Cycling and Walking: This is what we did and this is what happened. From the City of Vancouver:
Cycling and Walking: This is what we did and this is what happened. From the City of Vancouver:
The Richmond News reports on a new wrinkle to deter bike thieves-the City of Richmond RCMP have “bait bikes” and they are using technology to thwart would be thieves and counter bike thefts. “Specially equipped bikes provide police with real-time monitoring capabilities and greatly assist officers in coordinating a safe recovery of the bike and apprehension of the offender. There is nothing that would identify a bait bike to a thief and for all intents and purposes, they look identical to a non-bait bike.”
As part of Project 529, a national bike registry, cyclists are encouraged to register their bikes through a simple smart phone app, or at any Community Policing Office so that the serial numbers are recorded should a bike be stolen. The actual bait bike program has already been running through the Vancouver Police Department and the North Vancouver RCMP . Bait bikes are equipped with hidden GPS trackers that activate once a lock is broken and the bike is in motion. While in Metro Vancouver bait bike thieves can be pursued by officers on bikes, in Washington County Oregon they use squad cars to track them down. Here’s a news clip on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office approach, complete with the bait bike sound alert received by the Sheriff’s deputies.
Here’s your chance to be part of the City of Vancouver’s “Arbutus Greenway Design Jam that will involve your participation in two evenings and two days looking at how the newest large linear public space in Vancouver will be designed and developed.
Are you passionate about public spaces? Do you want to make new friends over a fun and inspiring weekend? Would you love to immerse yourself in all things Arbutus Greenway? Apply today to become an Arbutus Champion!
During the Arbutus Greenway Design Jam, Arbutus Champions will participate in a collaborative workshop to help develop draft designs for the future Arbutus Greenway.
Here’s the plan:
October 20, 5pm – 9pm: Set the Stage and Introductions
October 27, 5pm – 9pm: Deep Dive into the Arbutus Greenway
October 28, 9am – 5pm: Deeper Dive and Start to Bring it Together
October 29, 9am – 5pm: Bring it all Together
Who can apply?
There is no experience required. You can be from any part of Vancouver. You must have a passion for the Arbutus Greenway and public spaces, and you must be available for all four days of the Design Jam. Bring your boldest and brightest ideas and we’ll provide everything else!
How will Arbutus Champions be selected?
There are 100 spots available for the Design Jam. Participants will be randomly selected by location, age, and gender to reach a broad demographic.
Interested? Apply here.
Price Tags Vancouver really had to check the date to ensure April 1 had not crept around…but no, it’s still August. The good folks at Kitsilano.ca have posted a petition to get rid of the bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge. But petitioner Steffan Illeman is not calling it that-rather it’s called wanting “the City of Vancouver to restore the Burrard Bridge to its pre-bike lane condition.”
Surprisingly the petition which requires 2,500 signatures before going to City hall has 2,300 folks signed up so far. “In an interview with the CBC, the 40-year West End resident reiterated “we’d like the construction to be stopped forthwith, and secondly, tear down all those concrete obstructions.”
Apparently the bike lanes are a “travesty” and don’t earn enough riders to justify their placement, even though over 7,000 bike trips occur daily in summer, with over 157,000 trips by bike across Burrard Bridge in June. But never mind that. Mr. Illeman observes “They should have built just reasonable curb lanes instead with reasonable width and that would have satisfied everybody.”
Price Tags Vancouver could say more, but no, leave it to you. If you want to take a look at the “Banning bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge” petition, you can find it here.
The Economist reports on a new trend that is getting attention in China-the return of the bicycle. Unlike the conventional docking systems that are used for bike-sharing initiatives in many cities, a user-friendly approach has been taken in China where bike rental is paid for by smart phone and then the bike can be left anywhere after the ride. The use of GPS technology enables the bikes to be located with a mobile app. Since the typical bike ride by bike share is about fifteen cents or one yuan, and since bikes can move faster in areas that cars cannot, bike share has caught on.
Established in 2015, bike share company “OFO” has over 2.5 million bike share yellow framed bikes in more than fifty Chinese cities, with rival Mobike installing bright orange wheeled bikes. Things must be going well as Ofo is now commencing bike share services in Singapore and San Diego, as well as Cambridge England.
So has the dockless bike system had challenges? “Some riders hide the bikes in or near their homes to prevent others from using them. Another trick involves photographing a bike’s QR code and then scratching it off to stop others from scanning it. With the stored image, the rider can then monopolise the machine. But customers caught misbehaving can have points deducted from their accounts, making it more expensive for them to rent the bikes.”
While thirty years ago 63 per cent of people in Beijing biked, the number today is only 12 per cent, perhaps because cycling in China is dangerous-40 per cent of road accidents include bicycles. Previously installed bike lanes have been taken out to make room for cars, and bicycles are seen as causing congestion according to “some city authorities”. “This month the southern city of Shenzhen ordered limits on the number of shared bikes. Other cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, are considering similar measures.”
While bicycles are battling for their road share, the use of bikes does represent sustainability and reduced carbon emissions, both goals that China is striving for. Will Chinese cities be willing to retool their boulevards and plazas for bike lanes to accommodate the return of the bike?
Image Deal Street Asia
Sandy James Images
Source: Bike Boom
As reported in the Guardian by Tim Burns, the switch from diesel and gas vehicles is vastly overrated. Sure, there will be an increase in air quality but think of this: the only thing you are changing is the fuel source of “the type of heavy box” that people travel around in and insist on bringing to city streets. And that is where the opportunity is-we can all reduce air pollution even more, and change the way streets and public ways are used by two simple things-encouraging more people to ride bikes, and encouraging people to walk for short, convenient trips.
As Burns notes “In 2015, only 2% of trips in England were made by bicycle despite the average length of each trip being only seven miles. Switching from cars to bikes would not only reduce air pollution but solve many of the biggest issues facing our cities and towns.”
We’ve all seen that neat little graphic showing that a 3.5 meter wide single lane “can transport 2,000 people an hour in cars, the same lane can be used to transport 14,000 people on bicycles – and this doesn’t even take into account the space saved on parking. With limited space in cities and rising populations, transport planning has to focus on the most efficient way of getting around.” And that includes pedestrians walking too.
While changing from diesel to electric vehicles will help with asthma and air pollution related deaths, driving those vehicles does not promote greater physical fitness. Biking is a gold standard for physical activity. Switching from diesel to electric vehicles will help reduce early deaths associated with air pollution but it will do little to encourage greater physical activity, so necessary for healthy, happy citizens. “Research from the University of Glasgow recently found cycling regularly reduced the incidence of cancer by 45%, heart disease by 46%, and of death by any cause by 41%.”
“Sir Liam Donaldson, the former chief medical officer for England once said: “The potential benefits of physical activity to health are huge. If a medication existed which had a similar effect, it would be regarded as a wonder drug or miracle cure.” And it’s good for society too – Transport for London calculated that if all Londoners walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day this would save £1.7bn in National Health Service treatment costs over 25 years in the capital alone.”
While cities are touting banning diesel and gasoline vehicles in favour of electric, there is a huge opportunity to create the type of walking and cycling infrastructure that is supportive of enhancing the health of communities, the gold standard for livability. Let’s remember to create cities and streets for people, not just vehicles in this move from diesel and gas to electric.
It may be July, but a lot of us have not forgotten what last winter was like, with icy sidewalks, snowy streets, and abandoned garbage collection as sanitation crews struggled to get up and down laneways. The CBC reports that the City of Vancouver has learned from the disastrous glacial pace of the salt trucks and plows, and are planning an increased budget for more materials and more vehicles for this winter season. There’s some interesting information too-last winter was classified as a one in thirty year event, with the longest continuous stretch of days with temperatures at 5 degrees or below-42 days.
The Council Report outlines a strategy to prepare in advance of a snow event and then to follow-up when one occurs. There is priority for emergency routes and “pedestrian paths associated with Priority 1 bike lanes” which will be cleared in under 12 hours. Within 48 hours, school routes, collector streets and transit routes will be cleared; and within 7 days, remaining emergency routes and arterial sidewalks will be cleared.
The City is also contemplating fining folks who are driving in Vancouver’s snowy conditions without snow tires. As the report notes: “Some of the obstacles to snow clearing included people driving ill-equipped private vehicles that blocked traffic and snow clearing equipment. In addition to providing clear messaging about travel during snow events, the following is recommended:
Amendment of the by-law to fine drivers that are on the road in snow conditions without winter tires;
Installation of signage at entry points to the city to reinforce that vehicles need to be properly equipped to drive in the city during snow events; and
Inclusion of information about public responsibilities for winter driving readiness in the City of Vancouver with City tax receipt mail outs.”
Taryn Scollard who wrote the Council report noted to the CBC: “It’s about those who have caused disruptions,” she said. “It’s essentially trying to help people understand to play their part. Certainly on those snow days if you choose to not get winter tires then perhaps you stay home, take transit or bike or walk.”
The City will also be upgrading their response to people who have not shovelled the sidewalk in front of their residential properties by 10:00 a.m. every day as specified in the bylaw. While most people hope that last winter’s long stay won’t be repeated soon, the council report does mention that “these more extreme weather events may become more frequent in light of climate change.”
While looking for something else on microfilm in The Province from September, 1899, I came across an article on new bicycles. Even more than today, there was a tremendous bicycle craze at the turn of the 20th century that only faded about 1908 when Henry Ford’s Model T made cars relatively affordable.
And knowing that many PT readers have the same love of bicycles as bears have for garbage cans, I thought this would be a suitable post for a summer Friday afternoon.
An august group of planners in Sydney Australia, London England, Paris and Vancouver are looking at “intersection signal intervals” -how long it takes for the walk signal to activate after a pedestrian pushes the cross walk button. This group feels that the livability of a city and the quality of the walking environment can be measured on the length of time that pedestrians are given to walk across the street. It’s been fascinating to see how varied those interval times are in cities around the world.
As always, the Dutch are early adapters to the changes in technology necessary to make walkability safer for all ages. The Dutch city of Tilburg has been testing a smartphone application that allows seniors and those with restricted mobility more crossing time at intersections. The app has four time settings which are adjusted dependent on the user’s mobility to minimise traffic delay. While a sensor in the traffic lights scan the sidewalk adjacent to the intersection, it looks for a signal from the app to adjust crossing time.
As reported in The Guardian “Dynniq, the Dutch company that develops intelligent traffic systems and is helping the city council with the trial, explains the app works in combination with GPS and the software that operates the traffic lights, so there is no need to install extra devices. The company is also developing a spin-off for cyclists, the CrossCycle, which will sense when bikes are approaching a junction and change the lights sooner. Another version detects visually impaired pedestrians and activates the ticking sounds that tell them whether the light is red or green.”
While the app can respond to individual users, the app can also adjust for a group of school children, so that the app will keep the crossing green for the children until a teacher confirms that they are safely across. While this initial pilot has only ten users, it is part of a pilot to enhance safety and comfort for pedestrians and cyclists. “We want to do more with smart mobility and use technology rather than just putting down more asphalt,” says Mark Clijsen, urban planning specialist at the city council.”
Anyone working in municipal government knows all about the tussle over speed humps or “bumps”, those wonderful “silent policemen” installed by the City that slow vehicular traffic. A speed hump is an area of raised pavement across a roadway, usually circular in shape, and is a gentler version of a speed bump, which has acute angles designed to insist vehicles slow right down. Speed bumps are designed to provide driver discomfort, and drop vehicular speeds to approximately ten kilometers per hour.
Every neighbourhood wants these wonderful things that by their nature and design intentionally slow traffic. The City of Vancouver has a speed hump request form where residents can ask to have their street evaluated for speed humps. You can’t buy speed humps-there is a magical formula in the “warrant” system that looks at speed and volume of vehicles and ICBC reporting of vehicular crashes and fatalities. But if your street is an emergency response route, is in an industrial area, or a near a firehall, Vancouver says you are out of luck.
Years ago I installed speed bumps in a laneway south of Oakridge Mall. The lane was being used for vehicular rat running, but also served as the access lane and play space for residents. Since the City could not install speed bumps outside the warrant system and at that time did not promote lane way speed bumps, the local residents cost shared the cost, and the installation was implemented. There were no complaints-except from Engineering who balked (and quite rightly) at the creation of 20 km/h signage for the lane, as that type of laneway signage had not been approved at Council-yet.
Metro Vancouver in partnership with the Corporation of Delta is showcasing an elegant solution for slowing down traffic with the use of temporary speed humps during a water main replacement. This wondrous temporary speed hump costs about $700 for each installation and generally takes a crew about 30 minutes to install. The temporary speed hump is secured using four anchor bolts.
If Metro Vancouver can come up with such a simple and innovative, quick way to traffic calm on residential streets when traffic is being circumvented for water main repair, why can’t Metro Vancouver municipalities trial these low-cost speed humps to provide slower traffic speeds and enhance livability in the neighbourhoods? Why does it take a huge traffic count analysis and warrant system to look at ways to make the street more equal for all users? How do we get these low cost speed humps as “demonstrations” of what slower streets can look like and can function as? Why can’t this come to a neighbourhood street near all of us to make walking and cycling comfortable, accessible and more convenient?
Around the world municipalities are starting to understand that speed does kill. Merely slowing vehicular speed from 50 km/h to 30 km/h is the difference between a pedestrian having a ten per cent chance of survival in a crash, to a ninety per cent chance of survival. When you think that we live in a country where we nationally subsidize health care, it is a simple no brainer-slow traffic saves lives, and saves health care costs too.
The City of Vancouver has been surprisingly reticent in not directly addressing the pedestrian carnage on Vancouver roads. There is not even a separate pedestrian advisory committee of council, instead those issues are rolled neatly into an appointed active transportation advisory body also charged with cycling. The pedestrian fatality and accident statistics are very upsetting and Price Tags has quoted them before. Last year almost one pedestrian a month died on the streets of the City of Vancouver. Statistics show that most of the dead were seniors. And the majority were correctly crossing the street at a marked intersection. It is just not acceptable in any kind of society, but somehow we see pedestrian deaths as some kind of forgivable disturbance caused by cars. Even the penalties given to drivers that kill by car are surprisingly light, to the sorrow of grieving families.
Despite the carnage the Mayor of Vancouver who champions the Green City model says in a report by the CBC that the city is considering reducing speed limits on more municipal roads, but wants to see what other municipalities are doing. Last year there were no cyclist deaths on Vancouver roads-but there were eleven pedestrian deaths. Surely that is enough to take more decisive action. “We’re watching other cities that are going to 30 kilometres in residential areas,” said Robertson at a media event on Wednesday.” But somehow the Mayor can’t commit to doing the prudent sustainable act of universally lowering speeds on all streets. And in Vancouver, arterials are also residential streets for many people-why can’t we accept the inconvenience of drivers adding a minute or two to a driving trip to save lives of pedestrians travelling more sustainably?
Meanwhile in Toronto Kate Allen of the Toronto Star observes that the Mayor of Montreal has announced “plans for a city-wide reduction of speed limits to be implemented next spring, lowering speed limits to 30 or 40 kilometres per hour on most city streets. The move is modelled after Sweden’s Vision Zero Initiative, aimed at putting an end to traffic fatalities.” And in Toronto itself an Angus Reid Forum poll found that 81 per cent of citizens were willing to trade lower speed limits for safer streets.
That means that four out of every five citizens will accept slower travel times to reduce collisions and save lives. As Toronto Councillor Mike Layton stated “I think people understand what the city is trying to do, and that is create safer streets for everyone that allow for different modes of transportation. We all want to get home safely to our families or to our places of work or school at the end of the day. If it’s a matter of safety over convenience, I think you’ll find that most people agree that we need to make sure our streets are safe.”
And that is what universal slower vehicular speed limits will do.
As reported by Global News spelling is very important for students and also to municipalities too. And it must have been a bit of a trying day in the City of Revelstoke B.C. when social media splashed the following image everywhere of the new word “school” freshly painted outside one of Revelstoke’s places of education.
So how does this happen? The stencils come in two sets and the painters held them upside down and backwards to paint the word SCOHOL. Revelstoke has put a positive spin on he error, saying that not only will the error be immediately corrected, but also suggesting that vehicles may slow down when they see the spelling.
You just can’t buy that kind of advertising.
“While the city’s supervisor is a little ticked by the mistake as well as a little surprised at the attention it’s getting, the operations manager says they’re all managing to have a little chuckle about it.”
A proposed $8 billion transportation spending package in Oregon could include a tax on the sale of bicycles. It’s a funding idea that’s often talked about but has rarely been implemented nationwide. …
The bike tax is still being debated at the state capitol, but the current proposal would tack on anywhere from three to five percent to the cost of a new bike. Under the current version of the plan, the tax would only apply to adult bikes that cost more than $500. …
Democratic Senator Lee Beyer helped craft the bike tax proposal. He says it came in response to a common refrain among lawmakers and the public.
“They felt that bicycles ought to contribute to the system, bicycle owners ought to contribute to the system, irrespective of the fact that most of them also own a car,” he said.
As for the cost, Beyer says the tax needs to be large enough to generate significant revenue above the cost of collecting it. But he says the fact that it’s in there at all means bike riders are now among the state’s transportation priorities.
“There’s a pretty big commitment to bicycle commuters in the [bill], and to the extent we do that, there are certain environmental advantages to do that, and it does address congestion to some extent as well.”
If it passes, Oregon would be the only state with a statewide tax specifically for bicycles, though it’s been proposed in many places. Some cities around the country do charge bicycle owners a registration fee.
We had the vision, we built the infrastructure, and now we use it – especially our young. This is who we are.
What’s the collective noun for this: Over 50 students from Charles Tupper school, assembling at Second Beach for a bike tour around Stanley Park. I don’t know if it’s an end-of-the-school-year tradition, but this is the second of three groups that have made the trek so far in the last week.
Paul, their leader, says they bring their own bikes or rent them on Denman, and then circumnavigate the park, stopping at key points to learn about the park.
And then hopefully continue on for the rest of their lives.
Intolerable congestion during the Victoria Day weekend:
For God’s sake, why don’t they widen the bike path and restrict pedestrians? That always works for roads.
The City of Sydney Australia and the Lord Mayor Clover Moore have been championing climate change, and have led a campaign to push the sustainability agenda. Every new year there is the “Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Party” held at the Sydney Opera House. But this year the mayor is cancelling it and the $750,000 in Canadian funds will be going towards “10 new urban parks over the next year, a zero-carbon building competition, efforts to help tenants access renewable energy, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency and expanding efforts to help commercial buildings cut their emissions.”
Last year at a meeting of the C40 city network on Climate Change the Mayor noted that in order to meet the Paris Agreement, cities had to do twice as much in half the time.” Emissions cutting is part of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Plan which will reduce the city’s emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 and be completely carbon neutral by 2050.
“People can’t see emissions reductions,” she said. But giving residents visual signs of green progress – amenities they want that also happen to cut emissions – “creates some ownership,” said the mayor, who walks in the city’s parks most days with her husband and dogs.
By “upgrading the city’s car fleet to hybrid vehicles, planting 10,000 trees, promoting car sharing, installing solar systems and water harvesting, and working with businesses to cut emissions” through building design resulted in a 25 per cent emission reduction since 2006. This reduction happened even though there’s been a 25 per cent increase in population and $26 billion (Canadian dollars) of development in the same time.
The hostile attitude of the former federal government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott did not deter the mayor. Despite the fact the Prime Minister stopped carbon reduction efforts and was seen as a climate change obstructionist, Mayor Clover Moore has served four terms as Sydney’s Lord Mayor. She received criticism that bike lanes would worsen traffic congestion-they did not. The Mayor perceives the Sydney business community as being her strongest ally.
“Leadership is absolutely crucial,” she said – and she thinks city governments are well placed to provide it, particularly with national action faltering in parts of the world. We get up in the morning and do something. That’s the fantastic thing about city government. We do things and we change people’s lives.”