A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘biking

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s new Cycling Network Plan: What’s in store for Scarborough?”

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Spacing Toronto describes the benefits of Toronto’s planned bike networks for east-end Scarborough.

On May 16th, the City of Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) recommended that City Council increase annual capital funding to $16 million for the proposed Ten Year Cycling Network Plan. This figure was recommended by Transportation Services staff and roughly doubles the City’s annual spending on cycling infrastructure. The plan calls for a total of 525 km of new cycling infrastructure throughout the city, including 280 km of bicycle lanes or cycle tracks on what the staff report refers to as ”Fast, Busy Streets”, 55 km of sidewalk-level boulevard trails also along ”Fast, Busy Streets”, and 190 km of cycling routes on ”Quiet Streets”.

In a previous post, I highlighted what Scarborough residents could expect from this new plan. To re-cap, building cycling infrastructure on major corridors like Kingston Rd., Danforth Ave., and Midland Ave. would improve transportation options, especially in southwest Scarborough, which has the highest levels of cycling mode share.

Therefore, it is promising that sections of both Danforth Ave. (between Broadview Ave. and Danforth Rd.) and Kingston Rd. (between Danforth Ave. and Eglinton Ave. E.) are slated for major corridor studies during the first three years of the plan in 2017 and 2019 respectively. A major corridor study is used in locations that would achieve an important cycling network link but where the streets are already intensely used for a wide range of existing activities. As part of the study, traffic impacts are assessed and affected stakeholders, such as residents and business owners, are consulted before new cycling infrastructure is introduced.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “New plan would add 525 km of bike routes to create a true Toronto network”

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The Toronto Star‘s Ben Spurr reports. All I can say is that this is a great plan. Will it be enacted? This remains to be seen.

Bike lanes could be coming to eight of Toronto’s busiest streets if the city’s new 10-year cycling plan pans out.

The plan, released in a city report Monday, identifies 525 km of new bike lanes, cycle tracks, trails and other routes that, if built, would create the kind of connected network Toronto’s bike advocates have long pushed for.

The majority of that infrastructure, some 280 km, would be in the form of painted or physically separated bike lanes on busy streets, while 190 km of it would be cycling routes on quieter roads. The remaining 55 km would be “sidewalk-level boulevard trails” running alongside major thoroughfares. The plan would cost an estimated $153.5 million over the next decade.

“Over a 10-year period we would roughly look at doubling the amount of cycling routes in the city,” said Stephen Buckley, the city’s general manager of transportation services. He said that to date the city’s planning of its bike network has been disjointed, and his goal was to “develop a full network that we could get behind.”

The guiding principles are connecting existing cycling routes, expanding the network, and improving infrastructure already in place, Buckley said.

Perhaps the most striking feature is a proposal to study bike infrastructure on eight major corridors, including Bloor St./Dupont St. from Dundas St. to Sherbourne St.; Danforth Ave. from Broadview Ave. to Kingston Rd.; and Yonge St. all the way from Steeles to Front St., almost the full length of the city.

[URBAN NOTE] “Why are so few Black people cycling in Toronto?”

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D.C. Matthew writes at length in NOW Toronto about the various reasons why black people are so underrepresented in the population of cyclists. Some of the reasons are more benign than others.

People are connected to various social networks (the web of social relationships in which we are embedded), and researchers have convincingly – if not uncontroversially – argued that the behaviour of persons in our networks can affect our own in various ways. The idea is that a behaviour can spread as people pick up unconscious social signals that it’s normal.

But if more people are cycling because their friends are cycling, why aren’t more Black people cycling? Don’t they have friends, too? Yes, but it’s a well-studied fact that social networks are often less racially and ethnically diverse than we think.

Typically, when scholars study the racial homogeneity of social networks, their aim is to learn whether and how they work to disadvantage minorities by providing whites with privileged access to valuable resources such as jobs. If, for example, what matters most in getting a job is not what you know but who you know, and whites have historically dominated the most sought-after jobs, then it’s easy to see why homogeneous networks might be troubling.

But racially homogenous networks can also serve as conduits for the racially differentiated spread of healthy behaviours, and one of these is cycling.

This point finds some support when we look at the neighbourhoods where cycling rates are highest. In Toronto, the areas with the highest number of utilitarian cyclists (including Parkdale, Little Portugal and nearby ‘hoods) tend to be in the west end.

Although these neighbourhoods aren’t among the city’s whitest, they’re not the Blackest either.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Cough Up, Cyclists: Sydney Fines Soar in World’s Toughest Regime”

Angus Whitley of Bloomberg describes a strict regime for cycling in Sydney that I actually think is defensible if flawed. You?

Australia’s newest piece of criminal legislation is among the toughest in the world. The target: cyclists.

In a week, riders in Sydney and the rest of New South Wales state will be subject to a package of new laws aimed at cutting deaths and the more than 1,000 serious injuries a year among cyclists.

The penalty for cycling without a helmet more than quadruples to A$319 ($229), stiffer than many speeding fines for drivers, and riders jumping a red light will get a A$425 fine. Adult riders will have to carry identification, or face a A$106 penalty from March 2017.

Cycling advocates say the crackdown will deter people from saddling up and worsen motorized congestion that’s already grinding down Australia’s biggest cities. Without better planning, the economic cost each year of such gridlock will quadruple to A$53 billion by 2031, according to government agency Infrastructure Australia.

“This legislation is reaching new lows,” said Chris Rissel, a professor at the University of Sydney’s school of public health who has researched the benefits of cycling for 15 years. “There are many things that could be done to make cycling safer and to encourage more people to ride. These things are not it.”

Tougher rules, which come into force March 1, are needed because on average 11 cyclists die and 1,500 are seriously injured each year in New South Wales, said Bernard Carlon, executive director of the government’s Centre for Road Safety.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Antipope Charlie Stross takes down the flawed universe-building of fantasy fiction.
  • Anthropology.net notes that apparently, continents without agriculture saw their populations grow as much as continents with agriculture.
  • Centauri Dreams considers Wolf 1061c.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the Puebloans took part in long-distance trade, as noted by their food.
  • The Extremo Files notes a new effort to map the badly underexplored oceans of our world.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the five-year anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Mexico’s lawsuit against BP for Deepwater Horizon’s spill.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw is critical of New South Wales’ new regulation of cyclists. (I personally think much of it should be copied in Ontario.)
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes satellite observations of Earth changing through the seasons.
  • Spacing reviews Ladders, an exciting-sounding book about urban development.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a poll suggesting three-quarters of Russians blame the West for their country’s economic problems.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes the various subway stations scheduled to get upgrades.
  • Crooked Timber considers the ethics of wealth inequality.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the apparent detection of signals from disrupted hot Jupiters in nearby galaxies.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a lawsuit lodged by people in a New York City parish who allege the church was covering up their priest’s theft of a million dollars for a S&M dungeon master, and notes one instance of Greek Orthodox homophobia.
  • Language Hat notes how Irish Gaelic nobility tried to Anglicize their names, dropping their Macs and O’s.
  • Savage Minds considers the ethnography of the urban wilderness.
  • Spacing Toronto considers biking plans in Scarborough.
  • Torontoist notes the effects of the Fort York bridge, looks at funding for the Toronto Public Library, and examines the greenbelt.
  • Understanding Society contrasts historical and sociological explanations of events.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Russian concerns about the infrastructural vulnerability of Kaliningrad.

[URBAN NOTE] “How about food bikes?”

Spacing Toronto’s Dylan Reid writes about the idea of food bikes in Toronto.

This spring, I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days in Paris. The city is in the midst of trying to reclaim the banks of the Seine river as public space (rather than abandoned industrial or vehicle traffic space). On one low-lying outcropping the city had built a simple park with chairs (awesome chairs — see photo below) — and in that park was a food bike, selling fantastic sandwiches.

My thought, of course, was, could we have food bikes in Toronto? Apart from the wow factor, the concept has several advantages. They are temporary, emissions-free, and mobile. Bikes can reach places vehicles would have a hard time with: the Paris park was only accessible by a ramp, more easily maneouvered by a bike than a vehicle. The park was a bit out of the way, but a food bike has lower overhead than a truck or a full food stand, so doesn’t have to sell as much to make money. And a food bike is temporary, so it doesn’t even have to open at times when no-one will be around, or can go to different locations depending on demand. It doesn’t need to run a motor, so its emissions are far lower than a food truck, and lower too than a food stand that has to be brought in and out by motor vehicle.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm


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