walk, cycle, take transit or carpool instead.

US - Creating Healthy Built Environments: Case Studies of Local Public Health Departments in California

What strategies are local health departments using to promote healthy built environments? How are they forging successful working relationships with cities, planners, and transportation agencies? What new roles are they taking on and how are they building internal and external support for these roles?

To shed light on these questions, the California Center for Physical Activity (within the Safe and Active Communities Branch, California Department of Public Health) and Safe & Healthy Communities Consulting are pleased to announce the release of Creating Healthy Built Environments: Case Studies of Local Public Health Departments in California featuring the efforts and lessons learned of three local health departments working in urban, rural, and suburban areas of the state: Contra Costa County, Shasta County, and Los Angeles County. These new case studies showcase extraordinary public health and built environment work across three distinct rural, suburban, and urban counties in California. They include project examples, challenges and outcomes, next steps, capacity-building and contact information.

LA County Case Study [PDF] http://www.caphysicalactivity.org/docs/la_casestudy.pdf

Shasta County Case Study [PDF] http://www.caphysicalactivity.org/docs/sc_casestudy.pdf

Contra Costa Case Study [PDF] http://www.caphysicalactivity.org/docs/cc_casestudy.pdf

These case studies are one of several tools and resources available through the California Center for Physical Activity’s Local Public Health and Built Environment (LPHBE) Network. The LPHBE Network was the first statewide effort in California to provide training, technical assistance, and grants to local public health departments interested in building capacity for promoting safe and active community environments. Funding for the case studies was provided by the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Safe & Healthy Communities Consulting helps communities, local governments, and the public health sector plan and build capacity for creating safe, healthy, and equitable built environments.

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

The tool kit is a national resource, available in both French and English. Currently it can be downloaded at no cost online on the Heart and Stroke Foundation website at http://www.heartandstroke.ca/HealthyCommunities. (Not yet available as of April 1). Pending additional funding, print copies may become available.

Those working in health promotion and public health can use the tool kit to inform themselves around the importance of the built environment and how it influences health, and then can integrate it into their health promotion work. They can take the toolkit out to their communities, using the resources in the tool kit including the PowerPoint presentation with speaking notes, the tips for encouraging active, healthy design, and the Neighbourhood active, healthy design checklist. In addition, the HSFC is developing a workshop based on the tool kit. This workshop will be available at no cost to others on the Heart and Stroke Foundation website. The workshop will be available in the Spring of 2010.

When communities opt for active, healthy design, they set the stage for community members to be more active, protect their heart health and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Residents and groups who would like their communities to develop in ways that support active living can play an important role in creating change. The new built environment tool kit is there to help make it happen!

US - The Active Community Transportation Act of 2010

On March 2, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Hon. ASLA (OR), introduced HR 4722, “The Active Community Transportation Act of 2010,” which directs the Secretary of Transportation to provide matching grant funding to communities for the construction of safe and convenient bicycling and pedestrian networks. The bill prioritizes projects in communities that would facilitate modal shifts and connect neighborhoods to destinations such as workplaces, schools, businesses, recreation areas, and other community activity centers as well as align with public transportation options. ASLA has signed on as a supporter of this legislation and will be working with Congressman Blumenauer and affiliated groups to move this legislation forward.

Video - Active Transportation in Copenhagen

Shifting Gears II Lecture Series: Transportation, Health and the Built Environment

February 25, Vancouver
Niels Tørsløv, Traffic Director of Copenhagen

Sponsored by the Bombardier Foundation and the Active Transport Lab at the University of British Columbia and BC Recreation and Parks Association. Program partner: SFU City Program.

Halifax - Gas tax dodge

Sin taxes on driving, meant to be spent on green iniatives, are instead going to build more roads.

Carbon pricing at its simplest: you drive, you pay a tax on your gas. Call it an environmental sin tax. The federal Gas Tax Fund is distributed to the provinces, which pass it on to municipalities for green infrastructure like public transit, sewage treatment, sidewalks and "local roads and bridges."

Act Canada Spring Newsletter

New newletter available from ACT-Canada. It contains quite a bit of useful material. -MH

Halifax - Cycling Newsletter

Want to know what's happening in the Halifax Cycling scene? And to read their cycling coalition's latest newsletter? Click the title.

Cycle Halifax home page here.

Toronto - Bloor-Danforth bikeway plan rolls on

City Hall is moving forward with its controversial proposal for a 24-kilometre bikeway on Bloor-Danforth, even though two of the top mayoralty candidates are expressing reservations about how Toronto's cycling network has expanded.

The consultant will also look at design options for separating the lane from motorists, as the city is already contemplating on University Avenue and other streets. The contract's cost won't be released until after the winner is selected.

Revelstoke - Illecillewaet pedestrian suspension bridge studied

The City of Revelstoke is exploring the possibility of constructing a pedestrian suspension bridge across the Illecillewaet River.

The idea of creating a bridge across the river utilizing the old rail abutments has been around for some years now. The city began applying for grant funding as far back as 2006.

Winnipeg - Drive to school? Not cool

Several Winnipeg schools are taking part in a national initiative to get more kids hitting the pavement on the way to hitting the books.

The project aims to motivate more school children to use active transportation such as walking or cycling to get to school instead of being driven, with the goal of better health and environmental and community benefits

Calgary - Time to pay up on city cycling plans

A commuter bike review has council’s approval with a comprehensive bicycling strategy set to be presented to the land-use, transportation and planning committee by June. Another paper plan isn’t going to address either inadequate cycling infrastructure or pathway safety concerns though.

The kind of paper we need comes in the form of cash. I think we have a pretty good idea of what we’re lacking and what we need to improve safety and increase commuter trips by bicycle — we just haven’t backed up our knowledge with proper funding.

Drumheller AB - Canadians have become More Overweight and Less Fit!

It comes as no surprise that Canadians have become more obese and less sendentary over the last 25 years. However, statistics from the Canadian Health Measures Survey have now put some numbers on the scope of the problem, and the results aren't pretty.

Montreal - Green Life: Time to kick the car habit?

Communauto's aim is ... to reduce pollution and improve city life by getting people to share cars, thus getting as many unnecessary cars as possible off our streets. The service does this quite effectively. A 2006 study estimated each shared Communauto car replaces approximately eight individually owned cars. The average Communauto member - and there are 17,000 in Montreal - reduces his or her average distance driven per year by 2,900 kilometres.This means a reduction of 1.2 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, on average, per member.

Sydney tar ponds could become bike school

The Sydney tar ponds should be turned into a bicycle academy after they're cleaned up, a Cape Breton cycling group says.

Velo Cape Breton, a volunteer-run pro-cycling organization, says the reclaimed Sydney tar ponds would be an ideal spot to teach kids how to ride their bikes.

The proposal calls for a miniature group of city streets, complete with intersections and traffic signs. Only bicycles would be on the roads so that kids could learn safely, the group said.

Renfrew ON - Strategy presented to county committee

The county's public works and engineering department is embarking on a blueprint to assist with long-range future planning for Renfrew County and local governments.

Operations committee director Dave Darch recently presented the concept of a master transportation strategy to the committee. The strategy would not only focus on the vehicular traffic on Renfrew County's more than 800 kilometres of roads, but also how to meet the increasing needs of cyclists, pedestrians, ATV and snowmobile users who also share the county roads and use the many intricate trail networks spread across the county.

"There is quite a shift to active transportation," Mr. Darch said following his presentation. "We want to go beyond the roads and cars."

Toronto - Bike lane controversy continues to simmer

What is the one thing Toronto Cyclists Union executive director Yvonne Bambrick and mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi have in common?

Both want to encourage Torontonians to cycle, but disagree whether dedicated bike lanes should be built along heavily travelled arterial roads or along secondary streets. Central to the discussion is the fate of new bike lanes along Jarvis Street, a plan recently backed by city council.

[Important: Bike lanes become an election issue in Toronto elections. -MH]

Charlottetown - Bicycle shoulder part of University Avenue expansion plans

A wide shoulder specifically designed and labeled for bicycling has always been part of expansion plans now underway on University Avenue, says Terry Bernard, chair of Charlottetown’s public works committee.

Media reports to the contrary, bicycles will be welcome when the avenue is expanded to four lanes between the main entrance of UPEI and Enman Crescent, says Bernard.

The shoulder will be one metre wide on each side, he said, and will be marked with signage for bicycling

Mississauga plans expanded bike network

Mississauga is proposing a 20-year plan to develop a city-wide bicycle path network intended both for recreation and to battle traffic congestion.

The city currently has 350 kilometres of bicycle paths, but they’re mostly in parks. It wants to add a further 600 kilometres, at a rate of 30 kilometres per year over the next two decades, including bike lanes and paths connecting major arterial streets throughout the city.

Winnipeg - Wolseley residents protest bridge plans

Residents of Wolseley say the city should leave well enough alone and scrap plans for a proposed new bridge in Omand Park.

[Interesting article about some - probably unexpected - opposition to new Active Transportation infrastructure plans. -MH]

Barrie ON - It all begins with an hour and an idea

It's a very short distance and it was a nice day, so it wasn't difficult. Commuting to work by bike or foot is something I've always wanted to do with some sort of regularity, but I seem to find excuse after excuse not to.

Dr. Ian Salathiel looks for no excuses. In fact, when his family moved to Barrie nine years ago, they expressly looked for a house in close proximity to Royal Victoria Hospital where he works as a pathologist.

For the first several years, he rode his bike to work from early spring to late fall. But four years ago, he retrofitted his bike by adding mud guards. Now he's good for the entire year.

[Example of a local champion. -MH]

Montreal - Forum on greening the Plateau, event report

Over 100 people attended this first forum on greening, a great success for a new initiative and model. The goal of the evening was to increase understanding on two points : what citizens and community groups want in terms of greening projects, and what they need to realize their projects. A survey received 46 responses, which are summarized in Section III of this report. Section I summarizes the presentations given by the participating organizations, and Section IV explores potential solutions to the issues raised in the forum, and ways forward for greening the Plateau.

[There is an Active Transportation component of the report, although you have to search for it. - MH]

Geezers skate

Long considered a teenage pastime, skateboarding now counts among its participants a growing cohort of adults who, despite having children, full-time jobs and mortgages, see no reason to retire their boards.

Indoor parks in Montreal are known for their unofficial old-timers' nights, which tend to attract skaters in their 30s and older, and it's no longer unusual to spot someone with a few wrinkles or greys pushing down the street.

Skateboarding has grown up.

US - Bike Lane Blockers, Beware

Although the city has pushed to make the streets more pedestrian friendly in recent years, cyclists say drivers still ignore the white bike lines and not enough get slapped with the $115 fines.

UK - The end of the pedalling postie: Health and safety fears lead to phasing out of bikes

They have survived for more than a century as one of our most familiar sights: the traditional British postman trundling up the lane on his sturdy bicycle.
But now pedal-powered deliveries are falling victim to the 21st century's most fearsome foe... health and safety.

[Anyone else see the irony? As roads grow increasingly unsafe, and people bcome less healthy from lack of physical activity, something that resists both those trends is eliminated. - MH]

S. Korean engineers develop ultra-light folding bicycle

A state-run research institute said Friday that it has developed an ultra-light folding bicycle as part of the country's efforts to expand its homegrown bicycle industry.

The Korea Institute of Industrial Technology said its engineers, in collaboration with academic and industry professionals, developed the new carbon fiber-based bicycle that weighs in at 7 kilograms, some 3 to 6 kilograms lighter than aluminum-based conventional folding bicycles.

[This is an example of investing in and obtaining results from so-called "green" technology. -MH]

Korea - Children to Get Mandatory Bicycle Training

Seoul's elementary schools will conduct mandatory courses on bicycle riding, with an emphasis on safety, officials said Wednesday.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has instructed the schools to introduce four hours of lessons on bicycle riding and safety tips a year.

US - Alternative forms of transportation take the wheel

From carpooling to skateboarding, a number of PCC students have taken it upon themselves to make getting to campus a bit more convenient by avoiding the drive to school.

For a variety of reasons, students have ditched the norm-hulking bodies of metal on wheels-in exchange for a bus pass or a bicycle.

UK - Is the future of urban transport in Sutton?

Well, in three years Sutton has seen a 75% increase in cyclists - and it's cost £5 million in funding from Transport for London.

There has also been a 13% increase in bus use and a 2% decrease in car use. These are modal shifts that transport planners dream about.