Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kitchener/Waterloo - Pedestrians’ plight in car-centric cities

The rights of pedestrians will have to be accorded more respect by our local councillors. We will have to make sure that all parts of the journey — the walk to the train stop and the ride on the train — are convenient, safe and pleasant. Read more.

GPS-enabled walking stick

Clearly aimed at the elderly, or anyone with walking difficulties, this prototype from Japan's Fujitsu is a stick fitted with GPS navigation features, health monitoring sensors and Bluetooth and wireless connectivity. Read more.

Nevada proposes walking, texting ban

Nevada is considering a ban on just that that would include a warning for first offenders, then fines starting at $100 after that. See video.

Canadian obesity levels at historic high: Maritimes and territories lead the way

While it's probably not news that Canadians are getting fatter, did you know that national obesity rates are at an historic high? Read more.

New Zealand - $20 'tax' proposed to fund cycleways

A proposed $20 tax to fund a city-wide network of cycleways has been backed by Christchurch city councillors and will now go out for public comment. Read more.

Thunder Bay canvasses for bike couriers

Dan Munshaw, manager of supply management for the city, came up with the idea to use a bike, electric vehicle or public transit-based courier for transporting city documents. Read more.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kickstand Sessions \ Calgary

March 11-12, 2013.

These customized master classes blend European established best-practice and an understanding of North American context to develop solutions that suit the unique characteristics of each city. Trainers create local solutions with participants in planning, policy, culture and marketing, which w ill permit people of all ages, abilities, genders and ethnicities to bicycle more often. Learn more.

Webinar - Building the Walking Movement—New Strategies and Coalitions

Tuesday, March 19, 2013: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

  • Tyler Norris, MDiv, Vice President of Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente, will give an overview of the Every Body Walk Collaborative and issue a call-to-action on walking.
  • Scott Bricker, Executive Director of America Walks, will talk about America Walks’ role as the backbone organization for the Every Body Walk Collaborative.
  • Deb Hubsmith, Founding Director of Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, will describe her organization’s part in the Every Body Walk Collaborative.
  • Andy Hamilton, Board President of WALKSanDiego, will talk about programs and projects at the local level and how his organization interfaces with the national walking movement.

Cyclists in Dublin double - survey

The number of cyclists in Dublin has doubled in just eight years, a survey has found. Nearly one in every 10 (8.8 per cent) of journeys taken in the capital now is on a bike, the latest figures show. Read more.

U.S. - Per capita vehicle-miles traveled ticks down for eighth straight year

Per capita vehicle-miles traveled in the United States dropped by 0.4 percent in 2012, according to the FHWA’s travel trends data released Friday. Per capita VMT peaked in 2004 and has declined each year since then for a total decline of 7.5 percent (Figure 1). At 9,363, VMT per capita in 2012 reached its lowest level since 1996. Read more.

Victoria explores more walking trails to connect the city

The hike and bike master plan, named Paseo de Victoria, provides possible trail options and locations to expand the existing system. It includes miles of on-street bike routes, sidewalks, multi-use and hiking trails, as well as amenities such as lighting, rest areas, maps, signs and exercise stations. Read more.

Hamilton - LRT, Active Transportation and Bike Share at Epic Transportation Meeting

At one point Councillor Tom Jackson actually red-baited the transit plan, worrying about Hamilton doing down "the communist state route". Transit director Don Hull  responded with the obvious point that balanced transportation means "all citizens can walk, use bikes, take transit and drive."

Vancouver invests $50,000 to develop bike helmet dispenser

The City of Vancouver has paid a Richmond company $50,000 to develop a prototype of a bike helmet dispensing machine that it may not even use as part of its proposed bike-sharing scheme. Read more.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cyclists should be able to roll through stop signs

“They’ve done this already in Idaho; it’s been happening for years now,” Erin O’Melinn with cycling group HUB in Vancouver points out. “It’s a law that says if you’re on a bicycle and you get to a stop sign, you can treat it as a yield sign.” Read more.

Vancouver - New Segregated Bike Route: Comox-Helmcken Greenway

The Comox-Helmcken Greenway is part of the City Greenway network, connecting Stanley Park to False Creek. The Greenway route was approved by Council as part of the 2002 Downtown Transportation Plan, with construction beginning in the spring of 2013. Read more.

Wooing Suburban Drivers With Cheap Parking: A Losing Strategy for Cities

During the era of interstate highway construction, and the resulting demographic shift from city to suburb, municipalities worked to provide auto access to their downtowns, hoping this access would support economic growth. However, mounting evidence shows that greater automobile access came at the expense of the very economic vibrancy cities sought and does not help reduce roadway congestion. Read more.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Calgary - Winter cycling is still on fringes, but other cities show how it can work

One of the fun things about attending I Bike Oulu, an international winter bicycle conference in northern Finland, is seeing people realize there are others out there like them. Read more.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

U.K. - Number of people hospitalised because of weight triples in five years

The scale of the obesity crisis is clear from the latest data from the NHS Information Centre, which shows that almost all the indicators for the future of the crisis are still pointing the wrong way. Read more.

Book Review - The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City

Ehrenhalt’s new book, “The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City,”  is a progress report of sorts on the reclamation of public space and the “re­arrangement of living patterns” that are now taking place. “The late 20th century,” he writes, “was the age of poor inner cities and wealthy suburbs; the 21st century is emerging as an age of affluent inner neighborhoods and immigrants settling on the outside.” Read more.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Innovative Bike Rack Design

Intended for downtown environments, where space is an issue, this new Korean design fits a 32-bike parking station into a one-car parking space. See it here.

Reinventing Parking

Most people in transportation focus on the five percent of the time that cars are moving. But the average car is parked 95 percent of the time. I think there's a lot to learn from that 95 percent. Read more.

The world wants Vancouverism. Shouldn’t Canada?

When I visit cities in Europe and the United States, their officials talk earnestly of adopting “Vancouverism.” To Vancouverize, in the minds of mayors, is to make residents realize that having a crowded, people-packed downtown core is not a problem but a solution. Read more.

California Driving Test - and bicycles?

A bill has been introduced in the California legislature to add bicycle-related questions to their driving test. Read the bill.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Peel’s active transportation plan marks one year

Peel’s Active Transportation Plan marks one year this month and since its official launch in February 2012, 19 kilometres of sidewalks, multi-use trails and paved shoulders have been added across the Region. Read more.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

U.S. - Meet the Rural Region That Opted for VelociBuses Over Highway Expansion

The $40 million project will run buses every 10 minutes at rush hour, stopping nine times along the lengthy journey — a commuter express route. It will also feature heated waiting stations with bathrooms (pictured above). RFTA officials are encouraging users to walk or bike to the stations. Read more.

Website - Cycling with ...

A series of low-key videos about people cycling around their towns. Provides a bit of education, a some useful ideas, and all round shows how ‘normal’ cycling can be.

ASRTS Manitoba Jan/Feb Newsletter

Read it here.

Study - North American cyclists are eight to 30 times more likely to be seriously injured while cycling than their European counterparts

Landmark study led by Ryerson University finds separated bike lanes, slower vehicle speeds greatly reduce bicycle injuries. Read more.

Bike Theft in Holland Becomes Export Business

Bicycles stolen in the Netherlands are nowadays exported in large volumes to Belgium, Germany and even Spain. The export is so lucrative that is has become gang business. Read more.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pedestrian deaths: Walking to the grocery store shouldn’t be a challenge

Ontario’s chief coroner’s review of 95 pedestrian deaths reminds us of the need to create more walkable cities. Read more.

From a deserted city centre to the most liveable city

Why do you think that Melbourne has been voted the most liveable city two years in a row? Read more.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Obesity worldwide: the map of the world's weight

 The World Health Organisation (WHO) database contains global comparisons of overweight and obesity prevalence broken down over time. See the map.

Walkability is King

Smart cities are about enhancing the quality of life for citizens. It is difficult to imagine policies that have more impact on the quality of life than walkability. Read more.

Cycling in Cities Research Program

Cycling in Cities is a research program investigating factors that encourage or discourage bicycling, transportation infrastructure associated with increased or decreased risks of cycling injuries, and air pollution and cycling. Our studies are outlined in the table below and described in more detail throughout the website.
The research program is based at the University of British Columbia School of Population & Public Health. It has many partners including researchers from Simon Fraser University, the Universities of Montreal, Toronto and Victoria, cycling planners, and cycling advocates. Read more.

New SimCity - March 5, 2013

Build your Dream Metropolis: Facebook page.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Get up off your asses [says] renowned urban studies expert Richard Florida

Florida, who is heavy in demand among the city-loving classes, said there’s a miracle drug to help with the coming crisis of car-clinging baby boomers reaching sedentary old age while being pushed aside by a new generation of sugar-fueled youths who spend their lives sitting in front of computer screens.

“It’s called walking,” said Florida. Read more.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Copenhagen's Bicycle Strategy & Policies

In Copenhagen’s new bicycle strategy you can read about the new initiatives and plans, which lay down guidelines for the longterm and overriding priorities within the bicycle area. These initiatives and plans are intended to help us reach our goal to become the world's best bicycle city before the end of 2015. The strategy was approved by the City Council on the 1st of December 2011. Read.

Webinar - Bixi Bike Sharing System

Presented by Gian-Carlo Crivello, Director of Business Development for BIXI, Wednesday February 27, 2013, 12 noon to 1:00 PM Eastern Time. Learn more.

Study - Effect of Bike Lane Infrastructure Improvements on Ridership in One New Orleans Neighborhood

This study examined the impact of building new bike lanes in New Orleans to determine whether more people were cycling on the street and with the flow of traffic after bike lanes were built. Read more.

Women Pedal to the Forefront of the Bicycle Movement

According to a recent national poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, more than 80 percent of American women have a positive view of bicyclists and two-thirds think their community would be a better place to live if riding a bike were safer and more comfortable. Read more.

Edmonton - Mayor Mandel calls bike-lane plans a nightmare

Edmonton’s bike-lane construction plans are turning into a “nightmare” that is pushing cars off the road, says Mayor Stephen Mandel. “Not that they’re not a good idea, but it just seems someone behind your scenes out there has just decided we’re going to eliminate all vehicles and only have bikes.” Read more.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bikes Belong - Statistics and Research

Here are some stats to help you quickly convey the benefits of bicycling. (U.S. mostly) Read more.

Highest & Cheapest Gas Prices by Country

The Bloomberg Gas Price Ranking sorts 60 countries by average price at the pump and by "pain at the pump," which is measured by the percentage of average daily income needed to buy a gallon of fuel. See where Canada stacks up.

German Bicycle Tourism Brochure

Online Edition.

Leading the Way - Youth Summit on Sustainable Transportation

May 10 - 12, 2013. Calgary, Alberta, University of Calgary

Youth aged 18 - 28 years from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and Territories with a keen interest in transit and sustainable transportation will meet to:
  • learn about regional transit and sustainable transportation issues and opportunities;
  • get the tools they need to be effective advocates and leaders in their own communities;
  • share ideas and network with like-minded peers and professionals in transit and related industries; and
  • explore career possibilities in public transit and other sustainable transportation fields.

Bixi station nearby increases likelihood of residents cycling, study finds

Montreal researchers found people exposed to the bike-share program over a two-year period were more likely to pedal their way to work. Read more.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

U.S. - Bureau of Transportation Statistics: 2013 Pocket Guide to Transportation

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration produces the Pocket Guide to Transportation as a compact resource that provides snapshots of data on the U.S. transportation system and highlights major transportation trends. The Pocket Guide contains a wealth of information that supports the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Strategic Goals. The Pocket Guide is divided into five sections:

  • Safety
  • The Transportation System and Equipment
  • System Use and Livable Communities
  • Economic Competitiveness
  • Environmental Sustainability
Read more.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ontario Cycle Tourism Forum 2013

This one day conference will take place in downtown Toronto on Friday, March 1. Over 150 participants from across Ontario are expected to attend, representing tourism and business stakeholders, public and private sector partners, from rural and urban communities all at various stages of growing their cycle tourism product. Read more.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How one km of bike lane sparked a revolution in Vancouver

“Since the separated lanes have gone in downtown we’ve seen a big reduction in the number of collisions of all types, including the number of people riding on sidewalks, so pedestrians feel much more comfortable,” says Erin O’Melinn, the executive director of Hub, Vancouver’s largest cycling advocacy organization. Read more.

San Francisco lays out $200 million in bike projects in next 5 years

The City is proposing $200 million worth of changes to its cycling network in the next five years.
Building 12 new miles of bike lanes, upgrading 50 miles of existing paths and installing more than 20,000 new racks are all part of the plan. Read more.

Edmonton - Plans to add bicycle lanes going well, city says

A long-term plan to add almost 500 kilometres to Edmonton’s network of bicycle routes appears to be paying off, a transportation planner says. Read more.

Eco-Mobility World Festival 2013

September 1-30, 2013, Suwon, South Korea. Read more.

Czech Health Minister to staff: “Learn how to promote cycling”

“It is necessary to encourage appropriate physical activities and active lifestyle” said Minister Heger in his speech. He wants to see cycling promotion on the national scale, because “Exercise is a vital part of both the prevention and treatment of chronic non-infectious diseases.” Read more.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

U.K. - Report: Understanding Walking and Cycling

The Understanding Walking and Cycling (UWAC) project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, has examined the factors influencing everyday travel decisions and proposes a series of policy measures to increase levels of walking and cycling for short trips in urban areas. Read more.

Now Coveted: A Walkable, Convenient Place

Walking isn’t just good for you. It has become an indicator of your socioeconomic status. Read more.

U.S. - National Association of Realtors: 2011 Community Preference Survey

The survey reveals that most Americans would like to live in walkable communities where shops, restaurants, and local business are within an easy walk from their homes, as long as those communities can provide detached single-family homes. Read more.

New Book - Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form

In this era of high energy prices, economic uncertainty, and demographic change, an increasing number of Americans are showing an interest in urban living as an alternative to the traditional automobile-dependent suburb. Landscape architect and urban designer Julie Campoli challenges our current notions of space and distance and helps us learn to appreciate and cultivate proximity. Published December 2012.

Report/Paper: Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change

In this comprehensive review of dozens of studies, published by the Urban Land Institute, the researchers conclude that urban development is both a key contributor to climate change and an essential factor in combating it. Meeting the growing demand for conveniently located homes in walkable neighborhoods could significantly reduce the growth in the number of miles Americans drive, shrinking the nation’s carbon footprint while giving people more housing choices. Read more.

Study - Walkable Communities and Adolescent Weight

The odds of student overweight or obesity decreased if they lived in communities with higher walkability index scores according to this Bridging the Gap study. Read more.

Friday, February 8, 2013

America's "greenest street" provides a blueprint for sustainable urban development

Opened in October 2012, the first phase two mile stretch is part of the Blue Island/Cermak Sustainable Streetscape project in Pilsen [Chicago], which was introduced in 2009 with the aim of reducing overall energy usage by 42 percent. Read more.

Bringing People Together with Benches

While they look enough like traditional park benches to be recognizable as something you sit on, Hein’s benches have features that break the park bench mold: tight angles, slopes, missing pieces, loops, dips, closed circles and more. With their unusual shapes, the benches are conversation starters and people magnets and they add a fun touch to public spaces. Read more.

Cycling in the city: Toronto employers peddle incentives to bike to work

Some workplaces are actively rewarding employees who cycle to work or appointments — in at least one case, by paying double mileage. Read more.

Europe’s Big Bet on EVs and Hybrids

The European Union wants to build a half million charging stations by 2020. Read more.

Working with local municipalities to ensure the rights of pedestrians in cities worldwide

The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP) is a network of non-profit associations which promotes and defends the rights of pedestrians to safety, access and mobility. Two recent initiatives provide a framework to stimulate positive interaction between communities of pedestrians and their local municipalities. Read more.

Why smarter land use can help cities attract and retain young adults

Here’s what their research (defining the generation as those born from 1979 to 1996) says about the group’s housing preferences:

Millennials drive less (by: GEEKSTATS, creative commons)
  • 31 percent prefer to live in a core city (this number is double that of previous generations at the same age).
  • Two-thirds seek walkable places and town centers, even if their preference is to live in a suburb.
  • On third is willing to pay a premium to be able to walk to shops and amenities.
  • Half are willing to give up living space in order to live in a walkable neighborhood.
  • They value diverse neighborhoods, proximity to jobs, and fun, with more emphasis on connectedness and life/work balance than their predecessors.
Read more.

How some committed cyclists paved the way for snow-free Calgary pathways

It all goes back to the mid-1990s, when the idea of cycling through the winter was an absurdity to everybody except a small group that included Colynn Kerr and Jeff Gruttz, two avid cyclists who worked for the city. Read more.

Why We Need More Research Into Cycling and Brain Science

A recent article in Bicycling magazine, "Riding Is My Ritalin," looked at the effects of cycling on ADHD in children and adults, telling the story of one young man who has been using an intense road cycling regimen to treat his own attention disorder. As the article points out, researchers were looking at the link between physical activity and attention deficit as long ago as the 1970s. Read more.

Bike sharing goes big — but can it get over its little helmet problem?

Bikeshares make bicycles available to the public through a network of checkout stations, typically in densely populated areas. They can help cut down on traffic congestion, reduce pollution from cars, and act as the gateway bike for the beginners among us. But here’s the problem: No bikeshare has ever been successful where there is a strict helmet law like Seattle’s, which requires cyclists to helmet up regardless of age. Read more.

Canada Needs a Department of Cities

It’s the urban century, and our cities and city-regions face big challenges. They’re far too important to our country’s future to be under-considered by our country’s government. Read more.

South African skateboarder sets off speed camera – video

Decio Lourenco, 24, skateboards down Kloof Nek Road, between Table Mountain and Lion's Head in Cape Town, South Africa, at such a velocity he sets off a speed camera in a 60km per hour (37mph) zone. See video.