Request for Literature:
We are conducting a literature review (academic and grey) on the impact of
built environment features on physical activity and/or healthy eating
and/or health equity in rural, remote, and northern communities. This
project is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The final product
will be a knowledge synthesis report that includes an annotated biography.
This report has the potential to provide guidance in addressing the unique
challenges and needs that these communities face in improving the health
outcomes of their populations. In addition to conducting a search for
peer-reviewed literature in databases (e.g. PsychoINFO, MEDLINE) we are
also seeking practitioner and/or academic input.
If you are aware of academic literature OR grey literature (reports,
conference proceedings, dissertations and theses and white papers) on this
topic, please send us a link or reference information to Kim Bergeron @
kim(a)buildingbetter.biz by March 8, 2013.
Please disseminate this request widely.
Kim Bergeron and Sue Cragg
Kim Bergeron, Ph.D. Sue Cragg
Bergeron Consulting suecraggconsulting.ca
Walk this way Pedestrian signals, street redesigns helping to make
By: Bruce Owen
It's been blinking for less than a year, but already it's being trumpeted
as one of the best ways to make busy city intersections safer for
pedestrians and drivers.
It's called a pedestrian countdown signal and it sits at the corner of
Portage Avenue and Donald Street across from the MTS Centre. Like its name,
it counts down the number of seconds pedestrians headed to a Jets game or
an arena concert have to safely cross the street before the traffic signal
for the oncoming lane turns green. It was installed in June by the city as
a way to introduce Winnipeggers to something more common in other cities.
The countdown signal is just one tool traffic experts use to make streets
safer, but how soon we'll see more of them in the city is unknown.
They can only be installed where existing software and wiring can support
them, and more importantly, when the city's budget process supports it. The
cost of the countdown signal is about $10,000 per intersection.
"There's no plan with timeline," Winnipeg traffic signals engineer Michael
Cantor said of future installations. "We're trying to push for it. There's
a benefit from them. It gives pedestrians an enhanced feeling of safety
when they're crossing. They know exactly how much time they have to cross."
Pedestrian countdown signals are now mandatory in the United States -- any
new or replacement pedestrian signals being installed must include
countdowns unless the pedestrian change interval (flashing upraised hand)
is seven seconds or less.
In Canada, they are not, but many cities (Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary)
have installed them anyway, simply because of the safety benefit.
Asif Iqbal, senior traffic safety engineer with the City of Edmonton, said
the benefit of countdown signals is best seen in that city's downtown area,
where there is a lot of foot traffic.
He said Edmonton's policy is that any new interaction location or
reconstruction is considered for a countdown signal. The city's first
countdown signal was installed about five years ago.
"Drivers like them too, because it gives them an idea on how much time they
have before the light is going to turn amber," Iqbal said. "Our message,
though, is that these are for pedestrians, and drivers should not rely on
Cantor said the single countdown signal at Portage and Donald has already
sparked several requests from city councillors and members of the public to
have them installed at other locations, mostly in the downtown.
He said there is mixed research on the cost-benefit of the signals -- do
they reduce pedestrian collisions and costs to the health-care system?
Cantor said the research isn't decisive and that in some jurisdictions,
people get used to the countdown signals and their novelty runs out, so any
safety benefit is temporary.
"Different studies say different things," he said. "We want to put them in
because we feel that it will give more of a safety component and better
decision-making tool for pedestrians before they cross. It just feels safer
when you know how many seconds you have to cross."
Traffic engineers are also looking at other ways to make intersections
safer but still maintain traffic flow.
Edmonton's Iqbal said the most common crashes at intersections are
rear-enders, mostly caused by the trailing vehicle following too closely.
By re-engineering the geometry or design of some intersections, Edmonton
has found it can lessen the chances of those collisions and also reduce the
possibility of more severe right-angle or side crashes.
Iqbal said a re-designed intersection makes it easier for drivers making
right turns to turn their head sideways to see opposing traffic.
"If the angle is such that when you are going through that right turn, it
moves you away from that stream of traffic, it becomes difficult to turn
your head, because you have to turn your head almost 180 degrees so that
you can see if someone is coming," Iqbal said of older intersections.
What Edmonton has done at some of its intersections is reduce the size of
the right-turning lane or eliminate it, making oncoming traffic more
visible to drivers going right.
"What we did was when you are making a right turn now, the angle is such
that when you go into the intersection, you basically make a 90-degree
right turn," he said. "We call it a high-entry angle."
By its design, a high-entry angle not only improves visibility for drivers
turning right, but forces them to slow down before entering the
intersection, he said.
"If you look at statistics for most major cities, intersections are
overrepresented for most collisions," said Gerry Shimko, executive director
of Edmonton's Office of Traffic Safety. "Typically, more than 50 per cent
of all collisions are intersection-related."
An example of a change of intersection design in Winnipeg is at Salter
Street and Jefferson Avenue. Last year, the four-way stop signs were
replaced by traffic signals. They were installed as a way to better control
an increasing amount of traffic on both streets during rush hour. In the
process, a right-turning lane northbound off Salter to go east on Jefferson
was eliminated. A small pedestrian island also disappeared.
That was done more to realign the intersection and facilitate the
installation of the traffic signals, city road engineer Stephen Chapman
said. However, the road change now makes it easier for drivers turning
right onto Jefferson from northbound Salter to see oncoming traffic and
pedestrians. The change has also "calmed" traffic down.
Chapman said traffic signals were also installed at Sinclair Street and
Inkster Boulevard at the same time to reduce right-angle crashes.
"We had a pattern of westbound with southbound right-angle collisions," he
said -- there were 19 over a three-year period.
Chapman said other busy intersections don't get traffic signals -- they get
turned into roundabouts, which also reduce the chance of right-angle
collisions. The most recent examples are Grassie Boulevard at Molson
Street, and Lakewood Boulevard at Beaverhill Boulevard.
For the worst intersections in the city, such as Leila Avenue and
McPhillips Street, they see more crashes simply because of the high volume
of traffic. Most collisions are fender-benders, such as rear-end crashes.
"That's not necessarily something that can be engineered out," Chapman said.
Shimko said Edmonton is also targeting high-risk drivers as a way to reduce
collisions. That includes identifying drivers with a high number of traffic
violations -- 12 or more over a two-year period. It's those drivers, who
also tend to have criminal records, who are typically involved in serious
"There are high-risk drivers that need to be dealt with and identified for
police intervention, because that will be the only thing that will
basically deal with them," he said. "Police go out and target the
registered owners of these cars to deal with the offending drivers. They've
had some initial good success."
What Edmonton also does is divert some of the proceeds from its automated
or photo-enforcement program back into traffic safety, including road
redesign to lessen right-angle collisions. In Winnipeg, photo-enforcement
revenue goes into policing.
"We made a conscious choice that traffic safety is important," Shimko said.
*TOP 10 worst intersections for vehicle collisions, June 2002-June 2012*
Leila Avenue and McPhillips Street 1,736
Kenaston Boulevard and McGillivray Boulevard 1,719
Lagimodiere Boulevard and Regent Avenue 1,347
Grant Avenue and Kenaston Boulevard 1,343
Bishop Grandin Boulevard and St. Mary's Road 1,162
Bishop Grandin Boulevard and St. Anne's Road 1,077
Archibald Street and Marion Avenue 1,017
Portage Avenue and Moray Street 986
Portage Avenue and Main Street 943
Bishop Grandin Boulevard and Waverley Street 919
*TOP five worst intersections for vehicle-pedestrian collisions over
five-year period 2007-11:*
Portage Avenue and Cavalier Drive 9*
Henderson Highway and McLeod Avenue 8
McPhillips Street and Jefferson Avenue 8*
Isabel Street and William Avenue 7*
Osborne Street and River Avenue 7
*denotes location of one of city's photo-enforcement intersection cameras
*Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 23, 2013 A4
Review of speed limits planned Province to soon begin wide probe seeking
consistent, safe standards
By: Bruce Owen
The Selinger government is days away from announcing a provincewide review
of speed limits on Manitoba's roadways.
Infrastructure and Highways Minister Steve Ashton said Wednesday the goal
of the review is to devise more consistent standards of how speed limits
are set on Manitoba's highways and streets, including in Winnipeg and
That includes addressing the "patchwork-quilt" application of speed limits
by municipalities and taking into account newer, better-designed roadways
that can handle higher speeds.
"You're not going to get one-size-fits-all," Ashton said. "But there are
certain basic parameters that do apply and there are ways of dealing with
"What we're trying to get here, and the balance of the review will reflect
that, is making sure that we get the recognition of local realities, but at
the same time have some consistent speed limits and guidelines."
He said the two basic speed-limit guidelines in Manitoba are that when
driving in the city, the speed limit is 50 km/h unless otherwise posted and
when driving on the highway, the speed limit is 90 km/h or 100 km/h unless
"We'll look at all those elements," he said. "We're going to look at the
general parameters in terms of speed limits and a combination of everything
from the convenience side of it to safety. Safety will always be paramount."
CAA Manitoba and the Manitoba Trucking Association welcomed the upcoming
review, saying it's badly needed to address inconsistencies in how speed
limits are determined.
"A lot of development has been done over the last 10 to 20 years and as
they've added roads, Bishop Grandin and Kenaston, I don't think there's
been a lot of consistency," CAA Manitoba vice-president of marketing and
sales Tim Scott said. "A lot of roads have been developed from single lanes
to two lanes and that makes a big difference.
"But the litmus test is always safety."
Terry Shaw, general manager of the Manitoba Trucking Association, said more
consistent speed limits would mean better efficiencies for the trucking
"Efficiency comes through setting speeds based on an informed decision,
which comes from a legitimate study," Shaw said. "Our concern is the
inconsistencies -- the 60 to 50, the 70 to 50, items like that, the
inconsistencies without legitimate reasons or legitimate purpose or
Ashton said the review -- which will include public consultation -- will
not alter the province's position on reduced speeds in school zones. Last
year, Ashton introduced legislation to give local authorities the power to
create reduced-speed zones for schools.
Last August, Winnipeg city council voted unanimously to reduce the speed
limit to 30 kilometres per hour in elementary school zones.
Last month, a city committee rejected a call to reduce the residential
speed limit in Winnipeg from 50 km/h to 40 km/h. A city report said many
studies conducted throughout North America showed driver speed is affected
by the road conditions and not by speed-limit signs.
Ashton said the provincial review is separate from the work of the
province's Highway Traffic Board, which is considering raising speed limits
on selected stretches of city streets, including sections of Dugald Road,
Grant Avenue, Pembina Highway and Waverley Street. The board held public
hearings late last fall.
However, he added the provincial review will examine the role of both the
Highway Traffic Board and the Motor Transport Board.
The boards were amalgamated more than a decade ago and serve different
functions: The wHighway Traffic Board is responsible for the administration
of speed limits, and the Motor Transport Board is responsible for the
licensing of truck operations and intercity buses, plus regulating rates
for intra-provincial bus operations.
The province last increased the speed limit on certain sections of twinned
roadways in Manitoba to 110 km/h in July 2009, including the Trans-Canada
Highway from the Saskatchewan border to Virden and Highway 75 from the
Emerson border crossing to St. Jean Baptiste.
*A DRIVING FORCE*: CAA Manitoba recently questioned 8,628 of its members on
driving and speeding
*How acceptable do you personally feel it is for a driver to drive above
the speed limit on a highway?*
Completely acceptable 5.8% (498)
Somewhat acceptable 43.6% (3,755)
Somewhat unacceptable 25.1% (2,161)
Completely unacceptable 25.0% (2,155)
I don't know 0.04% (34)
*How acceptable do you personally feel it is for a driver to drive above
the speed limit on a residential street?*
Completely acceptable 2.0% (169)
Somewhat acceptable 4.7% (400)
Somewhat unacceptable 17.2% (1,478)
Completely unacceptable 75.8% (6,496)
I don't know 0.3% (29)
*When on a residential street, how often do you drive over the speed limit?*
All the time 0.6% (49)
More than half the time 1.5% (130)
On occasion 13.8% (1,172)
Very rarely 48.0% (4,080)
Never 36.0% (3,064)
Not applicable 0.1% (12)
*When on a highway, how often do you drive over the speed limit?*
All the time 6.2% (525)
More than half the time 23.6% (2,006)
On occasion 38.4% (3,266)
Very rarely 24.0% (2,045)
Never 7.5% (636)
Not applicable 0.4% (34)
*Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2013 A3
Lower vehicle speeds, separated bike lanes lower risk of cyclist injuries;
By: The Canadian Press
TORONTO - Some simple changes to the infrastructure of Canadian cities
could go a long way towards keeping the country's biking enthusiasts safe
from harm, a team of researchers suggested Wednesday.
Erecting physical barriers between traffic and bicycle lanes, ensuring
relatively flat commuting surfaces and regulating vehicle speeds all have
the potential to curtail cycling injuries on city streets, they said.
The findings came from a cross-country team of researchers and was
published in the Journal Injury Prevention.
The team's objective was to explore the factors that contribute to Canada's
strikingly high rate of cycling-related injuries, according to the study's
Anne Harris, assistant professor with Ryerson University's school of
Occupational and Public Health, said several previous studies have
established that North American cyclists are eight to 30 times more likely
to be injured on the road than their counterparts in European countries
such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The figures could not simply be chalked up to cycling volumes, she added.
"In the cycling countries of northern Europe, you see a much larger
proportion of trips taken by bicycle and much lower injury rates," Harris
said in a telephone interview. "We thought one of the reasons that there
might be differences is because of the availability of bicycling
Harris and her team interviewed 690 cyclists who were injured badly enough
to require a trip to a hospital emergency room between May 2008 and
November 2009. The injuries came on either the streets of Vancouver or
Researchers compared the point at which the interview subject got hurt with
earlier intersections along the route that were passed without incident.
The findings, Harris said, allowed the team to draw some conclusions about
potential safety innovations for Canadian city streets.
One comparatively simple measure would be the introduction of bike lanes
that are physically separated from the street, she said.
"Just as we know that separating pedestrians from motor vehicle traffic is
a really important thing to do with sidewalks, we're seeing evidence that
we need to separate bicyclists from motor vehicles with the use of
Those facilities need not be elaborate or expensive, she said, adding rows
of planters are often enough to provide a protective barrier between cars
and bikes. Such lanes are the norm in Europe, she said, adding designated
bike paths marked out only by a painted line do not offer the same degree
Regulating traffic speeds could also prevent injuries, Harris said, adding
accidents were 50 per cent less likely to take place at intersections where
traffic moved at 30 kilometres an hour or less.
Traffic circles also posed additional dangers to cyclists, the study
suggested. Harris said researchers also noted certain types of terrain that
were more likely to result in a trip to the hospital.
Upward slopes were safer than downward ones, she said, adding flat surfaces
offered the most protection of all.
Canada's naturally hilly cities would be powerless to address this concern,
she conceded, but added centres such as Toronto are ideally equipped to
implement infrastructure changes that could have benefits beyond road
Increased cycling use, she argued, could have positive ramifications on
everything from gridlock to the environment.
"Much of the infrastructure changes that would make things safer are also
attractive to bicyclists, so it would encourage more people to ride," she
said. "It's a public health issue."
Green Action Centre and Stantec Consulting invite you to join us for a
local viewing of the *second* of four APBP webinars on bicycle parking. It
takes place at the EcoCentre (3rd floor, 303 Portage Ave) and will be
followed by group discussion of local applications.
Municipal Bicycle Parking Programs**
Wed, Feb. 27, 2013 | 2:00-3:00 pm CST*
RSVPs are appreciated but not necessary. Hope to see you then!
* * * * *
Municipal Bicycle Parking Programs
This session focuses on the application of the basic principles to develop
a municipal or regional bicycle parking program. A particular point of the
presentation involves the development of an on-street parking program with
both sidewalk and high capacity components. The APBP guide to development
of codes and policies is discussed, as are funding and delivery methods for
public bicycle parking programs. The session also covers differing
requirements for residential, civic, commercial and industrial programs and
the impact of bike share programs on bicycle parking.
Who should attend? Municipal staff, transit agency staff, managers of
educational, corporate and healthcare campuses, and members of Bicycle and
Pedestrian Advisory Committees (BPACs), as well as elected officials and
staff of bicycle advocacy organizations. Both the experienced agency
manager and those new to developing bicycle parking solutions will benefit.
*For future dates and topics in the Bicycle Parking Webinar series, see: *
Just a reminder that Bike to the Future and the Green Action Centre are
hosting the APBP webinar Driving Deaths Down: Proven Countermeasures
that Work tomorrow @ 2pm in the MB Eco-Centre. Handouts for the webinar
can be downloaded here <http://www.apbp.org/?page=Webinar_Downloads>.
See you there,
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Winter cycling no longer weird in Winterpeg
Numbers seem to be slowly rising
By: Bartley Kives
Posted: 1:00 AM | Comments: 0<http://www.printthis.clickability.com/pt/cpt?expire=&title=Winter+cycling+n…>g
[JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A cyclist rides on the pedestrian bridge towards Jubilee Avenue this week. There are no hard numbers on a rise in winter biking.]
JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A cyclist rides on the pedestrian bridge towards Jubilee Avenue this week. There are no hard numbers on a rise in winter biking.
As recently as the 1990s, the only people brave enough to ride bicycles throughout a Winnipeg winter were a half-dozen crazy couriers and a few other Lycra-clad diehards willing to endure hostile road conditions and even more hostile motorists.
Two decades later, Winnipeg winters remain almost just as frigid. Yet, seeing Winnipeggers bike to work in February is no longer any weirder than watching a lineup of cars snake out of a Tim Hortons drive-thru.
Like almost every other North American city, Winnipeg has witnessed a rise in the number of people who commute by bike during the winter. The precise nature of this increase is unknown, however, as there are no reliable recent statistics regarding Winnipeg commuter-cyclist numbers.
Seven years ago, the City of Winnipeg's seminal Active Transportation Study found 2.3 per cent of all Winnipeg workers and university students rode their bikes to their jobs or classes on a regular basis. The belief is that proportion has grown, as the cost of filling up and maintaining automobiles has only risen since 2006, along with the awareness of the health and environmental benefits of cycling.
But no one has a clear handle on the number of regular Winnipeg winter cyclists, aside from anecdotal evidence.
"Even among avid cyclists, winter cycling is an oddity," said Andrea Tetrault, a regular summer bike commuter and occasional winter cyclist who blogs at winnipegcyclechick.com. This morning, she'll be among the Winnipeggers taking part in Winter Bike To Work Day, an international event intended to encourage more people to try the once-unusual pursuit.
While it may seem counterintuitive, she finds riding her bike in temperatures below -20 C way easier than cycling when it's just below zero, as extreme cold transforms the ice and snow on city streets into a harder, more predictable riding surface. Warmer winter weather creates sloppier conditions that demand more bike maintenance in the form of cleaning.
Staying warm on a bike during the winter isn't all that difficult when you're moving, provided you take care to insulate your hands. Cleaning your bike during the winter is a bigger annoyance, which is why some cyclists just buy a garage-sale beater and ride it into the ground over the course of one season.
The real limiting factor is road maintenance, suggests Anders Swanson, an avid cyclist who travelled to Oulu, Finland, this week to attend the world's first Winter Cycling Congress. Somewhat optimistically, Swanson titled his presentation Winnipeg, Winter Cycling Capital of North America, and immediately got called out on Twitter by an indignant Edmontonian.
Oulu, which sits at 65 degrees north, is almost as cold as Winnipeg but quite a bit darker during the winter. Oulu also resembles Winnipeg in that it's not particularly dense, yet it still enjoys an extremely vibrant winter-cycling culture.
"The first thing that's immediately apparent is everybody rides -- your grandma, teenagers and stylish young women," Swanson said over the phone from Oulu, where he said the McDonald's has more bicycle parking than motor-vehicle stalls. "Until you've seen something like that, it's hard to fathom."
Swanson said the key to winter cycling's popularity in Oulu and other European cities is regular snow-clearing on all bike paths. Successful winter-cycling cities also clear their bike paths and pedestrian walkways before they clear their streets, he said.
Such a move would provoke riots in automobile-centric Winnipeg. But Swanson said it's not that far from what this city already does, given that Winnipeg clears sidewalks long before residential streets are plowed.
During the winter, Winnipeg clears snow off 130 kilometres of bike lanes on streets and also plows 75 kilometres of active-transportation corridors at a cost of $250,000 a year, city spokeswoman Tammy Melesko said.
Clearing more paths may encourage more winter ridership. But the actual need remains unknown, even though it appears Winnipeg now has more winter riders.
Motorists, meanwhile, have become more accommodating of winter cyclists, Tetrault said. "I think people are getting more used to it and are resigned to the fact we're not going away," she said. "In challenging conditions, I know I'm an inconvenience to get around, yet generally people are really courteous."