Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yorkton SK - Five Years of AT Innovation

On March 22, 2012, I facilitated an Active Transportation Planning Workshop in the community of Yorkton SK. What made this particular workshop unique was that it was the first community where I was conducting a follow-up session. In September 2006, I had been in Yorkton for the first time, and over a two-day workshop helped the community while it crafted a vision for Active Transportation and developed an action plan for the immediate future.

The new group that formed, the Yorkton Active Transportation Collaborative (YATC) moved forward with that plan, and over the last five years managed to complete every one of its objectives, including the construction of 11-km of new off-road pathway - a significant amount for a community of little more than 15,000. In fact, Yorkton has been so successful that they have been nationally-recognized by the Public Health Agency of Canada for their efforts.

But it had been more than five years since the first workshop, and YATC decided that they were ready to look forward and establish new goals for the next several years. To my pleasure, they invited me back to facilitate this next community planning session, a day designed to access their success to date, establish what were perceived as the pieces still missing in Active Transportation in Yorkton, and to choose the goals that would direct their efforts for the next several years.

March 22 was another full day. Representatives from the community's schools, the RCMP, the business community, municipal staff, the planning commission, service clubs, public health, and many others worked together to develop the community's goals moving forward. Ultimately, these were narrowed down to nine priority actions for Active Transportation in Yorkton.

Based on their successes since 2006, Yorkton will probably continue to be a leader in Active Transportation for small and medium-sized communities in Canada.

Upcoming Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Planning Course

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation at Portland State University is offering a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Planning course on June 7, 2012. This comprehensive, one-day workshop will provide participants with the tools and knowledge to produce pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans for their communities. The curriculum will draw from the experiences and lessons learned from the bicycle and pedestrian planning processes in Oregon and across the country.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

ACT Canada Sustainable Mobility Summit 2012 - Call for Presentations

The Sustainable Mobility Summit 2012 will be a four-day conference featuring Canadian and international experts speaking to the effort of achieving the balance in sustainable mobility as a means of shaping urban spaces and travel choices. This will be in Hamilton ON from November 4-7, 2012.

Call for presentations: deadline May 18, 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Iceland - New Bike Paths to be Built

The city council in Reykjavík has agreed to design a bicycle and pedestrian pathways from Elliðárósir in Elliðarárdalur valley on the outskirts of Reykjavík to Hlemmur area in the city center. Plans to expand pedestrian and bicycle pathways fivefold in a period of five years were agreed upon two years ago when bicycle pathways in the city measured at a distance of 10 kilometers.

[Who says people do not bike in cold-weather countries? -MH]

Manitoba - Active Transport Conference

The Physical Activity Coalition of Manitoba is doing what it can to get more communities involved in active transportation. The coalition hosted the Gaining Ground: Connecting People and Knowledge conference on the issue at the P.C.U. Centre yesterday. About 80 delegates representing 24 municipalities from across the province attended.

San Francisco - Employee Bike Access Bill

San Francisco is on its way to having the strongest bicycle access law in the country. [It] would require the owners of commercial buildings to either provide secure bicycle parking in their buildings or to allow the tenants to bring their bicycles into the building.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Video - What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

A Doctor-Professor answers the old question "What is the single best thing we can do for our health" in a completely new way. Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital.

Why Are Three Out of Four Cyclists on the Street Men?

It's been more than 100 years since Susan B. Anthony said the bicycle "has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." So why aren't there more of us riding them?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Video - ‘Bike Thief’

The filmmaker Casey Neistat conducts an experiment in New York City, where he locks up his own bike and brazenly tries to steal it, to determine whether onlookers or the police would intervene.

Why Bother With 30 Kph Zones? ECF Policy Talk

While transport policy in the past has focused on getting cars moving as fast as possible, it’s now starting to have a human focus. Moving people is more than getting people from A to B. The International Transport forum last year was was entitled “transport for society”, which represents a clear change in attitude. Even the European Parliament in its Road Safety report recommends authorities to introduce 30 kph limits in residential areas across the EU. It’s also becoming a hot topic amongst citizens: Campaigns such as 20’s Plenty in the UK, Ville 30 in Belgium, Zone 30 in Barcelona, Zona 30 in Portugal and implementation possibilities in Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen to name but a few.

Vancouver - Potential bike commuters still concerned about safety

Metro Vancouver municipalities are committing millions of dollars to create designated bike paths across the region, but many people may be too afraid to use them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ottawa - NCC plans to make Rideau-Sussex traffic tangle ‘pedestrian friendly’

Plans to make the key downtown intersection of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive more pedestrian friendly are behind schedule, but the National Capital Commission still hopes to get them done by 2017, says the commission’s chief executive Marie Lemay.

Cycling in Vancouver can still be a risky business: ICBC

Dobrovolny added while a small percentage of people will cycle no matter what, separated lanes appeal to the largest group of potential cyclists — about 60 per cent of the general population — who are “interested but concerned” about getting on a bike. According to TransLink, these residents may want to cycle more often but are often deterred because they don’t want to ride in traffic. On the Dunsmuir Viaduct, the number of cyclists has increased by 36 per cent since it opened, with more women and children using it.

Snap Skateboard folds into the most compact skateboard ever

For the most part, the idea of traveling on a skateboard seems pretty portable on its own. But in the face of foldable bicycles such as the Brompton (which can go for upwards of a few thousand dollars,) Snap Skateboard has taken it upon themselves to make even the most portable method of transportation less bulky.

Sault Ste. Marie - Walk and Roll to Work, School, or Play Day set for April 20

In an effort to encourage community members to use active forms of transportation, the Sault Ste. Marie Building a Healthier Community Coalition (BHCC) and Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health Project (SAH) is sponsoring a Walk and Roll to Work, School, or Play Day on Friday, April 20. Everyone is encouraged to walk, roll, jog, run or cycle at least ½ mile to work, school or play.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vancouver pedestrian activist blasts active transportation committee snub

One of Vancouver’s most well-known pedestrian activists called it “significant” that she’s been left off the city’s newly-unveiled active transportation committee.

Councillor seeks changes to Laurier Avenue bike lane, Removing one direction, adding signs are possibilities

Orleans Coun. Bob Monette wants the city to look at closing the eastbound segregated Laurier bicycle lane next winter, or consider a host of other changes aimed at placating businesses.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Calgary - Plans to outlaw front garages and boost trees will cost homeowners

An idyllic scene lifted straight from Calgary’s century-old inner city — but a city hall fantasy, forcing every future neighbourhood to echo that past, is about to become a nightmare for new home developers.

David Suzuki: The benefits of cycling go beyond reducing climate change

With longer days and blossoming trees making Vancouver brighter, my thoughts turn to the joys of bicycling. Getting people out of cars and onto bikes won’t solve all our climate and pollution problems, and bicycling isn’t possible for everyone, but the more people cycle, the better off we’ll all be. It’s also a great way to stay in shape and make the commute more enjoyable—and often faster.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Windsor focuses on commuter cycling, bike paths

According to Windsor's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, the city plans to eventually add approximately 46 kilometres of bikeways. The goal of the master plan is to have bike lanes and pathways within a five minute radius of every Windsor neighbourhood. It will add up to 350 km of trails and bike routes when it's done. The current tally is 177 km.

Portage la Prairie to host active transportation conference

Portage la Prairie will be in the spotlight during the Gaining Ground: Connecting People and Knowledge provincial conference on active transportation and recreation that is taking place on March 21.

Victoria eyes cuts to parks, paths and bike plans to lower tax hit

Tasked with bringing down a projected property-tax increase to 3.5 per cent, city staff have proposed nearly $1 million in cuts. Finance director Brenda Warner proposed a list of reductions to the budgets of more than a dozen long-term city improvement plans. They include bus shelter installations, bicycle routes, harbour pathways, green corridors, parks and urban forest management.

Penticton BC - Wheels in motion for cycling network upgrade

Engineer Ian Chapman presented a cycling plan update by Urban Systems to council Monday, highlighting some surprising figures about how much Penticton bikes are used. Chapman said that research found a surprising trend among Pentictonites: 3.5 per cent of residents bike to and from work — the highest percentage among B.C. communities.

Ottawa - Plan turns Bank Street from 'mess' to pedestrian's dream

A plan to refresh 3.2 kilometres of Bank Street between Riverside Drive and Walkley Road received resounding support on Feb. 28 from city councillors who sit on the planning committee.

Creating cycling and pedestrian links is a big part of encouraging those hubs to develop with a mix of businesses and housing, according to the plan. The goal is to keep that section of Bank Street as a commercial strip, but add more vibrancy and foot-traffic to the street by allowing housing and offices to also be built along Bank.

Cycling lanes along the length of Bank Street would help that effort, and are recommended in the plan.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

North Vancouver's great skate debate

Duffy has been trying to outlaw longboarding in the district with a 50-signature petition. That finally brought things to a head at Monday night's council. But council would vote not to ban longboarding but to approve three readings of a bylaw clarifying new rules of the road for all boarders in the district.

District Mayor Richard Walton compared the popular explosion of longboarding among youth in the district today with that of mountain biking in Lynn Valley ten years ago. "But this is not a right anymore than it's a right to drive a car," Walton admonished the gathering of young boarders at council. "It's a privilege that this council sounds like it's prepared to grant."

St. Petersburg RU - City to Become More Bicycle Friendly

Some 1.5 million Petersburgers own bicycles, including Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, and cyclists comprise about 10 per cent of traffic in the city, according to a press release issued by the committee earlier last month. According to a poll cited by the committee, the majority of cyclists in St. Petersburg are men aged between 21 and 40 years old (29.8 percent), or women between 31 and 50 (25.1 percent).

[Who says people in a northern city will not bicycle? -MH]

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Busing takes twice as long as driving in Windsor

"We fully recognize our buses don't go all the places people want to go or the times they want to go. We currently have a system that hasn't changed its routing structure since 1979, so that's been a long time. The city has grown substantially," said Pat Delmore, Transit Windsor's Director of Operations.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Longboarders worried by proposed road bans in North Vancouver

“We could ban it outright, but at this time council is taking a larger view than just banning,” said Walton. “If you ban it, it doesn’t mean you will stop it. Our biggest concern is someone could lose their life. We do have the option of banning them and confiscating boards, but that’s not what we want to do. Even the police are saying, ‘Don’t ban them — just change their habits.’ If we take an extreme position the problem will not go away.”

The problem is not unique to the North Shore. Laguna Beach, Calif., is also dealing with the issue, banning the boards on some roadways, and in Adelaide, Australia, local politicians cracked down on the longboarders — with a ban from roadways where there are medians strips or dividing lines and where speed limits are more than 50 km/h, with violators facing arrest, confiscation of the board and hefty fines.

[Winnipeg] holds open house on parking and transit plan for new Bombers stadium

The city held a public meeting Saturday, seeking feedback on parking plans for the new Bombers stadium at the University of Manitoba.

"We're confident we can target and hit 15 percent of the people taking transit," [John Wintrup with City of Winnipeg Planning Department] said. "We're setting aside at the start right now 600 bicycle parking stalls. That includes bike valet parking."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation Hosting Free Film Night and Citizen Awards

Area residents are invited to an evening of celebration of active transportation successes in Kingston and around the world on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street.