June 12, 2012
Recent TCAT activities and news items:
- Complete Streets by Design Take Two!
- OPPI Symposium 2012 theme: Active Transportation
- "City Cycling" Book release pre-order
- Article: "Bicycling: Health Risk or Benefit?"
- Bike Lanes on Bloor - Still a good idea!
1. Complete Streets by Design Take Two!
With funding from the Toronto Community Foundation, TCAT recently produced Complete Streets by Design: Toronto streets redesigned for all ages and abilities to show how six Toronto streets could look and feel redesigned as Complete Streets. By providing visually compelling before and after street sections and photo collages, this tool is intended to be useful for professionals and the general public alike as well as generate conversation about Complete Streets in Toronto.
In just a few short weeks following the launch at the end of March, the 500 printed copies had all flown out the door. As a result of the keen interest, we have received helpful feedback about corrections and recommended improvements to increase the usability and effectiveness of the resource. The revised version includes corrections to some of the roadway dimensions and improvements to the design of the planted median in the Eglinton street section. Please help us by circulating this new version to your contacts. We would also love to print copies of this new and improved version but don't currently have funding to do so. If you like the resource as much as we do, and would like to help us out please consider donating to TCAT today!
2. OPPI Symposium 2012 theme: Active Transportation
The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) holds a symposium each year on different themes of particular relevance to planners. The theme for 2012, happening on Sep 20-21, is Healthy Communities & Planning for Active Transportation. Symposium features include:
- Ryan Whitney, TCAT's Complete Streets Researcher and Project Manager, will be presenting in the "Insights on Active Transportation" panel with Dr. Andrea Feller, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Niagara Region; Karen Hammond, MCIP, RPP, OPPI Urban Design Working Group; and Moderator: Thora Cartlidge, MCIP, RPP, City of Thunder Bay.
- Robert Voigt, Town of Collingwood will lead a Lunch and Learn session titled "Put yourself 'out there' with Social Media". Robert co-presented an engaging session with Dan Burden at TCAT's 2012 Complete Streets Forum.
3. "City Cycling" Book release pre-order
The book is scheduled to be released in October; more details including a table of contents and full abstract are posted on the Bloustein School's website. Meanwhile, the European Cyclists' Federation is working on a series of articles based on topics covered in the book, with interviews from John Pucher. Two have been posted so far; It’s All About ‘High Heels on Wheels’ and Cycle For One Hour and You’ll Live an Hour Longer.
4. Article: "Bicycling: Health Risk or Benefit?"
The University of British Columbia Medical Journal recently published an article by Kay Teschke and other members of the Cycling in Cities research team (of which TCAT is a member) considering the health risks and benefits of recent efforts to encourage cycling in North American cities from a health perspective. The article considered benefits such as physical activity and lower levels of pollution, noise, and congestion and weighed them against risks such as injury and exposure to air pollution. The article finds a net benefit associated with cycling, and mentions some ways that risk can be mitigated, including cycling infrastructure and restrictions on motor vehicle traffic and speed.
5. Bike Lanes on Bloor - Still a good idea!
CBC radio has a new weekly cycling column "Bambrick on Bikes" with Yvonne Bambrick. Last week's show provided an update on the status of various bike lane projects throughout Toronto, including projects on Dupont and Bloor-Danforth. Responding to a question about the potential impact that bike lanes could have on local business, Yvonne referenced TCAT's research reports on the topic. Bloor/Danforth has been identified as an ideal location for bike lanes for over a decade and was a focus of three TCAT research reports published in 2009 and 2010 (Year 1, Year 2, Summary).
TCAT's research found that in both Bloor Annex and Bloor West Village there is strong business and patron support for bike lanes, and reducing on-street parking is unlikely to impact on commercial activity because the vast majority of patrons do not drive to shop at local businesses (10% in Bloor Annex and 20% in Bloor West Village). Furthermore in both neighbourhoods, patrons who drive reported visiting less frequently and spending significantly less money per month in these neighbourhoods than those who walked, cycled and took public transit. These findings are still relevant today and community support for bike lanes remain high as demonstrated by the recent Bells on Bloor/Danforth rides and rally at Queen's Park.