Top 5 Takeaways From The 2017 Winter Cycling Congress

Montreal, Canada had the honour of hosting the annual Winter Cycling Congress for 2017. The event was live-tweeted using the Twitter hashtag #wcc17, some of which we “re-tweeted” on our own Twitter account. The WCC was full of wonderful insights to encourage winter cycling this year. These are our top 5.

 

1. There Is No Magic…

Making a city safe and enjoyable for winter cycling requires a little more than good will and wishful thinking. It requires planning, engineering, maintenance, and promotion. There were 2 cities mentioned that stood out as setting the standard in this regard.

Oulu, Finland

Oulo, Finland is the winter bike capital of the world. 200K residents 150 kms below arctic circle. 77% of the population of Oulu use bicycles, and 42% use them in the winter. In Oulu, they don’t use salt on cycling routes. Instead, Oulu keeps their paths hard packed for traction and accessibility. Priority routes in Oulu are plowed and cleared by 7am. They are ready to use for the morning commute, and networks can be relied on.

Source: Oulu, Finland: Winter cycling capital of the world | Winter Cycling Blog

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen recognizes that bicycle infrastructure provides the best return on investment of any infra investment when you factor in health, jobs, time saved etc.

In Brampton, more people cycling could mean we realize extra savings in costs of first responders to automobile collisions, long-term health care, and insurance rates, for example.

Source: Cycle Chic®: Viking Biking

 

2. Focus On Ease

Emphasis is placed on the ease, pleasure and community benefits of cycling in successful winter cycling cities. Cycling in winter should be fast, easy, and comfortable. The primary reason that will stop residents from riding in winter is ice and snow not being cleared. In car-oriented suburbs like Brampton, councillors represent their constituents desires. Therefore, Active Transportation must be made appealing. The right choice must be the easiest choice. In Copenhagen, people don’t ride their bicycle because it is greener; they do it because it’s the fastest and easiest way to travel.

In both Copenhagen and Oulu, they recognize that you can’t only have success using “carrots”. Sometimes “sticks” are needed. For example: In Oulu, most residential streets are dead-ends. This cuts down on through traffic & improves conditions for cyclists & pedestrians. Cars can drive in snow and ice, and they’ll make it. Bike riders generally won’t attempt to ride if their route isn’t clear.

 

3. Change The Manuals

The engineering profession still focuses primarily on automobile throughput. Trying to dismantle this is an uphill battle and results in asking the wrong questions. We should be asking how to build the kind of city we want: What kind of economy? People driving to shop centrally (in malls), or people cycling to shop (locally)? Also important: The narrative about cycling must change. It needs to move away from a summer recreation activity to a year-round transport choice.

 

4. Demand Safe Streets…

…Instead of putting the onus on cyclists.

It’s important to remember that as recently as 1978 Copenhagen was still a car-centric city. It was the residents that demanded change. They wanted public space instead parking lots. Gathering spaces instead of highways. And bike trails instead of free, abundant parking. There is safety in numbers. As the number of cyclists increased, the number of serious collisions declined.

Safe Streets, Not Helmets

We should not demand that cyclists protect themselves. Instead, we should demand that the city protects cyclists, and make cycling safe.

“If it’s not safe for kids, then who is is safe for?” – Ty of @elgruponorte on the need for advocating for better infrastructure

 

5. Maintain It!

Temperature is not a significant deterrent to winter cycling. Poor maintenance is. Until -25C, temperature doesn’t discourage cycling in Oulu. Before then, there is no “bad weather”, cycle track maintenance is key. Sweepers and brine work better than plows and salt for bike lanes. Copenhagen, like many Ontario communities, gets sleet, freezing rain, snow, etc. Their bike lanes are cleared first and have been for the past 10-11 years. It is seen as providing an essential service. Regular preventative maintenance is that reduces reconstruction costs by half. As the network grows, the maintenance budget also has to grow to keep up.

 

Were you following, or were you at the Winter Cycling Congress? What were your favourite takeaways? Let us know in the comments!


Peel Sustainable Transportation Strategy Survey

With close to 40% more people living in Peel by the year 2041, the Region will face increases to traffic related congestion, infrastructure demand, health concerns and environmental issues, unless we plan for a transportation system that fully realizes the potential of walking, cycling, transit, and carpooling to manage demand.  The Sustainable Transportation Strategy is being developed as a long-term plan to enable and encourage more people to choose to travel in these modes.

Please take a moment to complete this survey. It will help the Region of Peel better understand the transportation issues that are important to you. Your input helps to provide services that are reflective of your needs.

Source: Peel Sustainable Transportation Strategy


Planning & Development Committee – Monday, January 16, 2017

The next Planning & Development Committee of Monday, January 16 should be interesting. There are 2 items that relate to Active Transportation in Brampton.

 

See Agenda Here

 

* 6.2. Report from N. Cadete, Project Manager, Active Transportation, Transportation Planning, dated December 6, 2016, re: Request to the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Regarding Cycling Infrastructure Funding – All Wards (File IA.c)

* 6.3. Report from N. Cadete, Project Manager, Active Transportation, Transportation Planning, dated December 6, 2016, re: Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program – Execution of Transfer Payment Agreement – Etobicoke Creek Inter-Municipal Trail Connection – Ward 3 (File HF.x)

 

The Overview of Item 6.2 states:

  • Share the Road Cycling Coalition (provincial advocacy group) encourages Ontario bicycle advisory committees to submit letters to the province, and to seek endorsement from their respective mayors and councils in support of increased funding for cycling infrastructure.
  • At its meeting of August 18, 2016, the Brampton Cycling Advisory Committee (BCAC) carried a motion in support of urging the Ontario Government to leverage the provincial cap and trade programs to provide $200 million for cycling infrastructure.
  • At the subsequent Planning and Infrastructure Services Committee meeting, Committee referred the BCAC recommendation to staff to report back to a future committee meeting on its implications.
  • An investment in cycling by the province would provide a funding source for future City infrastructure and/or improvements to barriers/constraints within the network which exist at freeway crossings.
  • In June 2016, the province launched Ontario’s Five-Year Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) which identifies $150 to $225 million invested in support of walking and cycling.
  • City staff has responded to a Ministry of Transportation request for comments on a discussion paper regarding the cycling infrastructure funding and initiatives outlined in the CCAP.
  • BCAC and City staff support the attached motion urging the province to leverage its cap and trade program to provide $220 million for cycling infrastructure across Ontario, and recommend that the Mayor write a letter of support, on behalf of Brampton City Council, to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

 

The Overview of Item 6.3 states:

  • As part of the provincial cycling strategy – #CycleON Action Plan 1.0 – the Ministry of Transportation launched a $10 million Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program (OMCIP), to help municipalities build new cycling infrastructure and improve existing cycling infrastructure.
  • Municipalities were eligible to apply for funding up to 50% of the total eligible costs of a cycling infrastructure project to a maximum amount of 6.3 – 1 $325,000.
  • The City of Brampton’s application for the Etobicoke Creek InterMunicipal Trail Connection (Kennedy Valley Trail Restoration Project) was approved for funding at the program’s upset limit of $325,000.
  • As a condition of receiving the OMCIP grant, the City is required to enter into a transfer payment agreement (TPA) with the Ministry of Transportation.
  • The TPA is to ensure that the funds provided are spent in compliance with the program requirements.
  • The TPA must be accompanied by a copy of a by-law and associated council resolution authorizing the TPA, which names the municipal signing officers, the amount of the municipality’s share of the funding, and its commitment to that funding.

 

Planning & Development Committee meetings start at 7pm, and are open to the public.


Math myth-busting some of our worst urban planning misconceptions | Metro News

A common political argument is that bike and transit riders should “pay their own way.” A study in Vancouver however suggested that for every dollar we individually spend on walking, society pays just 1 cent. For biking, it’s eight cents, and for bus-riding, $1.50. But for every personal dollar spent driving, society pays a whopping $9.20! Such math makes clear where the big subsidies are, without even starting to count the broader environmental, economic, spatial and quality-of-life consequences of our movement choices. The less people need to drive in our cities, the less we all pay, in more ways than one.

Another study in Copenhagen (where the full cost of transportation choices are routinely calculated) found that when you factor in costs like time, accidents, pollution and climate change, each kilometre cycled actually gains society 18 cents!

Source: Math myth-busting some of our worst urban planning misconceptions | Metro News


Remove it and They Will Disappear – Raise the Hammer

If you make it easier and quicker to drive, more people drive. If it is not so easy to drive, fewer people will drive or they will drive less. The net result of reducing lanes is less traffic, not gridlock.

Over the past 20 years, the French city of Paris has been gradually and progressively reducing the priority placed on automobile movement and increasing the space given to walking, cycling and transit.

Source: Remove it and They Will Disappear – Raise the Hammer

 


Taking back the streets: Most businesses on urban streets make their money from pedestrians and cyclists : TreeHugger


Action Request: MTO Discussion Paper on Cycling Initiatives under the Climate Change Action Plan

History

In April, 2016, cycling advocates called on the province to invest $200 million in cycling infrastructure over 4 years.

We were happy to report in June 2016 that the province of Ontario announced it’s much-anticipated Climate Change Action Plan, including several “actions that support cycling“, as well as other strategies that “will put Ontario on track to reduce transportation-related emissions while also helping to reduce the fuel costs of moving people“.

Now

The province is now interested in members of the public reviewing and commenting on the province’s proposed plan to implement actions identified in the Cycling Initiatives under the Climate Change Action Plan.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is proposing actions to accelerate and enhance implementation of #CycleON: Ontario’s Cycling Strategy by improving commuter cycling networks in Ontario. Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) identifies an intended investment of $150–225 million from cap and trade proceeds to support the creation of better cycling networks, more cycling facilities in urban areas, and more bike parking at transit stations and provincially owned, publicly accessible facilities.

As part of implementing the province’s CCAP commitments, MTO is proposing a program that includes the following components:

 

  • Local Cycling Infrastructure – The province would help municipalities build cycling infrastructure that improves safety in urban areas and supports commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis. Eligible infrastructure would include on- and off-road cycling facilities such as painted bike lanes, paved shoulders, cycling lanes separated by a curb, off-road multi-use paths and associated infrastructure (e.g., cycling signals, signs).
  • Provincial Cycling Infrastructure – The province would fund initiatives that will address provincial barriers (such as highways and bridges) that impact local cycling networks. Additionally, the government would make direct investments in provincial highways in urban areas to create the conditions to increase cycling for commuting and other frequent trips, where safe and feasible to do so. Infrastructure funded under this component could include on- and off-road cycling facilities (e.g., painted bike lanes, paved shoulders, cycling lanes separated by a curb, off-road multi-use paths), active transportation bridges and associated infrastructure (e.g., cycling signals, signs).
  • Bicycle Parking – The province would support construction of bike racks, bike shelters, bike lockers and bike enclosures at government-owned, publicly accessible facilities, transit stations and potentially private facilities such as workplaces and condominiums, where cycling for commuting and other frequent trips is reasonable. Constructing bike storage facilities at destinations can make it easier for people to choose active transportation for day-to-day trips. Having bike parking at transit stations can make it possible for people to bike to and from transit, allowing them to leave cars at home and add physical activity to commutes.

 

54 per cent of Ontario residents say they want to cycle more than they currently do and, of these, 42 per cent would consider cycling more to work or school. Many day-to-day trips currently made by passenger cars could be made by bike. One third of Ontarians have a daily, one way commute of less than five kilometers – a distance that an average adult can cycle in 30 minutes or less – so increasing and supporting cycling can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and manage congestion. In addition, there is a growing opportunity for Ontarians to cycle instead of drive from home or work to public transit, as well as to other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis.

 

Review the Proposal Notice

 

Please review the Notice and send your feedback before November 30, 2016 to be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.


The Climate Change Action Plan Will Support Cycling!

On June 8th, 2016 — during Bike Month — the province of Ontario announced it’s much-anticipated Climate Change Action Plan. In April 2016, cycling advocates were asked to asked to call on the Province to invest in cycling infrastructure, and Ontario delivered. The plan includes several “actions that support cycling“, as well as other strategies that “will put Ontario on track to reduce transportation-related emissions while also helping to reduce the fuel costs of moving people“.

Action Item 3 is dedicated to support cycling and walking. From the plan:

3) Support cycling and walking

Good cycling infrastructure gets people out of their cars and onto bikes and transit for their daily commute, effectively reducing greenhouse gas pollution while also improving public health. This action will:

3.1 Improve commuter cycling network

The government intends to accelerate and enhance implementation of Ontario’s Cycling Strategy and Action Plan and promote cycling. It will do this through:

3.1.1 A better cycling network

Commuter cycling networks will be established across Ontario, targeting routes with high-commuting volume such as between residential communities, major transit stations and employment areas.

3.1.2 Safe cycling

There will be more cycling facilities in urban areas, including grade-separated routes and cycling signals.

3.1.3 Convenient cycling

There will be more bike parking at transit stations and provincially owned, publicly accessible facilities.

3.1.4 Commuter cycling

Ontario will revise provincial road and highway standards to require commuter cycling infrastructure be considered for all road and highway construction projects where it is safe and feasible. Ontario will do the same for major transit corridors.

The Cycling action item is receiving a total intended funding of:
$150,000,000 to $225,000,000!

More details are available on the Climate Change Action Plan page.