Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vanhawks Valour smart bike aims to make city cycling safer

A group of Toronto entrepreneurs has invented a high-tech "bike of the future" that detects cars in your blind spot, helps you choose flatter, quieter routes and communicates with other bikes if it gets stolen. Read more.

Edmonton - City releases new 4-year bike lane infrastructure plan

The city has come up with a four-year bike plan that could mean up to 500 kilometres of bike routes and shared paths being added or updated in the city core. The report, which was tabled by city’s transportation committee, says improving bike-friendly infrastructure in the downtown, Oliver, Strathcona, Garneau and University neighbourhoods should be a priority, given the volume of current cyclists, as well a popular bike routes and destinations. Read more.

Canada's obesity rate higher since global recession: OECD

Canadian waistlines are expanding, and the global recession is partly to blame, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The latest findings show 25 per cent of adult Canadians are obese. That's higher than the average rate of obesity among OECD countries (18 per cent). Read more.

Obesity, overweight hits third of the world

Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis. Read more.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Code de la rue : priorité au piéton

Dans la philosophie du Code de la rue, un renversement des rôles s’opère : le piéton devient prioritaire. Et cette priorisation du piéton s’affiche sans équivoque dans certains aménagements : trottoirs traversants, passages pour piétons surélevés et intersections en plateau. C’est l’automobiliste qui franchit l’espace du piéton, et non le piéton qui doit emprunter la chaussée. Read more.

Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, paradis des cyclistes et des piétons?

 Le maire du Plateau-Mont-Royal a annoncé jeudi une série de mesures qui seront implantées dans l’arrondissement afin d’accroître la sécurité des cyclistes et des piétons. Read more.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland

What does it mean that Portland, one of the best North American cities for cycling, has virtually no Critical Mass? Was it no longer relevant, did its activity not appeal to a cycling “mainstream,” or was a police crackdown just so successful? What are the new goals of cyclists? What activities had been so politically successful for building Portland's bicycle infrastructure and culture? What is the new activism? How are objectives reached? And perhaps most importantly, had Critical Mass compounded with other activism and advocacy to create North America's premiere bicycling mecca? Read more.

The Most Dangerous U.S. Cities for Pedestrians

Between 2003 and 2012, 47,025 pedestrians were killed by drivers in the United States. Read more.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fire Departments Are Standing in the Way of Good Street Design

The San Francisco Fire Department has recently fought streetscape improvements and other efforts to make roads safer and more walkable. Even more problematic, the fire department has insisted that in new developments in San Francisco – and we have quite a few of them planned – all roads, including residential side streets, be 30 percent wider than the code minimum of 20 feet of street clearance (typically two 10-foot lanes). Read more.

The Rise of Bicycling in Smaller and Midsize U.S. Cities

Although large cities have led the way with bike infrastructure innovations and grabbed the national headlines, bicycling is also on the rise in many small and midsized cities. With a bike share of commuters at 6 percent in 2012, Portland led all large American cities, but lagged behind smaller cities such as Davis, California (19 percent), Boulder, Colorado (12 percent), Corvallis, Oregon (11 percent), and Santa Cruz, California (9 percent). Smaller cities may offer some advantages for cycling because their shorter trip distances are more easily covered by bike, and because lower volumes of motor vehicle traffic make cycling less stressful. Read more.

Walking the Spine of Bradford

About 35 people, including members of Council and the Active Transportation Committee, braved cool temperatures and the threat of rain on May 3, to “Walk the Spine” of Bradford - hike along the new trail system that runs north-south through the town, following the valleylands and connecting parks. Read more.

NS Moves now open for 2014-2015 grant application

Nova Scotia Moves is a grant program that seeks to support collaborative, innovative, and locally-based solutions to sustainable transportation challenges facing communities across Nova Scotia. It is an important part of the province’s commitment to working with communities to promote sustainable transportation. Read more.

Walkability Institute Expands Service to Communities with Addition of Active Transportation Leader

As part of its efforts to support communities in becoming healthier through better built environments, the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute has hired a national leader in active transportation and school programs as the Institute’s full-time Technical Assistance Program Manager. Read more.

Cycling advocacy enters new phase in Calgary, Alberta-wide lobbying eyed

Just over a month ahead of a key council vote on Calgary’s downtown cycle-track network, advocates are launching a new campaign in support of the plan.Bike Calgary will feature a series of short essays on its website by a variety of authors. Read more.

Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets

Stop forcing people to wear bike helmets. For most bikers, this advice is anathema. The importance of wearing a helmet has been drilled into everyone since childhood. And, it's true that, as study after study has shown, you're better off with a helmet if you're in an accident. Read more.

Olivia Chow has neighbourhood plan for pedestrian safety

Toronto residents would be able to request slower speed limits throughout their neighbourhoods, mayoral candidate Olivia Chow is pledging as part of a pedestrian safety pitch also aimed at tackling the 100 most dangerous intersections. The pledge comes two years after the city’s chief medical officer, David McKeown, was shot down for suggesting slower speed limits on most city streets as a safety measure and will raise hackles from suburban councillors who were furious with the doctor at the time. It also raises questions about who should be in charge of setting speeds in a neighbourhood – the people who live there or the ones who drive through it. Read more.

A Pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion in the Making

Transport, health and environment ministers from 56 countries have decided to develop a pan-European Master Plan for Cycling Promotion within the next few years by adopting the Paris Declaration. That’s phantastic news for the cycling world, as Master Plans for Cycling Promotion on national and international level are of great value for all stakeholders who work on the promotion of cycling. Read more.

“The giant can of worms that is cycling vs. motorists”

I hate to add fuel to the ever-burning fire that is the cyclists-vs-drivers online debate, but I cannot help but point out that few of the reader rebuttals to the Idaho Stop post address the actual law in question. Read more.

Toronto cycling towards more downtown bike lanes

Without much of the fury that has surrounded past bike lane debates, the public works committee approved a cycle track pilot project on Richmond and Adelaide Sts. for this summer. Read more.

Making the case for active transportation: Partnership for Active Transportation

Making walking and bicycling, or active transportation, safe and convenient meets a critical need of American communities that benefits everyone. Active transportation is uniquely positioned to cost-effectively address multiple societal challenges. Communities that prioritize active transportation tend to be healthier by enabling residents to be more physically active in their daily routines and by having cleaner air to breathe. Read more.

GTA’s top doctors join forces to encourage cities to plan for built-in exercise

The top doctors for Toronto, Peel, Hamilton and Simcoe- Muskoka have joined forces to urge all levels of government to change the way communities are planned, to encourage more physical activity. When it comes to land-use and transportation planning, more consideration must be given to encouraging residents to walk, cycle and use public transit, they told a news conference at Union Station. Read more.

Peel Region GPS Cycling Study

The Region of Peel has various programs and strategies in place to encourage and support active transportation in the Region, including the 2012 Peel Region Active Transportation Plan. As part of that plan, and in order to accommodate current cycling activity and prioritize future cycling investments, the Region of Peel, with support from the City of Mississauga, the City of Brampton and the Town of Caledon, partnered with the University of Waterloo’s Waterloo Public Transportation Initiative (WPTI) to collect data on cyclist behaviour and patterns. Read more.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tourists try Banff's new scramble crosswalks

Tourists got a chance this long weekend to try scramble crosswalks, which let pedestrians cross in any direction while all vehicles are stopped at a red light. The new crossings are at three busy Banff Avenue intersections: Wolf Street, Caribou Street and Buffalo Street.  Every third light, all vehicles are stopped, allowing pedestrians to cross in any direction, including diagonally. Read more.

It's Your Move Video Campaign Features Susan Eng & Dr. Scott Wooder

TCAT's third video features Susan Eng, Vice President of Advocacy at the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP), discussing the benefits of civic spaces that accommodate people of all ages. Investments in walking and cycling are required to create age-friendly cities. CARP believes that older Canadians deserve the dignity of remaining in the communities they have always lived. Active transportation is critical to our current and future cities, and to our personal futures as we age. Read more.

Calgary plans $20-million pedestrian development near Chinook Centre

Calgary plans to undertake a $20-million redevelopment between Chinook Centre and the Chinook LRT station in the next two years, including a new pedestrian bridge over Macleod Trail. Read more.

U.S. - Proposed law would protect bicyclists and pedestrians

The Safe Streets Act, a proposed federal bill, could represent a productive step forward. It would require states and communities to incorporate pedestrian, bicycle and other non-vehicle forms of access when they plan roadwork projects that receive any federal funding. Read more.

Walking may have profound benefits for patients with kidney disease

For individuals with kidney disease, walking may help prolong life and reduce the risk of needing dialysis or a kidney transplant. That's the conclusion of a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). Read more.

Chilliwack - Bike plan geared to improving cycling infrastructure

Council approved the Bicycle Transportation Plan 2014-2024 at in chambers at city hall last week. It features an updated map of all 180 km of bike lanes, paved shoulders and paths in Chilliwack, as well as a "vision" map with ultimate goals for a built-out network. Read more.

Edmonton bike lane consultations hope to avoid backlash repeat

As opposed to consultations conducted in 2009 when the city unveiled the Bicycle Transportation Plan — where bike lane routes had already been decided upon based on priority and citizens were polled and asked for suggestions to improve the design and construction of those lines — this next round of consultations aims to gather public input on where the routes should be installed first. Read more.

Skateboarding: The Development of Social Capital in Youths

The mental health of individuals is strengthened through the development of social capital. Social capital is the tangible assets individuals harness for a quality of living through the relationships with the people in the community, such as friendship, trust and political power. Social capital created through social interactions, provision of community facilities and participation in governance structures. The development of social capital is particularly important for disadvantaged members of society to prevent isolation and becoming the forgotten segment of communities. Read more.

Skateboarding: could it succeed as an Olympic sport?

With attitudes changing and the International Olympic Committee looking to expand and capture a more youthful, exuberant audience, a door has been opened for sports that offer something fresh and unconventional. A group looking to seize the moment is the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF), who regulate skateboarding worldwide. Read more.

Canadian pedestrian fined for walking more than two abreast

A Winnipeg man was fined $113.10 for walking side-by-side with his friends, because the group was walking “more than two abreast.” The ticket issued to him cites his offence under Manitoba’s traffic laws: “as a pedestrian, walk more than two abreast.” Read more.

Cycling: is the Safety in Numbers effect all about the numbers?

There are various explanations for why the Safety in Numbers effect seems to work. New research with important policy implications suggests that it’s really about rider density, not numbers. Read more.

Why Britain's top cyclists are urging their councils to back cycling

Former cycling star Chris Boardman, who won gold at the 1992 summer Olympics, and BMX racing cyclist Liam Phillips are backing a campaign to encourage more people to cycle in the UK. They have written to their local authorities asking them to prioritise cycling. They tell us why: 'My wife doesn't let my youngest cycle to school.' Read more.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Raised bike lanes coming to Yellowknife's 52nd Avenue

Construction will begin this summer to install bike lanes on 52 Avenue in Yellowknife that will be paved higher than street level. The idea is to make the lanes for motorists and cyclists as distinct and separate as possible. Mayor Mark Heyck says city council approved this particular model because it also gives enough room for everyone in high-traffic areas. Read more.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Active Transportation Summit for Eastern Ontario planned for May 29, 30

The first annual Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit is happening on May 29th and 30th. Hosted at the Almonte Old Town Hall by a network of diverse partners including Bicycle Month, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Town of Mississippi Mills, Mills Community Support, Ontario By Bike, Share the Road, the Counties of Lanark and Renfrew, Healthy Communities Partnership, Renfrew County Physical Activities Network, and I Walk Canada, the summit will bring top notch speakers from across the province to Eastern Ontario. Read more.

Active Transportation is the Public Health Issue of Our Time

How we live and move impacts our health. Over a period of decades, we have removed physical activity from people’s lives including designing communities that require the use of cars. Currently, obesity and physical inactivity cost the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA) $4 billion a year. Diabetes-related medical costs attributable to inactivity are over $550 million each year with over 12,500 new cases of diabetes occurring annually due to inactivity.

Building our communities and lives with the motor vehicle at their centre have not only contributed to inactivity, but have resulted in the longest commute times in Canada with an annual economic cost of $6 billion in lost productivity. Furthermore, traffic-related air pollution is responsible for over 850 premature deaths a year and thousands of hospitalizations. Read more.

Longer life: The public health argument for better transit

Better urban planning and more public transit investment can lead to an improvement in health for residents in Hamilton and across the GTHA, according to a new report released on Wednesday.

Building communities that support greater walking, cycling and public transit use would prevent over 330 premature deaths and over 1000 cases of diabetes each year across the GTHA, the report says. Read more.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Too few cyclists on St. John's bike lanes, councillors say

The bicycle lanes created on some key streets in St. John's are largely unused by cyclists and could be better used for parking, said some councillors on Monday evening. Read more.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hamilton social cyclists: Meet your new ride

Dozens of people got a preview of the tech-infused two-wheeler that’s hitting the Hamilton streets this summer as part of the city’s new bike share program. Representatives from Social Bicycles Hamilton (or SoBi Hamilton, for short) brought the bike to the Seedworks co-working space on Catharine Street North Saturday as part of Open Doors Hamilton. Amid intermittent spells of rain, they showed off the bike and fielded questions about the how the system will function. Read more.

How One Suburb Made School Buses Obsolete

When it comes to its schools, the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio, does things the old-fashioned way. The city doesn't have a bus system for its 5,800 students, because it doesn’t need one. Its seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school are all within walking or biking distance of the children they serve. Read more.

Study: Walking Increases Creativity

Deborah Netburn reports that, according to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, walking helps boost creativity. The study, "Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking" by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz, finds that walkers are more talkative than sitters, and "the increase in creative ideas generated when walking is not due simply to an increase of ideas in general." Read more.

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) - One-Way Protected Cycle Tracks

One-way protected cycle tracks are bikeways that are at street level and use a variety of methods for physical protection from passing traffic. A one-way protected cycle track may be combined with a parking lane or other barrier between the cycle track and the motor vehicle travel lane. When a cycle track is elevated above street level it is called a raised cycle track and different design considerations may apply. Read more.

Has cycling finally become a natural part of British city life?

In recent years, there has been a palpable change in the balance of power. Cycling has more than doubled in London in 10 years and through sheer weight of numbers bikes oblige cars to take more notice of them, to proceed gingerly, to give more room, to adjust their pace. The uncertain skills of some cyclists are also a factor, as wobblers make drivers more wary.  Read more.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Walking is the new Sitting for Decision-Makers

When Darren Huston, chief executive officer of the Priceline Group, has a decision to discuss with one of his managers, he often heads outdoors for a walking meeting, away from the hubbub of his open office in Amsterdam. “Walking clears my brain,” he said. Read more.

Where purposeless walking lives on

May is national walking month in the UK, and BBC News Magazine has kicked it off by arguing that purposeless walking is becoming a thing of the past. Read more (and find out why they are wrong!).

Mississauga - Bike Month 2014: May 26 until June 26

This year Bike Month runs from May 26 to June 26, 2014. Bike Month is a community-driven celebration of cycling that kicks off on May 26 with Bike to Work Day and continues until the end of June with rides, tours, festivals, art shows and more. Events are being held all around the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). Read more.

Prince George - City taking wrong turn

Despite the city's explicit commitment, the current paving plan does not include bike lanes or a paved shoulder wide enough to allow traffic to safely pass walkers, cyclists, or other users. The paving and road improvements will go ahead and make a number residents happy given the deplorable state of the current route.  Read more.

Friday, May 2, 2014

CBC Ideas Podcast - Walking Matters

Ever since our ancestors rose to their feet, our species has been defined by walking upright. But the act involves our minds as well as our bodies. Marilyn Powell explores the world of walking and what it means to us. Download page.

For entrepreneurs, cycling is the new golf

Across America, entrepreneurs and seasoned executives are sidelining a popular networking activity -- golf -- in favor of a different group sport. "Unlike golf, cycling is also a great equalizer," said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. "You're the same as the person riding next to you. So it makes people more approachable. " Read more.

Waterloo - Regional strategy devoid of cycling

One city councillor is worried about the absence of cycling and active transportation language in an early draft of the regional economic development strategy. Read more.

What Is The Active Neighbourhoods Calgary Project?

The goal of the Active Neighbourhoods project is to share best practices in urban planning, active transportation and active citizenship with communities and professionals, to create long-term, liveable neighbourhoods. The project is based on an approach adopted by four Quebec neighbourhoods and Calgary isn’t alone in striving to create Active Neighbourhoods. Read more.