Saturday, November 26, 2011

Transport Minister attacks pedestrians

"Why shouldn't pedestrians have to pay road tax and insurance like everyone else? Have you seen the state of the pavements in many of our cities? Well, who do you think caused that? In a fair 'Big Society' like ours we all have to take responsibility for the cost of the transport infrastructure of this country. It is time that pedestrians paid there way and stopped freeloading of honest taxpayers; after all we are all in this together".

David Cameron endorsed Bright Centurion's findings this evening," Many pedestrians have little or no respect for the Highway Code. They see it as a right to wander the streets for free, some of them even carrying heavy shopping bags; or push child's' buggies.

[This is a delicious spoof from the UK - definitely worth five minutes to peruse. -MH]

Cities look to become age-friendly

As the population ages, city planners in many communities across Canada are teaming up with health researchers to listen to concerns like Howe's, and to understand more about how the physical and social environment affects health, social connectedness and mobility.

Ottawa - Battle lines forming as Bronson makeover looms

The reconstruction of Bronson Avenue downtown is to begin in the spring, but already battle lines have formed over the project's direction. The avenue should be made friendlier to pedestrians, but city plans would instead have the road continue to "blight" a neighbourhood, a community association president says.

California - Highway Design Manual

The California Highway Design Manual includes Chapter 1000 dedicated to the design of pedestrian and bike facilities.

Active transportation corridor will link Burnside, Bedford

“About five years ago (HRM) regional council passed an Active Transportation Plan for the municipality, and one of the future connections involved connecting Lower Sackville and Bedford with Burnside and Dartmouth,” explained David MacIsaac, HRM’s Transportation Demand Management Program Supervisor.

Walking group makes strides in diabetes management

The purpose of this group is to provide an outlet that promotes wellness through fitness and social activities. PhACS provides an opportunity for people who may have diabetes and/or anxiety and mental health issues to get out and exercise as well as provide social interaction and transferable life skills.

Toronto - Waterfront plan has good flow

In addition to the LEED- gold certification — a Waterfront Toronto requirement — River City’s Phase 2 will have a hybrid car and bike share program, garage pre-wiring for electric cars, heat-recovery ventilators and water-efficient fixtures. With all energy in the West Donlands generated by a district energy system, River City has made provision that upgrades for future sustainable energy will be easy.

Calgary - Developer tees up plans for Shawnee Park

PROJECT: Shawnee Park. The proposed community will be made up of 1,400 housing units across almost 53 hectares of land that formerly housed the Shaw-Nee Slopes Golf Course. A transit-oriented development, the eastern portion of Shawnee Park will have a village retail area along with multi-family housing. As much as 45 per cent the land will be accessible open space, with single-family detached homes spotted among the existing mature trees.

Video - Sharing time: Tracking the ‘sharrow’ on city streets

A "sharrow" -- the word is an amalgamation of "arrow" and "share the road" -- is a larger-than-life thermoplastic symbol of a bicycle topped by two chevrons pointing the way forward. More technically known as "shared lane markings," they're intended to remind two-wheeled and four-wheeled road users alike to share with each other, and also to encourage people on bikes to take the lane when it's too narrow to ride side-by-side with car traffic. Sharrows have been increasing in popularity nationwide, and got a boost in 2009 when they were officially entered into the federal transportation engineering canon.

8 astonishing benefits of walking

Walking just 40 minutes a day could seriously benefit your health; check out these amazing perks to taking a simple stroll around the neighborhood.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Putting Canada on Track: A Blueprint for a National Transit Framework

Canada’s large cities, however, suffer from a lack of public transit infrastructure when compared to their international peers. The reason is threefold. First, Canadian municipalities do not have the revenues to expand and maintain their transit systems. Second, there has historically been insufficient financial support from other levels of government, particularly from the federal government. And finally, progress is hampered by poor governance and intergovernmental coordination.

Full Article.

New Research Finds that Homeowners and City Planners Should 'Hit the Trail' When Considering Property Values

Using a research model they developed, Parent and vom Hofe found that from a real estate perspective, trails can have significant, positive spillover effects on property values when these properties are located within reasonable distances to the trails.

Full Article.

Local Economic Implications of Urban Bicycle Networks

Transportation is vital in keeping economies going. When the UK’s coalition government came to power in 2010, there was concern over whether London’s expensive Crossrail project – a speedy underground network connecting outer London to the city centre – would continue to be developed. Now it’s being heralded as an opportunity for economic growth. If train networks can boost the economy of a city, could bicycle networks boost the economies of the communities they pass through?

Full Article.

Toronto - Can higher taxes cure gridlock?

A bigger gas tax is one of more than a dozen solutions being proposed for the Toronto region by groups such as the Toronto Board of Trade and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance in support of Metrolinx’s Big Move. Acting on that provincial agency’s plan for transit improvements is the only way many civic leaders believe the Toronto area can escape crushing gridlock that could double trip times by 2031. Metrolinx has been given until 2013 to devise an investment strategy for financing nearly $40 billion in transportation improvements.

Full Article.

Montreal - Green plan gains traction with N.D.G. mayor

The Green, Active and Healthy Neighbourhood Plan for Southeastern Notre Dame de GrĂ¢ce was unveiled Thursday by the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre as part of the city's "green neighbourhood" program.

Under that program, the centre was asked to choose four neighbourhoods (eastern Mercier, Park Extension, eastern Plateau Mont Royal, and southeastern N.D.G.) to study and then recommend measures and infrastructure designed to calm traffic, improve safety and encourage active transportation, such as walking, cycling and public transit.

Full Article.

Montreal - Head of BIXI bike-rental service steps down

The head of the BIXI bike-rental service has announced his plans to step down. Roger Plamondon announced his decision at a company board meeting on Thursday.

Full Article.

[Boston] skateboarders defiant in face of crackdown

Skateboarders outraged over a lack of quality skateparks pledged to continue grinding on steps, fountains and other concrete and granite spots across the city, despite efforts by police and Mayor Thomas M. Menino to bar skaters from damaging public property.

Full Article.

Smith Falls - Safety concerns draw attention to Old Slys pedestrian path

The issue of pedestrian safety on Old Slys Road is as straight forward as the sidewalk councillor Dawn Quinn and Queen Street resident Ron Stronski want to see installed between the Old Slys Road bridges.
Full Article

Kemptville - Skateboard park now complete

Local youth who want to get some skateboarding in before the snow flies are in luck. Riverside Park's new skateboard park is ready for action. During Monday evening's council meeting, director of parks, recreation and culture, Darren Patmore announced to council that construction of the park is now complete. "It's officially finished," he remarked. "We are planning to have a grand opening in the spring once we get cosmetic touches done, including putting sod down."
Full Article

Sault Ste. Marie - City taking serious look at trails

Approximately 40 people attended a workshop put on by the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission to get some early ideas on a vision statement for non-motorized transportation in Sault Ste. Marie. Plans for various sidewalks, bike lanes and bike trails have been on the books for decades, but the City of Sault Ste. Marie has recently decided to put more resources in to the project, starting with passing in 2010 a Complete Streets resolution.

Full Article.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Velo-city Global Call for Presentations

Velo-city Global is the world's premier international cycling planning conference. The four day event offers delegates from around the world a chance to share best practices for creating and sustaining cycling-friendly cities, where bicycles are valued as part of daily transport and recreation.

The deadline date to submit your Call for Presentations is approaching: November 15, 2011

Suburban Vancouver office market driven by rapid transit: report

According to the report, which addressed both suburban municipalities and the city of Vancouver’s outlying area, the direct vacancy rate for buildings within 0.5 kilometres of a rapid transit station is 4.8 per cent compared to 12.3 per cent for the rest of the market, while the average asking rents are approximately eight per cent higher.

Tokyo police to strictly apply traffic rules against cyclists to reduce accidents

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has decided to urge cyclists to ride in the left lanes of roads and will strictly crack down on people who do not obey traffic rules and ride on sidewalks, in a desperate effort to combat an increasing number of accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians.

Economic Health Benefits Of Bikes For Commuting

A study published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives shows that swapping your car for short trips and replacing them with mass transit and active transport provides major health benefits. The study will be presented to the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. $3.8 billion per year are saved in avoided mortality and reduced health care costs for obesity and heart disease by replacing half of the short journeys with bicycle trips during the warmest six months of the year.

Charlottetown - Bike, walk lane meetings analyze public's needs

The consultant working to link the greater Charlottetown area with pedestrian and bike lanes met with young people and educators Wednesday night in Stratford, P.E.I. to discuss their needs.

Coquitlam fills gaps in bike route

Coquitlam transportation staff are putting together plans to fill several gaps in the city’s crosstown bicycle route, a 17-km trail that connects new neighbourhoods in the northeast with the southwest area and Lougheed SkyTrain Station.

Rival councillors united on Fort York bridge plan

Rival city councillors have struck peace over Toronto’s most famous site of war. Six months after an public works meeting ended in acrimony and accusations that suburban councillors loyal to Mayor Rob Ford had spiked plans for a bridge in a downtown ward out of spite, the two sides settled on a cheaper new design on Thursday.

Google Maps decision to charge will hit cyclists

A decision by Google to start charging sites that use its Google Maps application is likely to hit cyclists hard. Many free map services used by cyclists such as Bike Route Toaster use the Google Maps application to allow cyclists to plot their courses and download them to their bike computers.

Google announced this week that from January 1st they will start charging sites considered "heavy users" of Google Maps an annual fee to use the service. Heavy users are those with more than 25,000 uses of Google Maps per year, which will bring in many of the most popular cycling sites.

New York - Bike Lanes: Killing Business, Confusing Drivers, Motivating City Council

Another man on the street opined, "The way it is right now, the economy is not too good. So we don't have too many business [sic], and they don't stop like they did before because before we used to have more parking available."

Thunder Bay - Out of the car, onto your feet

In a community where “you can be anywhere in 20 minutes,” there is, ironically, a strong tendency to get there in an automobile. Streams of cars and light trucks criss-cross the city, most with a single occupant, going to and from work, school, appointments or shopping. Instead, City Hall wants to encourage more people to consider healthier options. The main impediment may not be to convince people to think about bikes, trails and buses. It may simply be breaking a mindset with co-ordination.

Winnipeg - City unveils transportation master plan

The City of Winnipeg’s new transportation master plan (TMP) tries to plan for methods of transportation other than just driving, which is something students want to see.

The TMP also focuses on active transportation. The plan states that in order to improve cycling in the city, there will be year-round maintenance of at least a core cycling network and education to ensure safe interaction between cyclists and motorists.

Waterloo - Cyclists want drivers to share the road

Ban drivers from making right turns on red lights. Prohibit drivers from parking in bicycle lanes. Install signs giving locations and directions along off-road trails. Automatically lay charges against drivers for hitting a cyclist or pedestrian.

Calgary - Momentum on cycling strategy

Calgarians may have reason to believe they can finally satisfy their two-wheeled fantasies. After years of pressure from cyclists to address the city’s lame biking infrastructure, city administration is acting on recommendations to create a bike-friendly transportation system.

Postmen's bikes banned over health and safety fears

Postmen on bikes will become a thing of the past as pedal-powered rounds are axed due to "health and safety" concerns. Royal Mail's move to ban bikes, used for deliveries for decades, will be phased in across Croydon within the next 18 months

Bike Sharing a Fad?

I was recently asked if bike sharing is a fad. The fact that bike sharing programs are expanding at a very quick pace throughout North America seemed to worry my friend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sackville NB - Skateboarding on town’s streets, sidewalks once again topic of concern

Skateboarders riding up and down the streets of Sackville - it's become an increasingly common sight in the community and one that is causing residents to worry not only about their own safety but that of the youths who are riding them.

Winnipeg - Roads forward mapped out

The City of Winnipeg would like to spend approximately $5 billion over the next 20 years to complete four rapid-transit lines, build a ring road inside the Perimeter and make it easier to move goods in and out of the CentrePort trade hub.

All that's missing is the source of cash for dozens of projects identified as priorities in the city's new Transportation Master Plan, a blueprint for the new roads, transit lines and bike-and-pedestrian projects planners believe Winnipeg will need over next two decades to accommodate the city's growth.

Victoria - CRD moves nearer to regional trail strategy

Urban planners have an ambitious strategy to increase walking and cycling along 900 kilometres of roadways throughout Greater Victoria, but the costsharing plan comes with a hefty price tag of about $275 million.

Commuting to work is ‘bad for your health’ (unless you cycle or go by foot...)

Workers who commute by car, bus or train to the office are more likely to suffer from stress and exhaustion, according to a study. Scientists assessed 12,000 employees aged between 18 and 65. They found that those who travelled to work by car or public transport reported higher levels of stress and tiredness compared to active commuters who travelled by foot or bicycle.

BC - Report highlights alternative transportation options for Northwest

The four case studies includes active transportation (cycling, walking, etc) in Whistler, a ride sharing program in the Kootenays, public transit systems in Wisconsin, electric vehicles in use in Terrace, and potential for enhanced passenger rail service between Edmonton and Prince Rupert.

Haliburton - Taking a step towards resolving transportation woes

Measuring more than 4,500 square kilometres and located more than two hours from Toronto with thousands of lakes, and rivers, often surrounded by stands upon stands of forest, Haliburton County is a virtual outdoor paradise, but is conversely a transportation nightmare for the many people without a vehicle.

Ottawa - Holmes plans ‘sidewalk summit’ on pedestrian issues

At the [November 8] meeting we will discuss the disconnect between what is promised in official planning documents (such as the Ottawa Pedestrian Plan) and what is spent in City budgets. We will also break out into groups to share our experiences and concerns about walking in Ottawa, to develop a priority list of pedestrian problems that need to be solved, and plan ways to make that happen.

New Bike Trail Inaugurated in Jerusalem Metropolitan Park

At the ceremony, KKL-JNF's Gidi Bashan spoke about the bike trail and described plans for the future. "Today, we will be dedicating the first five kilometers of a bike path that will eventually be 42 kilometers long and encircle all of Jerusalem.

District of North Vancouver tables grand transport redesign

District of North Vancouver councillors got their first peek at a new transportation plan covering everything from walking trails to highways Oct. 24. The new, wide-ranging plan encompasses all the district's goals for pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle movement and updates the community's road classification. It also includes several bigticket items.

Toronto - Lawrence-Allen Revitalization Plan on display at open house

The 20-year redevelopment plan calls for replacing the 1,208 city-owned housing units and adding 4,400 new market-value ones. The project will bring an estimated 16,000 new residents to the area bounded by Hwy. 401, Bathurst Street, Lawrence Avenue and Dufferin Street.

Plans for the mixed-income neighbourhood include trail networks, parks and open space, a community centre and, perhaps most importantly, a connection to other neighbourhoods, which is currently lacking due to the Allen Expressway corridor.

Velo-city Global 2012 - Call for Presentations

Velo-city Global is the world's premier international cycling planning conference. The four day event offers delegates from around the world a chance to share best practices for creating and sustaining cycling-friendly cities, where bicycles are valued as part of daily transport and recreation.

We are seeking proposals from political leaders, government officials and staff, researchers, professionals, advocates and business people from around the world that address Velo-city Global 2012’s conference and program themes. In addition to those covering the themes, we encourage a wide diversity of perspectives by inviting proposals from all fields relating to cycling. In particular, presentations introducing innovative research, concepts and solutions, including those that go beyond the themes from a broad range of backgrounds, disciplines, cycling cultures and organizations are most welcome. 

ParticipACTION Newsletter - November 2011

Sample item: ParticipACTION launched its very own YouTube Channel in October, and we encourage you to visit, take a look around and listen in on what we, and the entire country, are doing to help inspire and support Canadians to move more. Share these videos with friends, family, coworkers, and your network. Post comments and videos of your very own, or even subscribe to the Channel and get updates on the latest video releases.

Winnipeg in need of more safe and accesible bike routes

With a growing push towards sustainability, both the University of Manitoba and the city of Winnipeg are looking at ways to offers cyclists more safe and accessible bike routes.

Montreal - Bike lane closing violates city's own plan

The city of Westmount will contravene its own sustainable development plan if it closes its portion of the de Maisonneuve Blvd. bike path during the winter, a watchdog group says.

‘Cycling Is the New Golf’

“Cycling Is the New Golf. Middle-aged men and women have decided that they are better off spending three or four hours on their bike than hitting a little white ball around a fairway.” This comment is made by Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive of Isis Equity Partners; owner of Wiggle. He considers to float the UK based online bike retailer as cycling increases in popularity.