Thursday, January 20, 2011

Contact List Deleted - Please Update!

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. If you are reading this - not having received any updates this year - 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.

We're not all hard-core cyclists

While a faction of riders would rather share the roads with cars, the rest of us would cheer for separated bicycle lanes in Ottawa, Kate Jaimet writes. [Excellent opinion article. -MH]

Active walking lowers diabetes risk

Walk more, and you will not only burn off calories, but also lessen the chance of becoming a Type 2 diabetic, a new study says.

Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation Newletter

January 18th edition.

January 2011 Walkolution e-News

January 2011 Walkolution e-News.

Walk 21 Conference Vancouver Canada: October 3-5, 2011

In 2011 the International Walk21 Conference is being hosted by Metro Vancouver. The conference's metropolitan focus involves municipalities in the region, health authorities, Translink, the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, as well as the regional government. Metro Vancouver has teamed together to create an innovative conference focusing on the best practices for urban design, transportation mobility, and health promotion to provide the best places to walk to and through.

We invite you to join us in Metro Vancouver, Canada for the 2011 Walk21 Conference, Oct 3-5. We are proud to host the 12th conference in an international series encouraging and inspiring the best possible environments where people choose to walk. Come and walk with us!

Halifax - Plans for new terminal altered

Halifax regional council is expecting a public backlash because the pedestrian bridge is being removed from the plans for the new Dartmouth bus terminal.

Ottawa - Even some cyclists oppose cycling lane

It's no surprise that the Bank Street BIA opposes reducing parking on Laurier Avenue to accommodate a special lane for cyclists. Businesses get agitated when parking is reduced. Similar opposition killed the original plan to use Somerset Street as a cycling route.

What's surprising is the opposition from a new coalition of veteran cycling advocates.

[Sometimes our "friends" are also our worst enemies. -MH]

People riding bikes aren't jerks, they're just like you

Expanding bicycle infrastructure requires political support. That means showing residents and elected officials that cyclists are not some strange, alien species, but fellow people just like them.

Changing Transportation Behaviours: A Social Marketing Planning Guide

Transport Canada has recently released a new on-line resource, called “Changing Transportation Behaviours: A Social Marketing Planning Guide.” The guide’s worksheets walk you through each step of the social marketing planning process, provide quick access to the key questions to ask, and link to associated recommendations for further details.

Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Media Monitor

More great stories relating to active transportation, built environment and trails can be found on the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Media Monitor.

Vancouver - Bike route infrastructure causes school chaos

Vehicles jammed East 44th Avenue between Rupert and Killarney streets in front of Dr. George Weir elementary just before 9 a.m. Wednesday. Cars and SUVs travelled in both directions along the narrow road and struggled to pass one another alongside parked cars. Some were passing through the neighbourhood, but many were dropping children off at the school, which enrolls close to 500 students in kindergarten to Grade 7.

The congestion that occurs twice a day during student drop-off and pick-up largely arose after the city installed a traffic diverter on East 45th at Rupert on a trial basis last September. It's aimed at calming traffic on the designated bike route, but as a result traffic volume has doubled on East 44th.

Toronto - Separated bike lane plan floated by Ford ally

The chair of Toronto's public works and infrastructure committee is proposing a plan to convert bicycle lanes in the downtown to a network of curbed, physically separated paths.

Orillia - Inactivity is the new crisis of our age

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is in the news this week because it is about to lower its recommended levels of activity for Canadians. The PHAC is the body that sets guidelines such as "children should get 90 minutes of activity a day" in order to be healthy.

Connecting Communities: BC Youth Summit for Sustainable Transportation

From August 19 to 21, 2011, we're inviting youth from all over B.C. to a summit on sustainable transportation in Vancouver, sponsored by TransLink, B.C. Transit, and the Canadian Urban Transit Association.

Montreal - Editorial: We should listen to our kids when it comes to crosswalks

The Montreal Urban Ecology Centre recently took a group of third-and fourth-graders on a tour of Notre Dame de Grace, giving them cameras so they could take pictures of areas they found problematic and asking them to draw their suggested improvements on their photos. Their suggestions, according to Gazette reporter Michelle Lalonde, who accompanied the group, included speed bumps and speed-limit signs to slow down traffic, more trees and planters, more garbage cans and recycling bins, more benches and, for cyclists, bike racks and paths. (And then there was the delightful idea from one 9-year-old of planting vines that would grow on the cement walls of the Decarie Expressway.)

Vancouver - Cyclists and their bicycles made news in 2010

Bikes, bike lanes and infrastructure, cycling road rules (and rule-breakers), video surveillance of cyclists and the number of cyclists on Vancouver streets became some of our most read stories and columns this year.

The editorial team at the Courier even made the two-wheeler, person-powered machine its newsmaker of 2010, in large part because of reader engagement and feedback.

Australia - NSW motorists to pay the price for city cyclists' safety

Under a proposal from the powerful State Government StaySafe committee, cyclists would have their own green traffic signals to get a head start over vehicles - similar to lights currently in use for government buses.

The City of Sydney Council, headed by cycling queen Clover Moore, told the committee it wanted speed limits dropped to 30km/h in CBD streets not yet torn up to accommodate cyclists - but bike riders will pay for none of the costly proposals.

Report urges more skateboarding parks for underserved Calgary

More than a decade after opening Shaw Millennium Park, the city is acknowledging in a new report the skater-filled suburbs deserve one new mid-size skate park in every city quadrant.

The document notes that Calgary also has two smaller skate parks at McKenzie Towne and the west-side recreation centre - as well as three portable parks it shifts around the city. But that's a dismal tally compared to smaller prairie cities such as Edmonton (11 parks), Winnipeg (8) and Saskatoon (6), to say nothing of Greater Vancouver (18).

Skateboarders aim to flip commuter bans

To most, skateboarding is a sport featuring half-pipes and high-flying riders performing daredevil tricks.

To Ryan Seymour, it represents something much more basic: transportation. He would like to commute to his job managing the city-run Food Lion Skatepark in downtown Asheville, from his apartment in the nearby Montford neighborhood.

Winnipeg - Rehab project could bridge conflict gap

Tighter safety measures could help bridge the gap between the needs of cyclists and pedestrians at one of Winnipeg’s busiest bottlenecks.

The first option is the preferred blueprint recommended by the city’s Neighbourhood Advisory Committee. It includes revamping the bridge with separate sidewalks and bike lanes for pedestrians and cyclists in both southbound and northbound directions. Concrete shoulder barriers would separate the two lanes. The second includes a multi-use pedestrian-cycle lane next to the southbound lanes of the bridge.

Fun urban planning by ... children

Montreal Urban Ecology Centre gives N.D.G. students cameras and asks them to pinpoint trouble spots and for their suggestions on how to make the neighbourhood safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.

Video - The Fattest Place on Earth

I found this seven minute video about the tiny island nation of Nauru quite thought-provoking. -MH

Fitness targets to be lowered for Canadians

Canada's new physical activity guidelines, due later this month from the Public Health Agency of Canada, lower the targets to 60 minutes a day for kids and 150 minutes a week for adults — changes that reflect the latest research and harmonize standards with the World Health Organization and U.S. and U.K. authorities.

Doctor urges new view of obesity

"I think one of the biggest misconceptions when we talk about obesity in general is that obese people are obese largely because of their lifestyles and because of the way that they live," Dr. Arya Sharma of the University of Alberta, told CBC News.

Canadians not as healthy as they think: poll

Many Canadians are deluding themselves about their weight, a poll released Monday for CBC News suggests. When asked if they're overweight, 44 per cent said yes, with seven per cent admitting to being obese. The reality is worse, said Dr. Arya Sharma of the University of Alberta in Edmonton.