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.