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 http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/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