This Northern Canadian City is Investing $100 million into Cycling Infrastructure

People opposed to efficient transportation systems argue that cycling infrastructure doesn’t work in the winter, and anybody not suffering from car brain knows that people can ride bikes in cold weather. The city of Edmonton, located in the northern half of Alberta, has launched a great new initiative to promote cycling to the tune of $100 million. This builds off of years of progress in making Edmonton’s urban planning focus on people instead of cars. This is excellent to see and if Edmonton can do this than any city with winter can also do it. Local businesses and communities are already noticing the benefits of active urban design.

“I think people seem to lose sense of proportion,” Babin told CityNews. “We seem to have very little debate when we spend $200 million or $300 million, or even a billion dollars on a road project. But we seem to get up in arms over any kind of investment in cycling. But really, it’s a fraction of the budget. It’s really a drop in the bucket when you look at the bigger picture of transportation in Edmonton, especially when you spread it over a number of years.

“Cities have done it and even cities in Canada, we look at Montreal that’s had a consistent investment in good cycling infrastructure for more than 20 years now. It makes a huge difference and it makes people’s lives better, safer and healthier.”

Raitz was hardly surprised by the financial figures shared by Salvador, saying bike infrastructure cost is “minimal… in the grand scheme of things.”

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Thanks to Mike!

Expand Houses by Shrinking Lanes

Seemingly everywhere there’s a crunch on housing and there’s a surplus of roads, so let’s change some car space to sleeping space. If we take away even just one lane of parking for cars we can create towers of housing for people. Cities can benefit from increased revenue since housing makes more money for cities than stationary cars. What’s more, when a developer wants to build and take away a lane then part of the development fees can be specified to increase transit and biking infrastructure.

He argues that highway conversions make more sense than using lanes on regular city streets for housing, at least in most cases. “Most street right-of-ways are can only be reduced by a lane or two, which can generate enough extra space for a bike lane or expanded sidewalk but not enough for the addition of housing,” he says. “Moreover, trading street width for a housing tract typically requires a public/private land swap. These are possible, but add enough red tape to only make sense when a significant amount of housing can be added.”
In Boston, Speck’s firm is working on a plan, now in its second design phase, to use excess road space in Kenmore Square to add new housing and public space. “The plan results in considerably more housing than originally conceived, plus a beautiful plaza,” Speck says. The plan would also more than triple the space available for pedestrians.

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Bike Riding is Not Just a Phase

Every cyclists knows that riding a bike equals freedom, you can go where you want when you want and don’t need trillions of dollars of infrastructure to operate one. Electric bicycles are getting more affordable every year and more and more people are buying them instead of getting a car. Interest in car driving continues to decrease while interest in biking increases. Now cities need to change their car dominated approach to embrace a faster, safer, form of transportation.

As much of the media is still trying to understand the phenomenon of this massive growth in e-bike use, cities are already grappling with just how to handle it. Not only are cities around the US seeing their own rise in e-bike usage, but several are helping to support the shift away from cars by providing incentives for purchasing electric bikes.

Even without incentives though, e-bikes are surprisingly affordable. Like anything, you’ll find fancier expensive options. But a good e-bike can be bought for under $1,000. When you compare that to the cheapest $40,000 Tesla, you can see why young people are moving to e-bikes in droves.

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How Seville Stays Cool Despite Rising Heat

Climate change is increasing the average temperatures of cities around the world, which forces inhabitants to adjust to entirely new climates their cities weren’t designed for. In Spain, the city of Seville is expected to have the climate of Marrakesh in a few years time so the city needs to find new ways to cool down. They are currently experimenting with an old technique perfect by ancient people: use water that cools in the night to cool the city during the day.

One of the coolest spots in Seville, Spain, is the site of CartujaQanat, an architectural experiment in cooling solutions that relies not on air conditioning but on natural techniques and materials. Inspired by ancient tunnels dug to bring water to agricultural fields in what is today Iran, the $5.6 million structure uses a network of aqueducts, pipes and solar-powered pumps to cool water at night and then turn it into cold air during the day.

Seville is among the world’s hottest cities looking for new ways to cool down and save lives. Yet despite the project’s early promises, the CartujaQanat remains in limbo amid financial and political hurdles, Laura Millan reports.

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Transit Hub Addiction Clinics Benefit Everyone

When social services are difficult to get to then their services are used less, it sounds obvious but in too many places social services are very difficult to get to. Car centric urban designs further exacerbate inequality by limiting mobility options, or to put it another way: cars limit freedom of access and opportunities.

In order to best help everyone in our communities we should ensure that social services are accessible and what better way than at transit hubs? Many people suffering from addiction also suffer from economic problems so ensuring that they can easily get to treatment centres can help them recover. Early research is proving that accessible treatment centres help everyone.

“What we’re finding is that there’s this significant relationship between being close to these new transit start ups … and costs, operating costs are significantly less,” said Cohen.

“The other thing that we’re finding is that there’s a relationship between equity and access to treatment.”

The research looked at addiction and mental-health clinics that were within half-a-mile, or approximately 800 metres, of a new transit route. Cohen considered that basically walking distance, and compared results with those from clinics further afield.

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