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.”

Read more.

Thanks to Mike!

Doctors Say Healthy People Come From Good Urban Design

A new report written by a handful of doctors titled Improving Health Care by Design concludes that in order to have a healthy populace we need cities designed for health. There is nothing startling in the report but it does provide one more reference and tool for people to use inspire positive change in their own communities.

The results: if we want healthy people, we need to build healthy communities. This means, the doctors suggest, that our communities need to made more conducive to walking, cycling, and public transit. The report concludes with calls for “major changes” in community design across the GTHA.

These are not perhaps particularly novel observations, few would argue that more opportunities for physical activity leads to better overall health. But the report, written as it was by doctors, adds leverage to these ideas by attempting to quantify more specifically, the health effects of good community planning.

Read more.

More Cyclists = Safer Cyclists

In a recent report from the City of Minneapolis (recently voted the best city in the US to ride), data shows that the more cyclists are on the roads, the fewer the collisions there are between cars and bikes.

For 2008, the most recent year for which complete data were available, the crash rate was one-quarter that of 10 years earlier. Moreover, a trend line shows a steady decrease in the crash rate even as the number of commuting cyclists more than doubled.

These findings are consistent with other cities too!

It squares with a 2003 analysis on biking and walking in two California cities. “A person is less likely to collide with a person walking or biking if more people walk or bicycle,” public health consultant Peter Jacobsen wrote in the journal Injury Prevention.

So if you want to feel safer on your bike, get your friends on the road too!

Read the whole article at The Star Tribune.

Riding the Green Wave in San Francisco

For the past two years, Valencia Street in San Francisco has been experimenting with a system called “The Green Wave.” By programming the timing of traffic signals, the city of San Francisco has made it possible to ride a bicycle at a steady 13 mph (~21 km/hr) without hitting a single red light. This effectively eliminates the tiresome stopping and starting for cyclists, thus making biking even more efficient! It was recently announced that the pilot project will now become a permanent feature of Valencia Street.

Although the concept of optimizing signal timing for cyclists isn’t new, the programme in San Francisco has made some improvements that make it even better than similar systems in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Portland.

San Francisco’s Green Wave is already unique because it is the first in the world to work two ways simultaneously, something Mayor Newsom calls “another example of our leadership in providing quality cycling improvements for this community.”

“Those who bike in San Francisco have seen their rides become safer and more efficient. Our continued commitment is to further the progress made and further establish San Francisco as a champion for providing multiple modes of transportation,” said Newsom.

Read more at, and check out their information on cycling in cities around the US.

Toronto’s First Bike Boxes

Cyclists in Portland have long since known the benefits of Bike Boxes (also called advance stop lines.) which allow a safe place for cyclists to stop at an intersection. This gives cyclists increased visibility when taking the lane to make a left turn, and generally increases the safe space around bikes. Toronto’s first bike boxes have sprouted up at Harbord and St. George recently and although many motorists and cyclists are unfamiliar with them, they’re a step in the right direction!

Read more of Derek Flack’s article at BlogTO.

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