Bicycles are the best form of urban transportation and more people should be out there riding on two wheels. In Toronto, like many North American cities, cyclists in the city are predominately white males (for a variety of reasons). With people stuck at home due to the pandemic there has been an increase in interest in cycling, particularly thanks to reduce vehicular traffic. Thanks to safer roads more people who identify as BIPOC are riding, and the group BIKEPOC is there to encourage even more riders. In 2019 Keiren Alam launched the group to create a more welcoming and diverse cycling community!
2021 will hopefully be a turning point for cyclists in Toronto!
Before the pandemic, Alam hosted monthly rides and workshops on skills like fixing flat tires. Her events were put on pause once the pandemic hit, but Alam organized fundraising rides for Black Lives Matter Toronto in July 2020. Shortly afterwards, she launched BIKEPOC’s bike match program to pair donated bikes with people who had difficulty accessing them. “A lot of people need bikes and the demand is clearly there,” Alam says. “We’re in a pandemic and people are still trying to get to work and are avoiding the TTC for safety.”
BIKEPOC partners with local community bike groups like Charlie’s FreeWheels and Bike Chain to build and repair donated bikes. They completed 20 bike matches last year, getting bikes in the hands of women, children and people of colour. After a winter hiatus, Alam relaunched the bike match program in mid-March and, in two days, she received applications from over 25 people in need of a bike. That’s in addition to the people who signed up last year but still haven’t been matched. “We have a lot of demand and not a lot of bikes coming in or getting donated because there’s a massive shortage of bikes right now.”
Flying isn’t so popular right now due to the pandemic and many airlines are financially hurting, and in France they are helping the Air France. Due to ineffectiveness in the private company the French government stepped in and doubled it’s stake with one key condition: the airline eliminates some of its routes. Short flights of 2.5 hours or less will no longer be permitted in France as the carbon output of one of those flights is 77 times that of a train. Train service in the country is good, but with the additional passenger load the service will improve with expansion.
Given how horrible plane travel is for the environment all of use should be grateful for France leading the way on this smart transportation policy.
The measures could affect travel between Paris and cities including Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux.
The French government had faced calls to introduce even stricter rules.
France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, which was created by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and included 150 members of the public, had proposed scrapping plane journeys where train journeys of under four hours existed.
Transportation systems that put cars front and centre cause a lot of damage, we know this. But aspects of our cultural approach to getting around like, the reliance on road salt, are easily ignored. Every winter in North America we dump an unfathomable amount of salt on our roads which subsequently kills off wildlife. The costs of using road salt are high.
Cities are waking up to the damage years of salting their roads have done not only to local ecosystems but also to their budgets. Using road salt isn’t cheap and now cities are looking to alternatives, or at the very least, strategies to reduce the amount of salt they put on roads.
Area officials found that, pound for pound, brine was far more efficient than traditional rock salt. They could protect a lane-mile of road with a solution containing under 100 pounds of salt, roughly one third the amount used by rock-salt trucks.
Last, the towns switched to live-edge plows, which have flexible blades made up of multiple, independently moving sections mounted on springs. These state-of-the-art blades are more thorough than conventional ones. And starting with brine makes the plows even more efficient, says Eric Siy, executive director of The FUND for Lake George. If live-edge snowplows are like razors that hug the curves, brine is like shaving cream.
Regular readers of this site already know that highways are amongst the worst ways to move people effectively and also a way to ensure urban development is built to cater to cars instead of human beings. Yet, in Ontario the government wants to build a $6 billion highway to promote low-density car-based development and increase the region’s carbon output. The utterly incompetent Conservative party is set on destroying the efforts of environmentalists and farmers to conserve prime farming land.
Building a highway isn’t good. If you want to actually improve transportation in Ontario – or almost anywhere – build better public transit. Vox explores this concept in a recent video.
The concept of induced demand has been around since the 1960s — nearly as long as the inception of the federal highway system — and has been proven by several studies since. But it still hasn’t stemmed the tide of big, expensive highway infrastructure projects as a Band-Aid to congestion.
The future of urban transit can be found in the mountains. As we noted back in 2012, gondolas (AKA cable cars) are a very real and practical option to solve urban mobility. The benefits of using cable cars are many and when they are integrated into local fare systems they can function as a vital piece of transit infrastructure. We’ve seen the adoption of gondolas increase globally and hopefully even more cities will utilize this modern form of transit.
Vancouver is currently optioning a cableway, as are multiple cities throughout France. The future is now, and the future is suspended in the sky.
Cableways excel in transporting passengers over geographic obstacles and height differences, crossing rivers, valleys, and harbours, and scaling hills, many times cheaper than building a new road, rail line, tunnel, or bridge. And with a much smaller footprint than tram lines. A kilometre of cableway costs about half as much to install as the same length of tram line, and takes much less time to construct. Once approved, cableway systems can be designed and built in about a year.
With electric motors, cableways use significantly less energy and emit much less CO2 than diesel or hybrid buses, and are much quieter. Their simplicity provides near 100% reliability. In case of electrical outages, lines have an emergency backup generator. Operating costs are also quite low. Even though the Emirates Air Line carries only 10 percent of its capacity, it still generates revenue for TfL, such is the low cost of maintenance and motive electricity required.