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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘bikes

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at some stunning imagery of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.
  • Inkfish notes that some jumping spiders do not just look like ants, they walk like them, too.
  • Language Log has gentle fun with the trend to develop heat maps for American English dialects.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the idea of disgust as it is made to relate to the homeless.
  • Siva Vijenthira at Spacing considers the particular importance of biking for the independence of women.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers whether or not terraforming Mars is worth it. (Yes, but it will be costly.)
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that China is displacing Russia, despite the latter’s efforts, as the main trade partner of smaller post-Soviet countries.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares an amusing photo of the Wonder Bears of Provincetown.

[URBAN NOTE] “How Finland Gets People Biking Through Winter”

Torontoist’s Emily Macrae looks at how the Finnish city of Oulu keeps its citizens biking during winter. As always, planning is key.

With fewer than seven hours of sunlight a day at this time of year, Oulu is an unlikely leader in winter cycling. Timo Perälä discovered that his hometown’s approach was unique while doing research into winter maintenance of cycling routes for his thesis more than 15 years ago.

Since that time, Oulu has gained an international reputation for its efforts to facilitate active transportation in the winter. Today, 27 per cent of the population are active cyclists all year long, while Perälä has become the founder and president of the Winter Cycling Federation.

So what’s the secret to ensuring that people choose to bike regardless of the weather?

First, Oulu has an enviable cycling network that extends 613 kilometers to connect a population of 200,000. For comparison, Toronto has 579.4 kilometers of on-street cycling infrastructure for a population more than 10 times as large.

Oulu’s bike lanes are the result of decades of municipal leadership. The city’s first cycling plan was developed in 1969. In an email, Perälä explains: “It was understood early that walking and cycling [have] to be treated as equal modes of transportation.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 10, 2017 at 10:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Torontoist on Bikes and Belonging

Torontoist’s Taylor Moyle described a remarkable problem, Bikes and Belonging, combining cycling with photography for newcomers. How did I miss this? Spacing had more on the project in November.

Musician Beck made an impact with two turntables and a microphone, but here in Toronto a small group of bike lovers have helped make an impact in the lives of new Canadians using two wheels and a camera phone.
About 40 people gathered at city hall on Monday to look at photos taken by people who are new to Canada and new to biking in Toronto. The exhibit, titled Bikes and Belonging, is on display in the rotunda until February 3.

The exhibit features photos from people who are new to Canada and a part of CultureLink’s 2016 Bike Host program in partnership with the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT). The participants took pictures while riding bikes given to them by Scarborough Cycles around Toronto.

The program loaned out bicycles to newcomers for the summer. Participants were set up with a mentor cyclist to show them around the city and get them comfortable with riding in Toronto’s crowded streets and beautiful ravines.

The photography aspect of the program was created by Ryerson masters student Yvonne Verlinden, and is part of her urban planning research. She came up with the idea as she was cycling: Verlinden is a proud cyclist who is constantly visiting and photographing new places and she wanted others to share in this experience.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The petty battle against Bike Share in historic Cabbagetown”

I’m inclined to agree with Shawn Micallef’s argument in the Toronto Star about the NIMBYism in opposition to a Bike Share stand in Cabbagetown.

In a Jan, 23 letter to City Councillor Pam McConnell, the Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District Committee expressed disappointment that a Bike Share station was installed last summer within the Cabbagetown North Heritage Conservation District (HCD) without “any regard for the truly unique character” the area presents and asked it be removed.

An HCD protects an entire neighbourhood, not just a historic building. Bike Share, Toronto’s municipal bike lending program, installed a station with 14 bikes in the northwest corner of Riverdale Park, near the Winchester and Sumach Sts. intersection. The committee says the bikes interfere with the “character, rhythm and overall setting” of Cabbagetown and mentioned three listed heritage properties nearby, including the Toronto Necropolis chapel, that the bikes compromised.

Back in November, the Cabbagetown Residents Association conducted an online survey after two residents launched the first historic petards at the bikes, with complaints that stated, in part, “the park should not be dumping grounds for the latest trend from city hall.” Of the 739 who responded to the survey, 721 were in favour of the current location, with only 16 wanting the bike station removed, and two people choosing somewhere else entirely. Undaunted by the survey results, the heritage committee, made up of Cabbagetown residents, launched another volley.

Should the committee be successful in removing the Bike Share station from the park, can we expect them to then work on removing the on-street parking found throughout historic Cabbagetown? While the Bike Share station took up just one small pocket, the entire park and necropolis are surrounded by Hondas, Volkswagens and Volvos, many of them closer to the heritage properties than the bike share is.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 6, 2017 at 8:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO notes the continued rise in rental prices for apartments.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at a time in the Earth’s history when there was a lot of atmospheric oxygen but not much life.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting there is an authentic lack of gas giant planets beyond 10 AU.
  • Itching for Eestimaa notes the British politicians who favoured the recognition of the Soviet annexation of the Baltics, and notes that those imperialist times of old are back.
  • The Map Room Blog notes that Trump voters tend to prefer Duck Dynasty and Clinton voters preferred Family Guy.
  • Marginal Revolution notes California’s ban on funding travel to jurisdictions which discriminate against people on grounds of sexual orientation or gender.
  • Peter Watts describes a trip on hallucinogens.
  • The NYRB Daily shares Masha Gessen’s concerns about the threat of moral authority.
  • Spacing links to some article about improving bike infrastructure.
  • Window on Eurasia warns of a new consolidation of Russian federal units.

[URBAN NOTE] “Cycling advocates gear up to fight the use of bike lanes by people with mobility issues”

The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr reports on a new cycling battle that, frankly, sounds like it might be politically bad to take on.

A coalition of cycling, pedestrian, and accessibility advocates is gearing up to fight a proposal that they claim could mean the death of safe bike infrastructure in the city.

The proposal, which will be debated at this week’s city council meeting, would make it legal for drivers with accessible parking permits to temporarily stop in physically separated bike lanes if they’re loading or unloading someone with mobility challenges.

Ahead of a press conference at city hall on Monday, a coalition that includes Walk Toronto, Cycle Toronto, and Stop Gap, issued a release that declared that if council approved the bylaw change it would spell “the end of protected bike lanes in Toronto.”

Burns Wattie, a member of the coalition, warned that the proposal would create “an extremely dangerous situation” for road users of all types. Wattie, a cyclist who often drives his wheelchair-using son in an accessible vehicle, said that allowing drivers to stop in protected bike lanes would force cyclists into traffic, and encourage wheelchair users into a space frequented by riders.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith tells the story of how he and his husband got the latest ornament for their tree.
  • blogTO looks at Toronto Instagram star Aimee Hernandez.
  • Language Hat parses the language of Wallace Stegner’s fiction.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the worrying spread of smears and lies.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at a musical highway in New Mexico.
  • Torontoist describes biking in Toronto in the 1970s.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy takes issue with the new Gilmore Girls.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia would not accept Ukraine’s Finlandization and reports on dissent among Russia’s Muslims with the idea of a new state-imposed hierarchy.